Freezing your pasta with cream sauce is possible but you need to follow certain tips to make sure the leftovers are good.
Did you make some yummy chicken Alfredo? Maybe a nice garlic cream linguine, and you’re wondering whether you can throw those creations into the freezer to enjoy at a later date?
You can freeze pasta with cream sauce. Thawed cream sauce often breaks, so it’s best to keep the pasta and the sauce separate. This way, you can fix the sauce after thawing.
There are actually some helpful little tricks that don’t require too much fuss which will help with freezing your creamy pastas so that your meal tastes just as yummy the second time around.
Making Enough Pasta for Later
For starters, we all love pasta and creamy pasta is just to die for. You might be making enough pasta for the whole family or maybe you’re making pasta as a meal prep so you can enjoy it in portions at a later time. Either way, those leftovers need to be frozen, and you’re wondering the best way to do it.
As we said before, you can freeze pasta with cream sauces but they don’t do particularly well unless you follow a few steps. Let’s start with whether or not your cream sauce is already on your pasta or on the side.
Pasta With Cream on the Side
You’ve made some delicious penne pasta with white sauce. You’ve got your penne in one pot and cooked slightly al dente, and your creamy buttery white sauce with parmesan in another pot.
Best thing to do in this case is to not mix the pasta and sauce all together in one big batch. Go ahead and make your portion for your meal tonight—we go heavy on the sauce—but make sure you leave enough for the leftovers.
After you’ve made your portion, you will want to freeze the pasta and the sauce in separate air tight bags or containers. This is a great way to make sure that when you go to reheat these items, they don’t dry out or congeal badly.
It’s important to note that frozen cream sauce will separate when thawed. However, there are things that you can do to counter it, and we will discuss them momentarily.
To fix broken cream sauce, transfer it to a pan, add a dollop or two of heavy cream, and heat it over low heat, stirring to reconstitute the ingredients. When the texture is fixed, it’s ready to eat again.
Here’s the technique, demonstrated by Chef Dean Corbett:
When you’re making your delicious garlic cream penne pasta, you might want to consider another alternative. Go ahead and make just enough pasta for you and your family for tonight, but make double the cream sauce.
This way, when you go to make leftovers, you will make fresh warm pasta and just need to reheat and reconstitute the cream sauce.
This method of keeping the sauce and pasta separate is the best way to make yummy leftovers, but it does require a little more work on the reheating side. Pasta and pasta leftovers are godsend, but it all depends on how fancy you want to get.
Mac ’n Cheese and Other Pastas With Cream Mixed In
Let’s say you’ve made your mom’s famous mac and cheese recipe and, somehow, you’ve managed to control yourself and not eat it all in one sitting. Time to freeze the leftovers! You’re in luck, it can be frozen, but be careful on how.
When the pasta with cream sauce like this is already mixed together, the best way to ensure it’s delicious the second time around is to make sure the double layer freezer bag you use is as air tight as you can possibly get it. If you can manage that, then you can enjoy the mac n cheese as late as three months later.
Keep in mind with dishes like this and things like casseroles, you’ll want to keep certain ingredients separate otherwise the leftovers won’t come out just right. Things like cheese or bread crumbs for the top will want to be added later and not beforehand.
Although you can try to reconstitute the sauce, this will require you to reheat the entire batch of thawed pasta and use a little more heavy cream, stirring slowly with a spatula to fix the sauce without breaking the noodles.
Tips for Hassle-Free Reheating
It’s time to enjoy your creamy pasta dish for the second time around, so let’s get down to some tips for reheating it.
Whether you kept the pasta and sauce separate or not, you will want to make sure you reheat it on medium to low heat—this is key. This is critical in making sure you don’t lose any of the creaminess or burn any of the cream. You can also heat a bit of water in the pan before adding your leftovers.
The next best thing you can do is to let your dish thaw before reheating it. If possible, you can leave it in the fridge overnight to thaw it out. This will absolutely help the ingredients come back together properly when you’re heating it up.
The best method of reheating is on the stove. When you’re heating up your thawed pasta and sauce on the cooktop, you can add a bit of cream at this point to really liven the leftovers up. But again, make sure you are reheating on low to medium-low (at most). You’ll be saying “yum” all over again.
If by chance you are reheating your pasta in the microwave and not on the stove top, here is a little trick. You can place a wet paper towel over the pasta when reheating to help bring back some moisture that may have been lost when it froze. Moisture content is your biggest factor in reheating.
Not to worry if your sauce separated when it froze, it should come back together on the thaw or on the reheat, especially with the addition of heavy cream to it. You’ll definitely want to make sure to stir the sauce well to make sure the ingredients congeal properly.
Leftovers are certainly a blessing when you’re too busy during the week and just want to whip something up quick. Easy, belly warming pastas can now be added to your repertoire of delicious home cooked meals that can be enjoyed at a later date.