How to Cook Pasta Ahead of Time
Wondering how to pre-cook pasta? Perhaps you are having a dinner party and want to minimize distractions later in the day. Or maybe you are making a sauce in the slow cooker and need pasta ready-to-eat (or as close to it as possible) when you walk in the door. If you’re looking for a way to minimize dinnertime scrambling, here’s the trick to cooking pasta ahead of time and reheating it later.
How to Cook Pasta in Advance
Boil your noodles as usual to al dente. Drain. Drizzle with 1-2 tablespoons olive oil or canola oil. Toss to coat the pasta. Cool the noodles for about 15 minutes. Place pasta in a large Ziplock bag, squeeze out air, and seal tight. Put the sealed bag in the refrigerator for up to 48 hours.
When ready to serve your meal, take the pasta out of the refrigerator. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil on your stove. The noodles are already cooked, so to prevent overcooking them you just want to quickly warm them through with a 30-second dip in boiling water. This brings the pasta up to serving temp and removes the added oil. Strain. Proceed with your recipe.
If you need things to move extra quick at dinnertime, a rapid-boil electric tea kettle might be faster than your stovetop at heating water. You can fill the tea kettle early in the day and just switch it on when ready to boil the water.
Why does this technique work?
Noodles get sticky and clump together as they dry out. Coating the pasta in olive oil creates a barrier to help keep moisture in which keeps your pasta fresh and separated.
When you need to save time in the kitchen, this technique to precook pasta can be just the answer!
Looking for some dinner inspiration? See the collection of 6-8+ hour longer-cooking slow cooker dinner recipes.