Prevent Your Leftover Pasta From Sticking Together With An Oily Trick

Pasta is quintessential Italian; easy to make and absolutely delicious. But whether you like a simple caramelized onion pasta or poblano Bolognese pasta to fill your dinner bowls, at some point in your noodle adventures you've probably made more than you can use in one sitting. While storing the noodles for leftovers is the easy solution, you may find their starchy nature causes them to clump together. There is an easy fix for this problem — however, the cure for storing leftover pasta so it doesn't become sticky may raise an eyebrow because it seemingly goes against conventional wisdom. The remedy: olive oil.

Don't worry, this isn't a pasta hack you shouldn't follow, and it doesn't involve adding anything to your coveted, salted pasta water. Instead, just toss your unsauced noodles in olive oil before you store them away in the fridge. This will prevent them from clinging together, so they are just as good to eat as when you first made them. This trick, however, should only be used if you do not have immediate plans to eat the noodles, because oil can cause a little chaos when it comes to getting your sauce to stick to the pasta.

Cook al dente

Why do your noodles get sticky in the first place? Starch is a blessing and bane when it comes to pasta. It's what makes those noodles delicious, but it is also sticky and causes them to come together like magnets, forming a thick pile of spaghetti strands. And of course, drained pasta noodles get stickier as they dry.

If you find your pasta is overly sticky, you may be cooking it too long. When you overcook pasta past its suggested al dente cook time, it causes the noodles to produce even more starch — causing them to get gummy and stick together. However, undercooking pasta also creates that adhesive quality, so make certain you cook it so that it's not too soft and not crunchy. Salting water can also help ensure your pasta doesn't stick, so you can use those leftover noodles for a late-night winter chicken and vegetable stir fry, a simple pasta salad, or whatever pasta dish you might be craving.