If you want to make homemade pasta, but don't have time to prepare the dough after a long days work, then do it ahead of time!
Make our Homemade Gluten Free Egg Noodle recipe, then learn how to dry or freeze the fresh noodles (it's easier than you think).
Once you have rolled out and cut the dough into your desired shapes, you can dry them in three different ways.
Lay the noodles out flat on a fine-mesh wire rack. Space them out so they are not touching each other. Place in a warm dry spot until completely dry. I wouldn’t suggest making ‘nests’ for three reasons: 1) Gluten free fresh noodles are delicate, so you may accidently tear the noodles as you're trying to twist them into a nest. 2) There is a greater chance of the noodles getting stuck together, and they may not separate out when boiled. 3) It’s harder for air to circulate while drying the nests, so there is a potential for mold to develop.
For long strands you can hang the noodles from a wooden rack, or around anything you have handy like a broom handle or chair backs - just remember that the pasta will need to hang for a day or two, so make sure whatever you use can be put aside and not disturbed. Make sure the noodles are not touching each other and the air can freely circulate.
The final method is to use a food dehydrator. Refer to it’s manual for instructions, although most should dry within a few hours on a low temperature setting.
There are several factors that will determine how long the pasta will need to dry.
Thickness of noodle, as well as the temperature and humidity of the room will affect the drying time. My pasta dried within 48 hours – although it was probably ready after 24 hours, but I wanted to make sure - better to be dried longer than not enough! Break off a small piece at the end and check to see that it's completely dried throughout (or take a bite and make sure all the 'chewiness' is gone).
Once dry, store in an air-tight container with a piece of paper towel to absorb any moisture that may get in. Avoid using plastic bags to store the pasta as the dried noodles are very delicate and will easily break. Noodles will stay fresh for several months if stored in a cool, dry, and dark area.
Instead of Drying – Freeze!
I find freezing the fresh noodles the best option. They are quicker to prepare than drying, and they taste the closest to fresh noodles when cooked.
After cutting out the dough, lay noodles out on a wire rack or parchment paper lined baking sheet – ensure they are not touching each other. Freeze until solid, about 1-2 hours.
In a large container, add noodles in layers (it's ok if they are touching, they won't stick together as long as they are already frozen), separating each layer with a piece of parchment or paper towel. Seal container and freeze until needed. Noodles will maintain their freshness for about 2 months while in the freezer.
To boil, place noodles directly from freezer into boiling water. The cooking times should be exactly the same as when boiling fresh pasta.
Note: I did try to pre-cook the noodles (for 7 min) before I froze them, just to see what they would cook and taste like. They do cook in half the time, but their taste isn’t very fresh. So I would avoid pre-cooking, you're not really saving any time.
For those who liked baked pasta – cooked pasta smothered in sauce, topped with cheese and baked until hot and bubbly, our tasty homemade egg noodles will hold up perfectly for the job!
Pre-cook the noodles until halfway done, about 7 minutes (so they are still a bit chewy in the middle). Immediately drain and place in an ice water bath for about 3 minutes. By removing all the heat from the noodles, it will stop the cooking process (if you let them boil until fully cooked, the noodles may turn out more mushy after baking in the oven for an additional hour). Lay noodles on a clean towel and blot all the excess moisture off them.
Place noodles in a greased baking dish and top with sauce, ensuring noodles are completely covered. Bake as required (at least 30 minutes to ensure noodles will be completely cooked througout), then top with cheese and broil until golden brown. Yummm!!!