Carbonara, one of Italy’s most amazing delicacies. There’s something about that fine, smooth sauce, well it’s more of a glaze, that just screams refinement. You need quite a bit of skill to make a good bowl of carbonara, and it’s a really fragile dish as well.
But what do you do when you’re somehow left with more pasta than you can eat ? Leftover carbonara is a bit of a sin, and as you probably know, the eggs in it are really fussy. So we’re presenting you with some of the best ideas on how to reheat carbonara, but you need to keep an open mind.
How to reheat carbonara pasta
The best ways to reheat carbonara is to try and add a bit of cream and heat it gently in a double-boiler, while stirring. It will not be fully carbonara, but then again, leftover carbonara is no longer carbonara either. Once the eggs cool down and the sauce dries up, there is no way to bring it back to its original state.
But you can reheat it in several ways, just so you preserve the original flavor.
The main issue: not overcooking the egg
This problem is pretty much what’s stopping everyone from just nuking the pasta. The eggs in carbonara are just mildly cooked in an emulsion. But once you add direct heat to them – like a microwave or skillet – you’re going to cook them through.
Read also: How to Reheat Stromboli
So either you decide to cook the pasta into something else, or give it to the cat as someone once suggested. We’re guessing you want the carbonara for yourself, so let’s take a look at the ways you can reheat it, because there are a few bonus ways that we haven’t mentioned above.
1. Add a tiny bit of cream or full-fat milk, stir on low heat
Our first idea is to try and get some cream or full fat milk incorporated into the sauce. It’s no longer carbonara, because the sauce is a little different. But cold carbonara is no longer carbonara anyway, so at least give it a try.
The cream is meant to help the pasta unstick and also gently warm it evenly, by providing some moisture. Keep in mind that all pasta dries out and sucks in all the liquid if it stays for a few hours. So your carbonara will be extra firm and will definitely need some help.
You need a double boiler for this, and to constantly stir. This is because you want to gently but uniformly heat the sauce and pasta, but not with direct heat.
In the end you may have to stop before it gets truly hot, and you may have to serve it just warmed through. Consider yourself lucky if you can manage to get the eggs to not scramble. And if it’s a little dry but it’s hot enough, consider adding grated parmesan to loosen it up.
2. Try incorporating carbonara into a frittata
Your second option is to do something completely different. Accept that your carbonara is done and there’s not reverting to the original, silky sauce. Instead, roughly chop it into several large chunks. Place those in a skillet, fry them up a little with some butter.
Separately whisk some eggs (depending on how much pasta you have left), and consider if you want any extra toppings. Turn the oven on, get the broiler ready.
Once the eggs are thoroughly whisked, pour them over the pasta. Put a lot on the skillet if you can, let it cook through almost completely. When it’s almost done, put it under the hot broiler for a few minutes to completely set and get a few golden bubbles. Grate some cheese on top if you want.
And yes you need an oven-safe skillet for this. Something like a cast iron pot, or one of those skillets that have removable handles.
It’s a frittata, anything goes into this delicious egg pizza, so this could be a nice breakfast or dinner. Or lunch, who are we to judge ?
3. Add another sauce, turn them into another pasta
If frittatas are too far from what you’re looking for and you want actual pasta, then you have another option. Simply get more sauce, of whatever kind you like, and turn the carbonara into a different pasta.
There is no saving the original sauce, that’s just the way it’s made. And making another batch of fresh to combine with the old is just plain silly. You’re making a fresh batch, why combine it with an old carbonara ?
So choose your sauce. It could be tomato sauce, cream, alfredo, pesto, anything you like. As long as you pour the sauce over the pasta and give it a double boiler treatment, it should be fine. The eggs are still there, so you still need to constantly stir the pasta. Otherwise may get curdled eggs.
4. Start fresh, it’s very easy to mess up the eggs
If all else fails, or you think the effort of all of the above is too much, you’re better off making another batch of carbonara. The trouble with carbonara is that for all its delicious goodness, it’s very short-lived. You either eat it on the spot, or not at all. hour-old carbonara isn’t the same.
So it might be a good idea to make a whole new batch of carbonara, and make it smaller.
Read Also: Can You Reheat Burgers ?
True carbonara does not contain cream
Let’s talk a little about the cream in carbonara. We know we’ve annoyed pretty much every carbonara lover by suggesting that, but hear us out. True carbonara does not contain cream. It does not. We know that.
However, leftover carbonara is impossible to save without ruining the original recipe. A bit of heavy cream to bring moisture will possibly save the pasta. So what if it turns into more of an alfredo sauce ? Both are pretty good on their own. And if this is the only way to revive a cold plate of carbonara, we’ll take it.
We’d also like to point out a final fact. There are places – like Eastern Europe where we’re from – where carbonara is rarely ever made true to the original Italian recipe. Yes, some places call it carbonara and in fact it’s just cream with parmesan and fried bacon. In those cases adding cream or milk to the pasta will definitely help, and we’d like to help out those folks too.
In short, the best way to save a plate of carbonara is you can’t truly save it. You can change the recipe a little and it will still be delicious, or you can simply make a whole new batch.