A pan of homemade lasagna, macaroni and cheese, or another favorite pasta makes a relaxing family meal after a busy day, but you may not always have time to throw together a meal. Preparing your pasta dish ahead of time and freezing it in a disposable aluminum pan provides the convenience of a frozen prepared foods without the preservatives or unhealthy ingredients. Pasta can freeze and reheat well if properly prepared, packaged and frozen.
Pasta can become overly soft or fall apart during freezing and reheating if it's not properly prepared. When preparing the pasta dish, under cook it slightly so the pasta isn't cooked through and is still firm when bitten into. Mix it with the sauce or other ingredients in the dish as you usually would for the recipe. For baked dishes, you can bake the pasta dish in the disposable aluminum pan or you can transfer an unbaked dish to the pan prior to freezing.
Quick cooling prevents food-borne illness while retaining the quality of the pasta dish during freezing. To quickly cool the pasta in the aluminum pan, Cover the pan with foil and set it into a larger dish then place the entire dish in a sink filled with ice. Don't allow the pan to sink beneath the level of the ice, otherwise melting water may get into the pasta. The ice may require replacement as it melts. It's ready to freeze once the food cools to 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
Packaging and Freezing
The foil pan and covering provides the baking dish and storage container. You can double wrap the entire pan in aluminum foil to help prevent freezer burn, or slide the foil-covered pan into a large zip-top freezer bag. Label the bag or foil with the dish name and the date frozen so you can easily find it when you need it. Freeze the pasta dish immediately after it cools in a zero-degree or colder freezer. You can store the frozen pasta for two to three months without a loss of quality.
Partially thawing the pan of pasta in the refrigerator before reheating it helps ensure even cooking. Remove the pan from the freezer the day before you plan to reheat so it can partially thaw in time for preparation. Most pasta dishes reheat best uncovered in a 400 F, preheated oven. It may take up to 1 hour and 45 minutes for a large pan of pasta to cook through. The pasta is ready to serve when the internal temperature of the pasta dish reaches 165 F.
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