There’s something that just goes so terribly wrong with leftover pasta. When it’s reheated in the microwave or oven, it ends up mushy, dry, burned or, mystifyingly, all of the above. Precious baked ziti just doesn’t deserve that! Seeing as we’re total spaghetti junkies and obsessed with everything Alfredo, this left us in a bit of a pickle.

Then, one day we had an epiphany. Since most of the problems with reheated pasta have to do with the loss of moisture and the high heat from the oven, microwave, or stovetop, maybe the solution was steam. It could gently raise the temperature of the pasta so it wouldn’t get mushy, while adding extra moisture to help loosen up the sauce. We tested it out and were thrilled. Alfredo that wasn’t a beige brick of pasty despair? Baked ziti that didn’t have the texture of an old leather shoe? Heck yeah. Whether your favorite pasta leftovers are homemade lasagna or delivery chicken piccata, this method will leave you with saucy, steamy pasta every time.

Behold this hack in action. See how the pre-steam fettuccini Alfredo appears like a solid block.

Post-steam, take a look at all that saucy goodness!

How to ReHeat Pasta With Steam

Instructions:

  1. Add leftover pasta to a small heat-proof dish that fits in the steamer insert of your pan when the lid is on. We used a small casserole dish. If you don’t have one, you can craft a makeshift one out of aluminum foil.
  2. Add 1-2 inches of water to your pan, making sure it doesn’t touch the steamer insert.
  3. Place the dish on top of the steamer insert, cover the pan, and bring the water to a boil over medium heat.
  4. Steam the pasta until it’s loose and saucy, about 10 minutes. For thicker sauces, like Alfredo, you may need to stir things around once or twice to speed things along.
  5. Serve! We like to add a little garnish of basil or parsley to inject some extra freshness into the meal.

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(Photos via Justina Huddleston / Brit + Co)