Pasta is truly a wonderful thing. It's inexpensive, versatile, delicious, and quick and easy to cook. There are two good ways I've found to deal with cooked pasta:
* As soon as it's done cooking, drain it. Then put it back into the pan, stir in a Tbl. of olive oil, and put the lid on. This will allow it to sit for up to 30 minutes (after which it will probably be getting cold, anyway) without turning gelatinous.
* OR - pour cooked pasta into the strainer and run cold water over it. This will instantly stop it from further cooking and keep it from getting gluey. It can just sit in the sink as long as it needs to, and when it is ready to serve, run hot water over it for a minute or so. This will freshen it up nicely.
I just discovered the most wonderful and simple spaghetti pie recipe for leftover spaghetti and sauce. It's so great because I always make lots of sauce, and usually end up saving it and just boiling more spaghetti whenever I'm trying to use up the sauce. This isn't quite leftovers - it's technically a new meal, because the spaghetti is new, but I hate doing this twice in one week, which counts as Serving The Same Meal Too Soon.
Leftover spaghetti sauce*
Leftover spaghetti (or you can boil up some new stuff!) - say about 8-oz
2 Tbl. butter
1 cup cottage cheese
1 cup mozzarella cheese
Heat the spaghetti & pour it into the bottom of a 9x9 pan. Add the butter and stir until it melts. Add the eggs and stir thoroughly. Spread the cottage cheese over this; sprinkle some of the mozzarella and Parmesan cheese over; pour the sauce over the top. Top it with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan and bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes. For fun, you can split the ingredients and layer more intricately, like lasagne. Michael and I both love lasagne, and we both agree that this is better still.
* I 'make' my own sauce (quotations used advisedly because where I grew up, from scratch meant you grew it) from opening a can of tomato sauce (say, 14-oz) and putting it on medium heat. I add raw ground beef (approximately 1 lb. per 14-oz can) and let it cook in the sauce, adding italian spices such as oregano and thyme. The sauce simmers away happily for about half an hour or so, or until the meat is thoroughly cooked and the sauce is thickened. Voila! Hearty, delicious spaghetti sauce.