Despite its reputation as a go-to meal, a spaghetti dinner isn't quite as quick to cook as you may think. Work around this minor shortcoming by cooking and freezing spaghetti noodles ahead of time. Precooking the noodles enables you to whip up a filling pasta dinner quickly after a busy day. For every 1 pound of spaghetti you're cooking, use 1 gallon of water.
Fill a large stockpot with water to about three-quarters full. Turn the burner to high.
Slide spaghetti noodles into the pot when the water reaches a roiling boil. Use tongs to push down and hold all of the noodles under the water, until they stay submerged. Stir the spaghetti, separating the strands, until the water reboils.
Lower the heat to medium when the water returns to a roiling boil. Aim for a slow boil rather than a simmer -- look for large, slow-forming bubbles.
Remove a noodle about two minutes before the minimum cooking time specified on the package. For example, if the box says to cook the noodles for eight to 10 minutes, test a strand after six minutes.
Sample a cooked noodle. If you can bite into it but it is still quite chewy, remove the pot from the heat. Drain the spaghetti into the colander, but do not rinse the spaghetti. Let the noodles cool slightly. Cook the spaghetti for another minute if they are not quite done.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Ease the spaghetti from the colander onto the lined baking sheet. Toss the noodles lightly with a small amount of olive oil, smoothing the strands out to their full length.
Flash-freeze the spaghetti by putting the baking sheet in the freezer for about one hour. Make sure the spaghetti is spread out in a single layer.
Remove the baking sheet from the freezer. Transfer the frozen strands from the sheet into a large plastic freezer bag or two or more medium bags. Seal the bags, forcing out air as you close them.
Label the bag with the contents and date of preparation. Store the noodle-filled bag flat in the freezer.
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Ellen Douglas has written on food, gardening, education and the arts since 1992. Douglas has worked as a staff reporter for the Lakeville Journal newspaper group. Previously, she served as a communication specialist in the nonprofit field. She received her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Connecticut.