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Unsticking Pasta

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
Any suggestions for unsticking unsauced clumped together cooked pasta that's been stored for a while in the fridge? Any suggestions for preventing cooked pasta from clumping if it's not used right away? I tried adding oil to the warm pasta, but after it cooled down the macaroni still clumped together. Maybe I didn't use enough oil?

Shel
post #2 of 20

when its cooking

dont add oil to the water when you put the pot on the stove , the oil stops the sauce from sticking to the pasta. also what i do is i stir the past once or twice during the cooking, if its fresh only once if its dry twice. that really stops it from sticking.
If the pasta is just for you at home then turn it in to really cheese Mac cheese
if its for customers, break it up asgently as you can , add lots of a tomato or cream based sauce and what ever else your going to add and finish it off in the oven
when life hands you lemons, make lemon gelee, lemon meringue pie, or any other dessert your heart desires

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when life hands you lemons, make lemon gelee, lemon meringue pie, or any other dessert your heart desires

www.theunknownchef.com
www.theunknownchef.co.nz
www.shoebridge.co.nz
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post #3 of 20
Generally it's best to sauce the pasta as soon as it's drained. Sure way to prevent clumping. I never understood why american pasta pictures show white pasta with a pile of sauce in the middle, unmixed - makes no sense.
If for some reason you have to store unsauced cooked pasta (do you really have to???) then i would immediately cool it once it's been drained using lots of cold water, then as soon as it's cold, drain it. I imagine that sitting warm would make it gooey and stick more.
"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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post #4 of 20
Thread Starter 
That's a myth. Anyway, the oil that I add is after the pasta has cooked, while it's still hot, with the idea of preventing it from sticking when it cools or has been stored in the fridge.

I always stir some when the pasta is cooking - I should mention that I'm talking about dry pasta here. The pasta still sticks and clumps.

I don't want mac and chees - just want to find a way to prevent the pasta from sticking together and clumping when it's been sitting a while or it has been refrigerated over night. Or to find a simple way to unstick the mess. It's not for customers - and I'm not looking to use the pasta for cream-based sauces.

Thanks for your suggestions.

Shel
post #5 of 20
Thread Starter 
I know that it's best to store the pasta after it's been sauced, however, I'm trying to make some ahead to be used for a quick addition to soup, use it in salads, and so forth. So I don't know exactly what the next use will be.

I'll try to cold rinse/drain method. Thanks!

Shel
post #6 of 20
Heat your sauce or soup and dump it in the sauce. That'll do the trick.
post #7 of 20
Two things that I have found very effective are:
1. the aforementioned "cold water" quick cool.
2. after cooling and draining, coat the pasta with oil & don't be shy. Leave the pasta in your collander so any excess oil drains also.
The above are pre-storage ideas. If the pasta still clumps after coating with oil, get some tepid water, add the cooked pasta and gently break apart by hand, underwater. I have found this minimizes breakage.
Just my opinion though...
post #8 of 20
Two things I have found to be very effective are:
1. the aforemantioned "cold water cooling".
2. coat the cooled pasta with oil. Don't be shy, you can mix the oil and cooled pasta in the same collander to ensure excess oil drains also.
Another thing you may want to try is taking your clumped cooked pasta, covering it with tepid water and breaking apart by hand. I have had good success with this method, it seems to minimize breakage.
Just my opinion though...
post #9 of 20
If the idea is to have some extra so that you can use it in soup the next day or to sauce later, then i suggest taking out the pasta you want to save ahead of time, so it's still more than al dente, that is, so that you can see a fine white line inside when you bite through it. Then immediately cool in plenty of cold water and put aside. Next day either heat the soup or if you want to put sauce on it, boil the water, dump pasta into the boiling liquid and finish cooking for a minute, stirring so it comes apart.
"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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post #10 of 20
Undercook it, drain it well, mix it with just a tiny bit of oil, and spread it out on a sheet pan so that it's separated. If it's not touching itself . . . um, :blush: you know what I mean :p it can't stick to itself. Then when you want to use it, put it back into boiling water until done and proceed as if fresh.

Although frankly, for home cooking, I can't see why you'd want to precook your pasta. It's so hard to get it cooked to the right point later.
"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
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"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
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post #11 of 20
My ex-husband's grandmother would store leftover spaghetti in a bowl of water in the fridge. It never stuck together and then she'd just dump it all back into a pot to reheat. Of course, you have to be very careful or you'll end up with pasta mush.
post #12 of 20
Hi Shel,

in the past, I wanted to make a pasta diner at home for 20 ppl. Of course I was not equipped to boil that much pasta to serve every body at once so this is what I did: (You will notice that many have suggested similar things but here I offer you more details)

