Tip: Freezing unsauced pasta
Regular readers may remember my post on freezing sauced spaghetti cups in individual servings for speedy packed lunches, but you can also freeze unsauced, cooked pasta for greater flexibility. Today I cooked and froze a batch of pasta (gemelli here) for speedy lunch prep. Just grab a pack from the freezer and use in dishes when texture is not at the forefront (i.e. sauced pasta salads, with tomato-based sauces, etc.). The important point here is to toss the hot, freshly cooked pasta in some butter, olive oil or vegetable oil right after draining to keep it from sticking, and to freeze it quickly after tossing with the oil. My Japanese books on freezing recommend cooking it al dente, and microwaving when you’re ready to eat for pasta in a hurry. For bento lunches, I like to pack a little extra sauce on the side and re-sauce it right before eating so that it’s not too dry. Edit: You can pull out the frozen pasta on busy mornings when nothing else is at hand, and make a quick pasta salad or combine it with some pasta sauce or leftover curry or stew for a quick meal like this leftover curry pasta lunch.
How to Freeze: You can use either freezer bags or plastic wrap to freeze. The advantage of a freezer bag is that you can shake out just as much pasta as you want to use, and reseal the excess. If using freezer bags, be sure to press or suck out the excess air from the bag with a straw before sealing (picture a do-it-yourself FoodSaver vacuum sealer). This helps prevent freezer burn. If using plastic wrap, freeze little packages of individual servings on a metal tray to speed freezing, then put the packets inside of a larger freezer bag or airtight freezer container for longer-term storage. Frozen pasta will taste best when used within one month of freezing, but can technically be held indefinitely as long as the freezer temperature is below 0 degrees F (not Celsius!) and the pasta is well wrapped to prevent freezer burn.
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