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Freezing pasta can make this easy dish even simpler, and can save you a good 20 minutes when making meals in the future. To freeze pasta, you need to cook it first, whether it is fresh or dry, until it is just a few minutes short of your preferred texture. Then, stop the cooking process by rinsing the pasta in cold water and lay the noodles out on a baking sheet in an even layer immediately. Place the sheet in the freezer until the pasta is frozen and then move it into serving-size freezer bags for future use.
To start, you need to cook the noodles, whether fresh or dry, before you freeze pasta. Bring a fair amount of water to a solid boil and then salt it. Carefully place the fresh or dry pasta in the water, turning the heat down slightly if it seems like the pot will boil over. Stir occasionally until the fresh pasta is just cooked through or the dry pasta is one to two minutes short of still being slightly firm in the center. For this step, it is important not to cook the pasta all the way, as it will be heated again when you take it out of the freezer to use later. Once you’re done, drain the pasta thoroughly in a large colander.
In most cases, you should never rinse pasta, as this gets rid of the starch that helps sauce cling to the noodles; however, this is not the case when you freeze pasta. Even if you lay out the noodles in an even layer, they will still continue to cook until they cool down, which will not only make the overall project take longer, but also potentially cause your noodles to be overdone. To stop the cooking process, run the colander under cold water until the noodles are cool to the touch.
Although you can freeze pasta by simply placing it in a container and putting it the freezer, this can cause the noodles to clump up, making cooking them later difficult. Instead, it is usually best to place the pasta on a flat baking sheet, platter, or plate in an even layer, preferably without the noodles touching. Then, put the platter in the freezer and wait one to two hours until the pasta is solid. This allows you to freeze pasta while still preventing it from clumping together when stored. Once the noodles are hard to the touch, you can place them in freezer bags or a freezer-safe container and store them until you’re ready to add them to a dish or meal.
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