I cooked my pasta in batches in salted boiling water. I carefully watched for the Al dente point which is exactly the point were all traces of uncooked dried pasta disappears. (take a bite off some noodles near it's supposed cook time).
At that point, I immediately drained the pasta and watered it with cold running water while stirring it until it is barely tepid.
I then proceeded to pour the pasta on cookie sheets in one layer to let it cool further in the fridge. I started a new batch.
30 min or so later, I made sure the pasta was cold. I added it to resealable bags (added a little water to make sure all is slippery).
Sealed this way, the pasta will not dry up and stick (sealing when cold is the key).

the next day for diner, I boiled a big amount of salted water had the sauce nice and hot and basically added the pasta in a conical colander, immersed in the boiling water for 30 sec (made sure to stir the pasta), Drain in the colander, shake the excess and add to a premeasured amount of sauce, toss and serve. This made 4-5 servings. I repeated the process for another batch. I could serve 20 ppl in minutes.

I thought they would notice it was reheated pasta but nope. Even for me it was very close to freshly made.

Luc H.
I eat science everyday, do you?
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I eat science everyday, do you?
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post #13 of 20
I'm not sure I agree that oil in the boiling water doesn't get onto the pasta...but I don't use oil anyway, so really don't care. However, the suggestions about saucing are not real good either, IMHO, because I've found that the pasta continues to soak up moisture from the sauce and gets mushy sitting in the refridgerator.

I think that your pasta is sticking because of the starch. Now I never rinse my pasta, because the starch that would get washed off, is what the sauce likes to stick to.

But if you're going to store it for some time, I'd lay it out single layer on a cookie sheet, freeze it, then bundle it up into a bag and leave it in the freezer until you need it. Then use the defrost cycle in your microwave to thaw if you're in a hurry, or let it defrost in the fridge.

In any event, it's never going to be as good as when you've just made it, which I can attest to by the many many years of reheating pasta at work for lunch!

doc
post #14 of 20
When making large batches of pasta, for use later, I start by slightly undercooking my pasta, then rinsing it in cold water until cool and finally hitting it with some oil which I allow most of to drain off. This keeps the pasta from sticking in the fridge. Now if you are one of those people who feel that oiling your pasta is akin to the 7 deadly sins, but still want to cook some ahead I would still undercook your pasta, rinse, then portion it into usable portion sizes. If you do this it won't matter if the pasta sticks together because when you reheat, in soup or in a sauce, the starches will loosen up allowing the pasta to separate.
http://www.onceachef.com/ is my personal blog where I share many recipes, my passion for cooking, and all things food.
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http://www.onceachef.com/ is my personal blog where I share many recipes, my passion for cooking, and all things food.
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post #15 of 20

pasta

Shel-
I do the same as Pete described- cook in salted water until al dente, drain and rinse with cold water to stop cooking process, drizzle w/ olive oil (or veg if you like) and refridgerate in a sealed container. Comes out fine.
Bon Vive' !
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Bon Vive' !
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post #16 of 20
Just immerse it in water, hot or cold, and it will separate. In cold water you kind of have to help it along by sort of tossing it in the water, but it will come apart. I have also stored left over spaghetti in cold water, but I don't think there's much difference. I usually cook extra because I like carbanara or just spaghetti tossed with olive oil, garlic, herbs and parm. cheese for a quick meal.
post #17 of 20
i find by not adding the oil to the water it really does help
when life hands you lemons, make lemon gelee, lemon meringue pie, or any other dessert your heart desires

www.theunknownchef.com
www.theunknownchef.co.nz
www.shoebridge.co.nz
Reply
when life hands you lemons, make lemon gelee, lemon meringue pie, or any other dessert your heart desires

www.theunknownchef.com
www.theunknownchef.co.nz
www.shoebridge.co.nz
Reply
post #18 of 20
Usually the clumping takes care of itself once it's reheated. If you are reheating the pasta by itself, the steam from either the micro or from the pan will help loosent the starch binding it together. Also if you are using it to add to soups and stocks etc...try draining it then portioning it in "groups" on a sheet pan. Let it fully cool then bag it or freeze it (still on the sheet pan) and then bag it once frozen. Then when you are ready to use it. Pull your portions out and add to whatever you are cooking. Easy peasy.
post #19 of 20
Thread Starter 

Thanks!

Well, this morning I cooked up a package of elbow macaroni, some for lunch and some for down the line, to use in soup and salads. Using some suggestions here, it looks like the pasta's not sticking, and that the entire amount of leftovers can be saved in one bowl. Way to go gang. Thanks!

shel
post #20 of 20

I Got Te Best Solution

:bounce:Past is like $1 a pound. Just make some more.
Robert Forti A.K.A. GourmetAmor
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Robert Forti A.K.A. GourmetAmor
Gourmet and Compay

"Good Food And Good Wine never tastes as good without good Friends And Family" Visit my myspace page. www.myspace.com/gourmetandcoDont forget to add me as a friend.
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