You can never go wrong with a glass of red wine and a comforting, heaping bowl of pasta. Once that pasta becomes leftovers, though, it loses much of its charm. If done wrong, that bowl of pasta can go from one of life’s biggest joys to one of its greatest disappointments.
On a busy weeknight, the microwave is the hero and workhorse of the kitchen, churning out steamed veggies and piping-hot soup. But when it comes to leftover pasta, it tends to zap the much-needed moisture and dehydrate any sauce, leaving it dry and flavorless.
Thankfully, there’s good news for those of us who love pasta and depend heavily on our microwaves. In fact, there’s more than one way to keep your reheated pasta from mediocrity—and they’re both super easy!
Method 1: The Ice Cube Hack
The first method is to spread your cold pasta thinly on a plate and top it with a single ice cube, then cover that ice cube with a paper towel or parchment paper. Though this may seem a bit strange at first, you’ve gotta trust the process.
The ice cube will generate steam in the microwave, thus preventing any sad, dry pasta. To achieve the best results, microwave the pasta in one-minute intervals and stir after each one.
Method 2: A Damp Paper Towel
The next hack is especially helpful if you plan on bringing leftover pasta to work or school. You’ll start out the same way, by spreading the pasta on a plate in a thin layer, but this time you’ll drape a damp paper towel over your noodles instead. Similar to the ice cube method, the damp paper towel will help retain moisture (again, reheat in one-minute intervals).
Using either trick will maintain the pasta’s intended texture without affecting the taste. And while both tips are exceptionally simple and extremely effective, the paper towel method has a slight advantage over the ice cube.
Besides requiring additional materials, it may take longer to warm pasta with ice depending on your microwave. By contrast, the damp paper towel is no-fuss, and it’s faster. Ultimately, the final verdict will be left up to you, fellow leftover pasta lovers.