What can I do with overcooked pasta?
May 1, 2014 6:34 PM   Subscribe

Every once in a while, I'll absent-mindedly leave pasta to cook just past the point where it's inedible. I hate throwing away food. Can I repurpose the overcooked pasta somehow? I've tried sautéing the mushy noodles in oil following a suggestion from somewhere, but it doesn't salvage it. I was thinking along the lines of throwing the pasta into the food processor and making a dough, or drying it out in the fridge and grinding it down, but I don't know if that's a good idea.
posted by redlines to Food & Drink (19 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
A pasta frittata - frittatas are sort of like a crustless quiche. I also found this discussion thread which suggests muffins. (?)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:39 PM on May 1, 2014 [4 favorites]

Maybe you could let it dry out a bit and reheat it, but I'd invest in a timer, or a timer app for the smart phone.
posted by theora55 at 6:41 PM on May 1, 2014 [5 favorites]

I realize this is not what you are asking, but do you set a timer? This seems like a much easier problem to prevent than to solve.
posted by needs more cowbell at 6:42 PM on May 1, 2014 [8 favorites]

I feed ours to the pig or put it in the compost.

But if you don't have a pig or compost, then yes a timer.
posted by aetg at 6:47 PM on May 1, 2014 [5 favorites]

You could compost it.
posted by Bentobox Humperdinck at 6:47 PM on May 1, 2014

Depending on how "inedible" it is, it might still be good baked with cheeses.
posted by silentbicycle at 6:48 PM on May 1, 2014 [2 favorites]

I find over-cooked pasta tastes fine in soup. Make a minestrone or bean and pasta style soup. Just put it in at the end so it doesn't cook even more.
posted by Blitz at 7:11 PM on May 1, 2014 [5 favorites]

Bake it. You can either do savory (toss it with a cheesy or creamy sauce, top with breadcrumbs, bake) or sweet (something along the lines of a noodle kugel).
posted by julthumbscrew at 7:19 PM on May 1, 2014 [2 favorites]

I glued a tabletop down with it many years ago and it was still holding eight years later.
posted by aryma at 7:49 PM on May 1, 2014 [22 favorites]

could you do something like a rice pudding with it?
posted by steinwald at 7:50 PM on May 1, 2014

something like a rice pudding

Macaroni pudding is a thing; I don’t see why it wouldn’t work as well with other kinds of pasta. Not nearly a nice a rice pudding in my opinion, but as I last tried it about 40 years ago I’m probably not the best judge.
posted by Quinbus Flestrin at 9:34 PM on May 1, 2014

Nthing that something like a noodle kugel or noodle pudding would work.
posted by entropyiswinning at 11:46 PM on May 1, 2014

Get chickens.
posted by lydhre at 1:07 AM on May 2, 2014 [1 favorite]

Bake it, and invest in a kitchen timer.
posted by Coaticass at 1:28 AM on May 2, 2014 [1 favorite]

Seconding a noodle frittata.

I know you said you tried sauteeing in oil, but you could also try pan frying at a higher temperature with maybe some cheese. I don't have a microwave so when I reheat pasta I use a non stick pan with a generous glug of oil. It makes it nice and brown and crispy on the outside, and any mushiness just helps it stick together. Think a pasta patty. Cheese helps it along too.
posted by apricot at 7:46 AM on May 2, 2014

I'd combine these ideas - sauteeing in oil won't really help because you need to remove the water first. So let it dry out a bit, patience is key; I'd go ahead and put it in my giant 12" teflon skillet because it's got a lot of surface area, and I'd heat it up on medium or med-low heat (maybe a tiny bit of oil) until I could hear the wetness of the pasta simmering/sizzling just a bit on the bottom of the pile, then I'd stir it up and leave it (uncovered of course) for 20-min or half an hour or so. Then I'd go back and stir it up and leave it for another 20 mins, and repeat a couple of times. It'll take several hours for it to dry out, and it might be kind of uneven. (still mushy in places, but getting leathery in others). So then I'd make some soup, get it all ready, and serve it over my refurbished pasta (or dump the pasta into the soup pot, but only as much as you're going to eat right now. Not only would you re-overcook the pasta if you boiled it in the soup, but just letting it sit in the liquid in the fridge would mushify the pasta, so you really need to keep that separate until right before you eat it, no leftovers.)
This is a lot of hassle to go through over half of a 99cent box of pasta.

As far as making a dough out of it... well, you could definitely make a dough, but I'm not sure what for. The process of making pasta has basically just flour and water in it, but the flour is usually semolinafrom durum wheat, a heavier yellower flour than is used for baking. Additionally, it's not just wet flour (like a dough), it's cooked flour, which alters the way the starch molecules go together. You couldn't bake up this dough into anything. You could probably knead it up and make dumplings, or spaetzle, which is basically hand-formed pasta, so it may not end up mattering at what point exactly the starches got boiled.

Other than that, my best dough-based suggestion would be to add at least a cup of salt and a bit of food coloring to make play-dough.
posted by aimedwander at 8:19 AM on May 2, 2014

Noodle Kugel, Baked Ziti, Baked Macaroni. You're looking to dehydrate it, so go with a thick sauce, just enough to coat. Spread it thin in the pan, and let it bake with some amount of sauce.

Also, you can pretty easily start a fire with a pot that boils dry. Maybe cooking pasta in the microwave would be a better bet if a timer doesn't get your attention promptly enough.
posted by fontophilic at 9:47 AM on May 2, 2014

Thirding frittata. Sautee some vegetables and garlic together, mix in the pasta and more olive oil and a few eggs and herbs, and bake or cook atop the stove. Certainly don't toss it out or even compost it. What a waste that would be. Frittata good!
posted by fivesavagepalms at 10:06 AM on May 3, 2014

Made a frittata today -- it was pretty good! The pasta was on the bottom and became nice and crispy, and the egg masked the overcooked taste. Thanks for the suggestions.
posted by redlines at 11:40 PM on May 4, 2014

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