Make the Most of Your Leftover Pasta

. September 06, 2021
Illustration of pasta

Too much pasta? Follow these handy recipes that will make the most of your leftovers.

Rinse hot, cooked pasta under cold water to cool and halt the cooking process. Drain well and toss with a little olive oil. Store in Ziploc bags or sealed containers in the fridge. 

Before using, place in a heatproof bowl and pour over a kettle of boiling water. Leave for 1 minute then drain well. 

Frittata: These can be made in a non-stick sauté pan or in muffin tins. Whisk eggs and grated parmesan together then stir in chopped, leftover roasted veges and any chopped herbs. If using long pasta, cut into shorter lengths and stir into the mixture then season generously. You can add extra cheese, like feta, mozzarella, or diced cheddar. Tip into the sauté pan or divide evenly between greased muffin tins. Bake in a 180°C oven until fully set in the middle.

Soup: Plain pasta can be added to virtually any soup but only give it enough time to heat through otherwise it will start to disintegrate. Use in Asian broths, hearty vegetable soups, minestrone with spicy chorizo or sausage or just in a simple chicken broth.

Stir fry: Fry off sliced vegetables and meat or prawns if using, then add your favourite stir fry sauce and cook until reduced and glossy. Add the leftover pasta at the end of cooking to heat through and coat in the sauce.

Stir-fry sauce
¼ cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons each hoisin sauce and mirin
1 tablespoon each sesame oil and grated fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 long red chilli, seeded and thinly sliced
zest and juice of 1 orange

Combine all the ingredients together.

Crispy fried: This is the simplest and a delicious use for leftover tomato sauce tossed pasta. If you like the crispy edges of lasagna you’ll love this. Heat olive oil in a large sauté pan and add the sauced pasta. Every now and then, turn the pasta until it’s golden in places and as crispy as you’d like it. Top with plenty of parmesan and eat immediately.

Asian Noodle Salad: Toss the pasta with your favourite Asian dressing. Add spring onions, shredded carrots, finely sliced red or green cabbage, chopped chilli, and roasted nuts such as peanuts or cashew nuts. Add mint, coriander, or parsley. Left over chicken, pork or tofu is a great addition.

4 tablespoons orange juice
3 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons tahini
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 teaspoons coconut sugar or brown sugar
2 cloves garlic, crushed
½ teaspoon sea salt

Whisk all the ingredients together until smooth. Store in a jar in the fridge. 

Baked: Tube shaped pasta such as penne or rigatoni work well in baked dishes. If you have a bolognaise meat sauce or tomato pasta sauce, home-made or purchased, toss it with the pasta. Stir in some baby spinach leaves, pitted black olives and mozzarella if you have some. Diced cooked sausage or salami are also delicious, stirred in. Tip into a baking dish and top with a generous grating of parmesan. Bake at 180°C until piping hot and golden on top.