Grab a fork and pour yourself a glass of wine, because you’ve got the night off. After making a beautiful pasta dinner last night, you deserve a break. The only problem is that day-old pasta doesn’t heat up well, right?
Though pasta makes for quick comfort food on busy weeknights (try these delicious pasta dinners!), the leftovers never seem to stand the test of time. To prevent a mushy, gummy mess, place your leftovers in a sealed container in the refrigerator and try one of these tried-and-true techniques for how to reheat your noodles—and check out these 12 mistakes you don’t want to make when you’re cooking pasta in the first place.
Method #1: Place in boiling water
Start by boiling a large pot of salted water. Place your leftover noodles in a colander and dip into the boiling water. Allow pasta to heat for about 30 seconds before removing from the water. Toss the pasta with your leftover sauce and toppings and serve.
If you don’t have a colander handy, bring your pot of water to a boil and then remove from heat. Place your leftover pasta in the hot water for one to two minutes and serve. Looking to eat better? Check out one of these healthy pasta variations.
Method #2: Bake in the oven
If you don’t have a lot of time on your hands, consider placing your spaghetti in the oven—no boiling or colanders required. Place the pasta in an oven-safe shallow bowl with some leftover pasta sauce and cover tightly with aluminum foil. Preheat the oven to 350° and cook the pasta for about 20 minutes, until heated through. Running out of sauce? Try one of these 24 homemade pasta sauces.
Method #3: Saute on the stove
I love this method because it’s so fast, and the pasta soaks up the flavor of your sauce. Heat a saucepan over medium heat and drizzle with olive oil. Add your leftover pasta, sauce, and some fresh garlic and saute for about two to three minutes, until hot.
Method #4: Microwave with water
If you plan on bringing your leftovers to work or school, the microwave may be your only reheating option. Pack your pasta in a microwave-safe glass bowl or jar. But it’s not as simple as pushing a button. The trick is to toss in a splash of water before heating for one minute. Stir the pasta and continue heating in one-minute increments until warm. Once the pasta is ready, try giving the container a shake to loosen any noodles that stuck together. (Just make sure the lid is tightly sealed first.) Now, learn the smartest ways to use up the rest of your leftovers.