14232416_644181959083441_9086273294542237012_nLeftovers…they CAN be one of your most delicious dishes. Do you ever have leftover sauced Spaghetti? I hope you said yes because If you do not do this already I will now become your new best friend.  Reheating leftover spaghetti in the microwave should be a criminal offense.   Maybe that’s harsh, and….maybe not. The ultimate goal of eating is to keep the body fueled and functioning.  Why make everything quinoa puffs and kale? There’s no shame in making food that tastes exceptional.  Nature gave us taste buds that help us to enjoy    the various foods and dishes that mankind has developed over our history.  A bowl of leftover spaghetti can become an even better dish (and I know you loved it when you made it) the next day, with a little help..and I mean, a little.  First of all,  I do research a dish before I blog my own version of it, you can’t make this fresh.  Food undergoes chemical/physical changes and for some reason, if you fry the spaghetti in a pan after you’ve just cooked the dish is a fail.  Epic fail.  You’ve wasted a pound of good spaghetti. Your spaghetti needs to sit at least one night in the fridge and I think the texture and taste actually get better if you make it a few days after it’s first been made.

Some history…My Mom and countless other  ItalianAmerican mothers or fathers and grandparents have made this for generations.  It’s what we do with our pasta/macaroni leftovers.  Every bite of this dish is a trip back into my childhood kitchen in Staten Island, NYC where my mother reigned as queen of her kitchen.  Ever miss a loved one who has passed on?  Make a dish that connects you to them and you’ll never eat without them ..ever!!

So how do you give a “recipe” for a dish that is really already cooked?  here’s how…Simply take your leftover spaghetti and let it come to room temperature.  In a heavy wide cast iron skillet preferably, add 2 tbs of olive oil.  No measurements here because…you’ll never know how much you have, they are leftovers!!! In the pictures on here I used just under 1/2 lb of cooked, sauced left over spaghetti.  Add this to the pan and make sure you hear a strong sizzle. DO NOT MOVE THE SPAGHETTI AROUND!~!  After 6 minutes sprinkle 2 tbs. of PLAIN ITALIAN BREADCRUMBS (no seasoning)over the top…mix that into the spaghetti. Flip the spaghetti and let this cook on that side for 5 minutes or longer, looking at it to see it there’s caramelizing going on. If not, let it be…this dish is not good if it’s simply heated in the pan. You want to see THIS:14202621_644181965750107_7802179799922542959_nsee those spaghetti strands getting toasty?  It’s fantastic.  Side note, do not confuse this with the other very popular Southern Italian or ItalianAmerican FRITTATA DI SPAGHETTI, or Spaghetti Frittata, Spaghetti Pie.  That has eggs beaten into it to create a pie like dish that can be cut into slices.  That’s for another blogpost.  If you have leftover meatballs, by all means, smash them into the pan too…continue to flip this spaghetti until it’s somewhat toasty on all sides.  Easy.  Now…how to serve it?  Grate lots of Pecorino Romano or Parmigiano over it and place a side of Ricotta next to it.  Sprinkle with peperoncino to taste and you are ready to eat.

SIDEBAR:  When saucing the spaghetti  on the day you actually made it DO NOT OVER SAUCE!!! Too much sauce creates a soft less crispy dish.  I know you’re saying you like the extra sauce, but hold off before storing the leftovers in the fridge.  It will never really caramelize if it’s too wet.  Happy Cooking…Happy Eating!



  1. Claudia

    This is very interesting – I will have to try this. When I first saw the title of your post (“pan-fried spaghetti”) I thought for sure it was going to be my favorite way to do leftover spaghetti but I see it’s not. My father taught me how to do it a different way when I was a kid and I’ve been making it like this ever since. The main difference is I do not sauce my leftover spaghetti – I put it in the fridge plain. I offer you my “recipe” for “Spaghetti the Good Way” (that’s how I always asked my father to make it for me — “Dad, can you make me spaghetti the good way?”)

    Melt a few pats of butter (olive oil can be used too) in a frying pan. Add your plain cooked leftover (like you said, it has to sit at least overnight in the fridge) to the pan and toss, making sure the butter/oil coats the spaghetti. Add freshly grated pecorino romano cheese and toss. Cook gently until some of the cheese starts to melt and coats the spaghetti. Add your spaghetti sauce and toss. Cover and let simmer until bubbly. Go ahead and throw on some more grated cheese while you’re waiting. Mmmmmmmm mmmmmmm good!

    1. A FOOD OBSESSION Post author

      love a food story like that..makes it TASTE better and mean so much more..thanks for sharing…i’ll try your way too…and yes, always throw on more grated cheese!! lol Ciao!

  2. Donna

    Rainy Friday night, fire in the fireplace, glass of champagne, hair in a bun and most comfy pair of sweats. I had leftover spaghetti and fried it right up! This is my new favorite leftover, almost like it more the the first run version of spaghetti!

  3. TomfromErie

    Dude, you nailed it! I have been cooking fried spaghetti (senza bread crumbs) for over 40 years. I think it is better than fresh, Everything you said is EXACTLY my experience with it. My 94 year old Aunt likes it left in the pan until it is a little burnt, some crunchy black on the ends. It is unbelievable. Wonder why this is not served in any restaurants?

    1. Ron

      Actual fried spaghetti! Most of what I see on Google seems to be ‘leftover spaghetti heated in a skillet with other ingredients.’ Thanks.

  4. Jean Bush

    I like to cook my Top Raman on for a minute or so, then drain & fry it up in a buttered pan. Yummy crisp texture. Have tons of left over spaghetti & thought I’d look up frying it. Found you. YES!

  5. John

    I’m not a cheese fan so to add a delicious edge to my leftover sauced spaghetti I lightly fry finely chopped bacon before adding the spaghetti. In a very hot frypan I stir it up a few times and then let it stand a minute or two at times, allowing the combination to slightly sear and ‘crisp-up’ in parts. Then serve a on a hot plate. Oh, those flavours !!!

  6. Ron Wiltse

    Actual fried spaghetti! Most of what I see on Google seems to be ‘leftover spaghetti heated in a skillet with other ingredients.’ Thanks.

    1. Denise

      Your Auntie is my hero! My mom would make this when I was a heck of a lot younger, it was my favorite leftovers ( we were a family of 5 girls so she cooked a lot of leftovers). I have been trying for years to make leftover fried spaghetti the right way and always screw it up. Mom used crisco, which I only use for fried spaghetti, and I do remember her letting it sit carefully in the cast iron pan, adding just a little bit of sauce. It was so nice and crispy in all the right areas! I guess I need a little more patience when I cook it. Looking forward to the next time we have some spaghetti left over !!!


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