|Simply Pasta & Sauce|
Q: Can Pasta be frozen? If so, how?
A: I used to think that you couldn't freeze pasta and get good results. But, one day it occurred to me that a lot of frozen dinners are pasta! So, I experimented. This is what I found works. When the pasta is cool after it has been cooked (but without sauce), rinse it thoroughly till it is not sticky. Then, simply put it in your favorite freezer container. When you need to use it, just sprinkle it with a spoonful of water & microwave it, with the lid loosely on. It turns out perfectly.
Q: Why would I want to freeze pasta?
A: Great question! For a lot of people, the answer is that you wouldn't want to freeze pasta! It takes a lot of freezer space for something so easy to prepare as needed. But, if you have in your home a person who cannot cook but can microwave (for instance, a young teen/older child or an adult with certain disabilities) this method might make it possible for that person to be more independent. Likewise, if you need to grab a single meal quickly (like a packed lunch for work, or a quick after-work meal for one before a meeting), or need a super-quick meal on a busy night, frozen pasta might be the perfect solution!
Q:What do I do if my pasta is done and it is all sticky or clumps together?
A: Well, this is my solution. It isn't the way a professional chef might do it, but it has worked for me many times. Rinse the pasta in the strainer in cold water till it is not sticky any more. Then, warm it up in the microwave. Keep in mind, some brands of pasta tend to be more sticky than others, so if this problem occurs frequently, you may want to try a different brand.
And, here are basic directions for how to make a simple meal of pasta - written for the beginning cook:
This is the simplest of meals. Good basic food for busy nights. Inexpensive & easy to prepare.
Why include such a basic recipe? Well, because there are always beginning cooks out there who need the basics : )
What you'll need:
1 box of your favorite shape of Pasta (in the picture: Medium Shells by Barilla Brand). The box should have 12 to 16 ounces in it. (A pound or so).
1 Can of your favorite "Spaghetti Sauce" or 3 cups Vat O' Spaghetti Sauce
A selection of your favorite veggies to put on Pizza. I like a selection of the following: Black Olives, Green Olives, Canned Mushrooms, Capers, Bell Peppers (any or all, according to what I have on hand).
Get out a huge bowl to serve the pasta in.*
Get Everything out. Open all the cans & packages. Chop anything that you feel should be chopped (like the Bell Peppers). Pour all the veggies into the big bowl.
Get out a strainer for draining the pasta when it is done.
Put a big pot of water on the stove (I use a 6 to 8 quart "Stockpot" or "Dutch Oven" for this task), and set it on a burner turned to high heat.
While you're waiting for the water to boil, set the table.
Put the pasta sauce in a saucepan (smaller pot) and let it warm over medium heat on the stove top. Put a lid on it, it splatters. (Alternately, you can heat it in a microwave-safe bowl in the microwave - be sure to cover it - it splatters in the microwave, too.) If it isn't perfectly hot when you put it over the pasta, don't worry - the pasta will warm it the rest of the way. I have even used it at room temperature straight from the can and had it work.
When the water boils, dump in the package of pasta and give it a stir. Some people add a couple of teaspoons of oil to the water (to prevent sticking) or 1 Tablespoon of Salt (to enhance flavour) or a cube or two of Bouillon (to enhance flavour). I don't usually do any of that, but you can if you like.
Watch the pasta & water carefully for the first minute or two so you can reduce heat JUST to simmer, and not have it boil over, or stop boiling.
If you are a beginning cook, time the pasta according to the directions on the package (usually 6 to 10 minutes, depending on shape).
You can check it for doneness if you like. (If you're a brand new cook, look at the clock, if you're a more experienced cook, look at the pasta.)
Drain the pasta in your strainer*, and pour it into a big bowl. I recommend wearing oven mitts for this task to protect yourself from rising steam from the hot water. Pour the Sauce and veggies in and toss with a big spoon.
Serve & enjoy!
*If you don't have any equipment to strain the pasta and you don't have a big bowl, you can do this: When the pasta is done cooking, remove the pot from the heat and add a cup of COLD water. This will stop it from cooking, but it will still be hot. Then you can fish the pasta out of the water with tongs, a spaghetti serving scoop, or whatever works. Then simply toss it with the sauce & veggies right on your plate.