Everybody loves pasta! And everybody hates to eat leftover pasta. Wild but true.
Let’s be honest. Reheated pasta doesn’t taste half as delicious as a newly made one. Sometimes, it’s just limp and gummy. Sometimes, it dries out and gets crunchy on the outer layer. Sometimes, it’s cold on one side and hot on the other.
As a result, many believe that pasta should never be reheated. Some would even advise you to throw away your leftovers because, according to them, it’s disgusting.
While that’s cute, it isn’t very practical.
Most people don’t want to throw away their food. They want to figure out the right way to reheat their pasta in the microwave so that tastes as good as new.
I guess that you are one of those, so let’s dive in!
CAN YOU REHEAT PASTA IN THE MICROWAVE?
Absolutely. Contrary to public opinion, the microwave is not a death sentence for pasta. It is the fastest, most efficient, and most convenient method to get perfectly reheated pasta if done correctly.
Many people tend to get wary because, potentially, weird things could happen to your pasta in the microwave. Things like drying out, becoming soggy, chewy, and swapping its original delicious taste for a bland taste. It could even taste like a piece of shoe.
But that only happens when you are without the right tool (coughing and pointing frantically at this article). Yeah. That’s the tool!
So, what’s it going to be? Are you just going to give up or do you want to get it right this time?
Yeah, I thought so!
HOW DO YOU REHEAT PASTA IN THE MICROWAVE?
Pour your leftover pasta into a microwavable bowl. Add a few drops of water to retain the moistness of the pasta during heating. Cover with a plastic wrap or damp paper towel and microwave at 50% power level for 30-second intervals. Make sure to stir your pasta each time. Heat until your desired temperature is achieved.
You have to know that cooked pasta is a perishable food. If it is left in the ‘danger zone temperature’ for too long, bacteria may grow in it and make it unsafe for you to eat. Therefore, you must make certain that your pasta is fully reheated before taking it out of the microwave.
In the same way, you must put it in the fridge within 2 hours of heating it, so it does not get spoilt. Now that that’s out of the way. Let’s move on to more interesting things.
Reheating your pasta to retain its fresh taste requires a different strategy. What do they say? The definition of insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting a different result. So, let’s get a reheating-pasta-in-the-microwave-makeover!
How do you keep pasta moist when reheating it in the microwave?
First, you have to ask; does my pasta have sauce or not? This is such a huge determining factor because it helps you decide what approach you should take in microwaving your pasta.
If your pasta has no sauce, then you should add a few drops of water, milk, cream or oil (depending on what you made the pasta with in the first place). When pasta dries out, it tastes yuck. So, you want to keep it moist.
Still on the preservation of moisture, the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service advise that food is covered while being microwaved. This will prevent any unwanted crunchiness and unnecessary dryness.
If your pasta has sauce, you don’t want it covered too tightly. Use a vented lid or plastic wrap with a few holes in it. This allows the excess moisture to evaporate and prevents any soggy mess.
But let common sense win. Sometimes, you’ll still have to add some moisture to your pasta if it’s not creamy or doesn’t have enough moisture on its own. But if the pasta is creamy or has a sauce like Alfredo, truffle, or garlic butter sauce, then you can’t add any more moisture. Got it?
In both cases, you should stir the food at least once or twice. This is dependent on how long you microwave your pasta. I’ll give you more details on that in a few.
Pasta is not that kinda food you microwave on high heat. It’s super vulnerable and could dry out before you say Jack! So, keep the heat level low. Heat for short periods. Stir. Heat again. Until your food is ready.
Do you know why you have to stir the food? Hot spots, that’s why. Microwaves tend to heat unevenly because they heat from the outside to the inside. If you want your food heated evenly, then my friend, you’ve just gotta stir.
IS IT SAFE TO REHEAT PASTA IN THE MICROWAVE?
Yes, it is safe to reheat pasta in the microwave. According to the MDA, perishable food like pasta should be heated to a temperature of 74 degrees Celsius or 165 degrees Fahrenheit. To minimize the risk of bacteria and so that it is safe to eat.
It is also advised that after heating, your leftover pasta should be refrigerated within 2 hours.
Don’t reheat and/or eat pasta that’s been cooked and saved in the freezer for 5 days or more. There’s a huge chance it might give you food poisoning or a food-borne disease by that time.
If it has seafood, shrimp or anything like it, you could get food poising if you eat it after 1 or 2 days. So, be careful not to reheat and eat food that could potentially harm you because it’s been lying around in the freezer for too long.
This is why you should make sure your pasta is piping hot whenever you microwave it. Just to kill off any bacteria that may be lingering.
Finally, when you make your pasta and you want to have it mixed with sauce, I would advise that you mix only 1 serving at a time. This is because it is true that if you store your pasta when it’s plain, it usually comes out of the microwave better than when it’s mixed with sauce.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO REHEAT PASTA IN THE MICROWAVE?
The amount of time required to reheat your pasta (or any kind of food) in the microwave depends on a few factors. They are; the wattage and type of microwave you are using, the power level you are microwaving on, the quantity of pasta you are microwaving and its starting temperature. For instance, the fuller and colder your plate, the longer it takes to microwave it.
Guess what this means for you? It means you are in control. You have to use common sense in determining how much time you let the pasta stay in the microwave. Because the microwave has no eyes, it has no intellect to decipher the peculiarities of your plate of pasta. You are in control.
I would advise microwaving for short periods – say 30 seconds to 1-minute intervals – to see if the right temperature is reached.
The USDA recommends heating your pasta until it reaches an internal temperature of 74 degrees Celsius or 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Just putting it out there.
ALTERNATIVE WAYS TO REHEAT PASTA
Say you can’t handle the technicalities of reheating your pasta in the microwave, or you don’t want to. I get it, so I’m going to help you. Here are a few alternatives;
- Boil it: pour your pasta into a pot of boiling water and put it on a stovetop. Let it boil for about 30 to 60 seconds and then drain the water. This method works only when your pasta is without sauce.
- Bake it: if you like your pasta crispy, spread your pasta on a baking tray. Bake the pasta for anywhere between 15 and 20 minutes. Flip it halfway and bake until it’s done.
- Steam it: pour your pasta into a pan and place it on the stovetop. Sprinkle a few tablespoons of water and cover it tightly. Let it steam for about 30 seconds, stir it and steam again until it is evenly heated.
- Sauce it: if your pasta is plain, then you can just add it to hot frying sauce and stir until it soaks up the heat and sauce.
TIPS FOR REHEATING PASTA IN THE MICROWAVE
Here are a few tips and tricks you can use to make sure you get it right this time.
- Reheat one serving of pasta at a time.
- Use a round or oval microwave-safe bowl.
- Add a few drops of water, oil, sauce – anything that makes sense to protect the moistness of your pasta.
- Microwave on low-medium heat.
- Heat your pasta at 30-second intervals. Remember to stir it each time.
- Cover your pasta with a damp paper towel, vented lid, or an equivalent.
- Don’t overcook your pasta. You don’t want it tasting like a piece of shoe.
Now That You Know How to Reheat Pasta in the Microwave
Go be a Rockstar! Pasta provides a quick and convenient way to satisfy your hunger. The reward is a deliciously fresh taste when you reheat it using the right technique.
Whether it’s a spicy pasta Bolognese or an exciting beef taco pasta, you can trust that using the techniques we’ve discussed in this article, you can properly microwave your pasta so it tastes good and fresh.