How to Reheat Pasta

How to Reheat Pasta the Right Way?

Everyone’s guilty of cooking a batch of pasta with a spare for leftovers. Who isn’t? It’s so satisfying to just grab a container of pre-cooked pasta from the fridge and chuck it on your lunch box for work. It’s one of the easiest on-the-go foods you can prepare the weekend before. However, reheating pasta is no cakewalk. While it is very common to do so, if you don’t observe extra caution, you’ll end up having a mushy and gluey meal. We have compiled three techniques on how to reheat pasta – using the microwave oven, using boiling water, and using convection oven. Read along and learn how to enjoy another scrumptious round of your noodle dish.

How to Reheat Using Microwave Oven?

The microwave oven is the most popular practice for reheating pasta. In fact, it is already a routine to pack leftovers on a glass bowl or any microwavable container because most likely, this is how its fate will end up. Some convenience stores like Japan who offers cold pasta worship this method because it is the quickest and the easiest. Allow us to show the procedure on how to reheat pasta.

  1. If not yet stored on a glass plate or any microwave safe dish container, transfer leftover pasta here.
  2. Drizzle water on the surface to prevent it from drying while reheating. We’re talking about plain pasta here. If the sauce is already mixed, you have the option to toss a couple of teaspoon more in case it loses moisture.
  3. Put the lid or cover loosely allowing one side slightly cracked open. This will make sure warm air can penetrate inside but just enough as to avoid over-exposure to heat. In the absence thereof, you may use plastic wrap as a substitute.
  4. Pop it into the microwave and heat for 90 seconds. Stir the noodles once in a while to allow even heating of the pasta.
  5. Upon heating, remove from the microwave. Open the lid slowly to prevent drastic escape of hot air that may scald your skin. 

How to Reheat Using Stovetop?

There are actually a variety of ways on how to reheat pasta using the stovetop. From re-baptizing it with boiling water to a total makeover on the skillet, you have your options. First, we’ll show you how to reheat plain pasta using boiling water:

  1. Boil salted water on a stockpot. Make sure it is enough for the entire batch to be completely immersed.
  2. Once it reaches boiling point, chuck the pasta and heat for about 30 to 60 seconds. If you have a pasta scoop colander, you may give it a quick dip on the hot water so it retains the al dente texture.
  3. Drain as usual.

This technique is typically used in pasta restaurants. They boil a huge batch and just reheat when someone craves for a noodle dish. Restaurants usually have a large stockpot of boiling water ready for the pasta noodles to be tossed for reheating if needed. Personally, I prefer this method because it gives even chance of warming to every strand without the constant need to interrupt the heating for stirring. Additionally, it does not come out withered so you can still enjoy the same quality as day 1. But of course, make sure not to overcook it or risk eating a semiliquid pasta.

Now, say you have leftover take-out you want to reheat. Sauce is already mixed on the pasta and there’s no way you can use the above method. Here’s a useful hack you can use and mind you, your day-old pasta may even taste better than the original.

  1. On a skillet, heat olive oil or butter. 
  2. Once hot enough, toss in the cold leftovers.
  3. Add moisture to your pasta by tossing in a splash of water to prevent it from drying out.
  4. Stir the pasta for about 5 minutes or until the desire warmth is achieved.

Now here’s the fun part. As a substitute to water, you can experiment by using any other liquid ingredient that will match the anatomy of the pasta dish. The popular picks are wine, milk, and tomato sauce. To spice up your eating experience, you may try incorporating items like leftover grilled meat, cheese, herbs, eggs, fresh garlic and other ingredients that will give a total make-over to your meal.

How to Reheat Using Convection Oven?

The convection oven is practically the universal equipment for reheating. For pasta, this will also come in handy but be informed that this is recommended only when the sauce is already mixed with the noodles. Try these easy steps on how to reheat pasta using the convection oven:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 ֯F.
  2. If not yet stored on one, transfer leftover pasta in an oven-safe bowl. Use aluminium foil as lid.
  3. Once temperature is reached, toss the bowl in the oven.
  4. Cook for about 20 minutes.

If we’re talking about baked-type of pasta, the oven is the popular go-to practice. However, for the tossed types of pasta, it’s not especially for small batches.

Do’s And Don’ts of Reheating Pasta

Now that you know in greater extent the ways on how to reheat pasta, don’t skip the following pieces of advice:

  1. Do take note of the proper storage procedure of leftover pasta. If it will not be consumed anymore, store the remaining at chilled temperature within 2 hours. Otherwise, risk getting an upset stomach and waste your time reheating.
  2. Do not reheat the pasta more than once. I know the sorry feeling of having to waste away leftovers but think twice about the food safety hazard it will cause if you insist on redoing it the third time. Word of advice? Cook only what you can eat.
  3. For reheating pasta with cream-based sauce, do consider using a double boiler because it is heat sensitive.
  4. Before reheating, do check the date of when the pasta is stored on the fridge. On average, a day-two up to day-four pasta is okay to consumed again.
  5. If it can be helped, do not mix the sauce and the pasta when storing. Aside from being a superior practice in terms of food safety, when you reheat it for the next meal, there’s a fat chance for moisture to escape. You can fix this by controlling the amount of sauce you’ll pour after reheating. Also, the texture of the pasta when soaked on sauce for a long time will change. You wouldn’t want it wet and soggy.

Now that you’ve learned the basics of reheating a pasta with some useful hack, the next time you have leftovers, you will be able to successfully replicate one that’s as good as day one. Pair it up with a glass of wine and you have a second round of a perfect pasta meal.

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