Homemade pasta is a delightful treat for family and friends alike. Because most recipes leave you with some extra dough, it’s important to know how to store it to preserve both freshness and flavor. So, what is a home chef to do? If you need tips on how to store your fresh pasta, our guide can help. You’ll learn the best methods for storing, including how to dry and freeze fresh pasta so you can enjoy it in the days and weeks ahead.
How should you store fresh pasta?
Pasta can be either dried or frozen for future use. The storage method you choose depends on how long you want to keep your pasta. While some commercially dried pastas can stay fresh for up to two years, homemade pasta has a more limited shelf life – normally around 2-6 months for dry pasta or up to 8 months for frozen pasta.
How to dry fresh pasta
To dry fresh pasta, start by tossing the strands with a small amount of flour to keep the dough from sticking. Next, lay the strands of pasta in a single layer on a baking sheet or clean cloth towel, or hang them from a drying rack. If you plan to use your pasta the same day, let it dry for about 30 minutes so the excess flour can absorb the moisture from the eggs. For long term storage, you will need to let your pasta completely air dry. This can take anywhere from 12-24 hours or longer, depending on the temperature and humidity of your kitchen. You can use a fan to speed up the process – simply aim it toward the pasta and use a lower speed to create a gentle breeze. Test the pasta every few hours to gauge its progress – your pasta is ready if it snaps in half when twisted. If it bends, flexes or otherwise gives, it needs more time. Once it’s finished, store the dried pasta in an airtight container.
How to freeze fresh pasta
There are several ways to freeze fresh pasta, depending on your plans and preferences:
• If you have leftover pasta dough, or if you want to premake your dough for later use, simply make your dough and roll it into one large ball. Wrap the dough in a double layer of heavy duty plastic wrap, then place it in your freezer. It will stay fresh for up to four weeks. When you’re ready to use it, simply thaw the dough overnight in your refrigerator. Once it’s thawed, you can use it to create your favorite noodles.
• To freeze batches of cut noodles, dust them with a light coating of flour and let the pasta air dry for one hour before storing them in an airtight container. Another way to freeze your pasta is by forming it into “nests.” To do this, take a handful of pasta strands and coat them lightly with flour. Let them dry on a baking tray or other clean, flat surface for about 5 minutes. Next, pick up a small bundle of noodles from one end using your thumb and forefinger, then loosely wind the rest of the pasta around your hand. Once that’s done, you can slip the pasta off of your hand and back onto the baking sheet or flat surface. Allow the pasta to dry a bit longer so it retains its “nest” shape, then place the nests in an airtight container and freeze. This is a great way to store individual portions of pasta for later use.
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