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What to Do With All That Leftover Spaghetti

It’s a mystery why restaurants insist on serving you enough spaghetti for six people, but thankfully, there are plenty of things to do with those leftovers

Part of being human is that you occasionally boil too much spaghetti. But what sets you apart from everyone who chucks it into the garbage is how you make use of all those extra noodles. Feeling lost? Stumped? Need help? 

No sweat — I asked a couple pasta gurus what to do with leftover spaghetti.

According to Vicky Bennison, creator of the Pasta Grannies YouTube channel and cookbook, the simplest solution is to reheat the spaghetti in a frying pan with a “splash of water,” which rehydrates the noodles and prevents them from sticking. Simply stir them over medium-low heat every 30 seconds until they’re slack and heated through, then add your favorite sauce (or you can follow the same process with already-sauced noodles). Keep in mind, however, that most cooked pasta only lasts in the fridge for three to five days.

Another option that Bennison suggests is making a frittata with your leftover spaghetti (although, the noodles shouldn’t be sauced if you’re taking this route). To cook it, start by chopping up about a half-pound of the leftover pasta. Combine it with a quarter-cup of bacon or pancetta and six eggs. Chuck a few tablespoons of butter or olive oil into a skillet, and heat the mixture on medium-low until the bottom begins to congeal. Finally, place the skillet in a 350-degree oven, and cook for about 10 minutes.

If you want to try something a little different, chef Jenn Louis, author of Pasta By Hand and The Chicken Soup Manifesto, was kind enough to send me the following soup recipe that she says can be made with leftover spaghetti, even if it’s already tossed with tomato sauce.

The Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons rendered chicken fat or vegetable oil 
  • 1 onion cut into quarter-inch cubes 
  • 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • Leftover spaghetti
  • 6 cups of water or chicken stock
  • 4 cups whole, canned tomatoes, puréed (or diced fresh tomatoes) 
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1.5 pounds of chicken breast or tenders, cut into bite-sized pieces

The Recipe

  1. Heat the chicken fat or oil in a large pot over a medium-high heat. 
  2. Add the onions and garlic and cook for three to four minutes, until the onions begin to become translucent. 
  3. Stir in the water or stock and tomatoes, then season with salt. 
  4. Bring to a low simmer and cook for 10 to 12 minutes. 
  5. Bring the heat to medium, stir in the chicken and cook for three to four minutes, until cooked through.
  6. Add in the leftover spaghetti for 30 seconds, and eat.

Hope that helps, and enjoy your new noods!