Spaghetti is one of those dependably delicious foods, a familiar meal that always lives up to expectations. This well-loved combo of noodles, pasta sauce, and parmesan cheese is Italian food that Americans wholeheartedly embrace. However, even the best meals can get repetitive after a few helpings. Pasta is as filling as it is delectable, so it's not always possible to clean your plate. To help with this, we've compiled a list of creative, tasty meals you can make from your leftover spaghetti.
How To Cook Spaghetti
Before you can have leftovers, you've got to figure out the best way to cook spaghetti noodles. When I was a kid I loved spaghetti night because it meant I got to throw a noodle at the wall to see if it would stick. If it stuck, the spaghetti was done!
However, professional chefs can't throw spaghetti at the wall to test for doneness, so they taught themselves a better way.
To cook spaghetti properly, start with a large pot of boiling water with a pinch of salt. You want it to be "as salty as the sea" to properly season the noodles. Once the water is at a rolling boil, add the noodles and stir. Do not add olive oil to the pot, all it does is stay at the top and float around.
Spaghetti usually takes about 10-13 minutes, depending on the thickness. The best way to check the doness of your spaghetti is carefully taking a noodle out of the pot and biting it. If there's a slight bit of crunch left, it's time to remove the pasta and drain it. Make sure to save some pasta water before draining just in case you need to use it for your sauce.
Saving Leftover Spaghetti
It's very easy to make too much spaghetti noodles. The best way to store leftover spaghetti noodles is by placing plain noodles (this means non-sauced) in a container or plastic sealable bag and chilling them in the refrigerator for up to five days. To reheat, place in boiling water or use in the recipes as follows.
1. Spaghetti Frittata
Spaghetti frittatas are an ingenious way to use up your leftover noodles. Add in some fried bacon, eggs, and ricotta cheese and you're ready to go! These pasta frittatas have a golden, crispy top layer and are the perfect way to turn last night's dinner into this morning's breakfast.
2. Leftover Spaghetti Casserole
The casserole is a fool-proof weeknight meal, the perfect opportunity to mix together veggies, meat, and noodles into a cheesy pan of happiness. Shredded chicken or beef taste great in this leftover spaghetti casserole, and it's an easy way to use up the marinara sauce you topped your spaghetti with.
3. Leftover Spaghetti Lasagna
This creative melding of spaghetti and lasagna is another yummy use of your leftover pasta, and it adds cottage cheese and mozzarella cheese to the mix, always a good thing. Lasagna is well-loved in its own right, and this combination allows you to enjoy the best parts of each meal.
4. Spaghetti Pizza
This may sound like absolute madness, but someone decided to make their leftover spaghetti noodles into pizza, and the result was amazing. There's no crust involved, as the spaghetti itself is all you need. Heat up some olive oil, mix your spaghetti with tomato sauce, eggs and cheese, cook until crisp, and you're ready to experience a spaghetti pizza. For a tasty variation, use pesto sauce instead of tomato!
5. Baked Leftover Spaghetti Pie
Another simple but scrumptious combination meal, baked spaghetti pie is as good as it sounds. Full of veggies, ground beef, spaghetti sauce, Italian seasoning and of course leftover spaghetti, this is the ultimate comfort food. An easy dinner for the day after spaghetti night, this is a recipe you'll come back to.
6. Spaghetti and Garlic Toast Grilled Cheese
In this innovative sandwich, you get to enjoy crunchy garlic toast while also savoring warm, melted cheese mixed with spaghetti noodles. Sprinkle on some salt, black pepper and Italian seasoning, then as much cheese as your heart desires, and you can even add meat sauce for extra flavor.
7. Leftover Spaghetti Salad
A tasty and healthy variation of spaghetti, this spaghetti salad is ideal for a potluck or bbq. To make it, you mix leftover spaghetti noodles with veggies like zucchini, bell pepper and onion. Top with some homemade Italian dressing and you're good to go!
8. Leftover Chicken Spaghetti
Chicken Spaghetti is a cousin of the pasta casserole we listed second, but the chicken plays a larger role in this pasta dish. Great with rotisserie chicken, this involves sautéing vegetables and adding in cream of mushroom soup. This combo of flavors and creamy textures is addicting, and you'll find yourself hoping for leftover spaghetti just for an excuse to make it.
9. Spaghetti Meatball Muffin Bites
This creative spaghetti recipe is great for individual portions since each muffin bite is perfectly round and bite-sized. The meatballs can be made with ground beef or Italian sausage. These baked bites have all of the flavor of spaghetti and meatballs, but in the shape and size of a muffin. Be prepared for these to become your new favorite kind of muffin!
10. Leftover Spaghetti Bread
A hybrid of pizza and spaghetti, there's no better recipe to celebrate your love of carbs than spaghetti bread. This involves pizza dough, leftover spaghetti noodles, sauce, cheese, and garlic. These all get baked together until the crust is nice and brown, and then your bread is ready to eat in all of its garlicy, buttery glory!