Fresh pasta is a nice change or “breath of fresh air” (pun intended) from the usual dry pasta that we are accustomed to. Artisanal, handmade pasta has that “oomph”, that particular flavor and texture that’s not much different from what you would get in a “trattoria” or “ristorante”. You might even inadvertently kiss your fingers after making it!
One of the shortcomings of fresh pasta is that, unlike dried pasta, it’s made with eggs. You might find that statement surprisingly odd, especially if you like eggs, but the reason I list this as a disadvantage is that eggs make it spoil faster than dry pasta, and this is a problem whenever you are tempted to save your fresh pasta for later use. And these questions come to mind. Can you freeze fresh pasta? How long does fresh pasta last in the fridge? How to cook frozen fresh pasta?
You definitely can freeze fresh pasta. In fact, if you plan on using the fresh pasta over a long period, then you should! You only need to be mindful that certain conditions must be met in order to freeze it correctly. There are also other techniques to conserve it, such as drying, though this latter process involves considerably more effort. For the purposes of this writing, I will be focusing only on the freezing method.
If you have not fully rolled and cut the pasta, you can freeze the fresh pasta dough by shaping it into one large disk and wrapping it in heavy duty plastic wrap before storing it.
For freezing fresh pasta noodles, dust them lightly with flour so that they don’t stick, then lay them in a dry baking sheet or cloth towel and let them dry for around 1 hour at room temperature. Afterward, place the noodles in an airtight container or freezer bag, squeezing out all the air before sealing. Finally, place the container in the freezer.
You can alternatively form “nests” from single-serving noodle portions and wrap them or put them in airtight bags. Remember to let them dry beforehand.
You shouldn’t notice any discernible difference between newly-made fresh pasta and the one that was withdrawn from the freezer, assuming that you followed the procedure outlined above to a tee. Regretfully, it still won’t last long in an optimal state, so you should not leave it there indefinitely.
Considering that fresh pasta contains eggs and high water content, it shouldn’t be frozen more than once, as ice crystals will form and degrade its texture and integrity. If you thaw frozen fresh pasta, you should find a way to consume it all.
If the fresh pasta was bought from the supermarket and left unopened, it should last in the fridge for up to 3 days at a temperature of 40º F or below, while homemade pasta should be eaten within 2 days or even less. In that environment, the bacterial activity is not stopped, only delayed, so food can still experience spoilage.
Frozen fresh pasta should be consumed within 1 month after freezing (at a temperature of 0º F or below). Otherwise, it will lose quality significantly. Frozen pasta won’t go bad or spoil since the low temperatures inhibit bacterial growth.
It’s only recommended to thaw the uncut fresh pasta dough since, naturally, you’ll need it defrosted in order to cut it into noodles or whatever other forms you decide. In that case, the only approach I recommend is the slow approach, consisting of storing the dough in the fridge and let it rest for 24 hours.
If we speak of already-cut fresh pasta, it’s not necessary to thaw it.
Cooking frozen fresh pasta without thawing is the way to go. So simply take the batches of frozen pasta from the package and toss them into the pot of boiling water, just as you would do with dried pasta. Wait until it’s al dente and drain it with a strainer. Even if you plan on baking it afterwards, it’s always better to precook it in boiling water, as the pasta hydrates and you can rid it of the excess starch.