- a blog about food and value

How to save pasta and rice

As good as new

As good as new

Pasta and rice are notoriously hard to measure. At some stage, most of us end up with too much and it gets thrown in the bin. You might as well flush it down them toilet.

The internet is littered with useful pasta measuring tools, while you can also buy pasta measures in kitchen equipment shops or IKEA.

Sometimes, however, there’s still some leftover, or you have to heat up a plate of food for a latecomer. I have a simple trick for bringing pasta and rice back to life. Now, I thought everybody knew this one, but in the past week, my friend J Headen Esq. offered to reheat pasta for her dad’s delicious bolognaise in the microwave, while another friend didn’t know how to heat rice for me so threw it in the bin and put on a fresh batch.

No, no, no. People, people, people. All you need to do to reheat pasta or boiled/ steamed rice safely is boil up a kettle of water, put your rice or pasta in a sieve or colander, and run the hot water through it, giving it a good stir. If the pasta is particularly flat and thick (the name escapes me), you’ll need a little bit extra hot water. But this is generally foolproof, you won’t have to destroy the pasta or rice by microwaving, and it’s as good as fresh.

Do you have any useful food heating tips?


  1. For pasta, 55g dry per person is the norm for pasta with a meat sauce, 70g for a less weighty sauce like pesto.

  2. I hadn’t heard of that one before, but I’ll bear it in mind – thanks for the tip!

  3. This is how I’ve always reheated pasta and rice. I figured everyone did it this way!!! Eugh, microwave reheated pasta, wouldn’t it be all stuck together and stodgy?…

  4. I thought I had invented that technique and was very proud of it……also I think reheating rice in a microwave is unsafe because rice is apparently a breeding ground for bacteria. I think I read that somewhere!

  5. Nessa, I heard that too: Mr Finn will not eat reheated rice under any circumstances due to an horrific bout of food poisoning a few years back. There’s a name for the particular bacteria which escapes me now.

  6. Its how a lot of restaurants keep their pasta warm too if they dont cook to order.

  7. Actually I was reading something on the Guardian’s website and the topic of reheated rice came up (I love coincidences!) and thought I’d post this info:

    “It does contain spores, but they are harmless as long as they aren’t allowed to reactivate. Cooked rice should either be eaten straight away, or cooled as quickly as possible (run under the cold tap or spread thinly on a baking tray). Once cool, refrigerate or freeze. When you reheat, make sure that it is piping hot – turn the microwave setting up to nuclear. ”

    Not sure I’m convinced though!

  8. A teacupful of raw rice is enough for two generous servings.

  9. I generally get aruond the problem by eating whatever I make, no matter how ridiculously bonus-size the pasta portions are. It’s a skill / curse…

  10. We must be savages in our house, we use half a pint of raw rice for the two of us adults. For pasta we put 50gms each for kids and 100gms each for adults!! We generally eat it all!

  11. That’s a really good tip, especially as my microwave has decided to die. Thanks!

  12. Great tip! Whenever I save our pasta, I chill it in the fridge covering it with water to keep it moist. Our family love pasta made from Kamut Khorasan Wheat and I honestly think that I could eat pasta every single day (lol) so making sure none of it goes to waste is essential!!

  13. The best way to reheat rice is too steam it…My mother used to have a colander-type of pan that would sit nicely on top of a simmering pot of water and the rice was always heated using this apparatus!
    I normally just stir fry it with added meat/vegs to bring it back to life…