We’ve all made some sort of pasta at least a few times in our lives. Spaghetti, penne, rigatoni, macaroni-the choices are certainly endless when it comes to those amazing pasta choices! In most cases, we all make pasta relatively the same way as well. What a lot of people aren’t aware of; however, is the fact that pasta water is one of the best ingredients you can use in your pasta sauce! Read on to learn why you should save your pasta water to use when you are also making sauce for the dish.
Draining the water: what you don’t know
Most people tend to forget about the pasta water once their form of pasta is done cooking. In most cases, we boil the water, add the pasta, and then wait for it to cook properly. We then strain the pasta through a colander, letting the water escape down the sink drain. Making pasta for dinner is one of the easiest dishes you could make! Even a beginner can handle boiling a pot of water and adding dry spaghetti noodles.
However, even this very easy task has a couple of tricks we don’t all know about. Saving the hot pasta water just happens to be one of them. But many people have no idea why pasta water can help enhance the flavor of your pasta. Instead, they unknowingly dump all that flavored water right down the drain.
When you boil your pasta, the leftover liquid has more to it than just plain old water. The pasta will give the water a salty, starchy flavoring that can be used in your sauce recipe. Sure, it may look a little dirty or murky from the pasta, but this water will be a key component for your dinner. You won’t believe how good your sauce will come out when you use some of the pasta water to enhance the flavor!
What to do with the pasta water
When you’re cooking pasta on the stove, you must wait for the water to come to a boil before adding your pasta of choice. Then, keep close track of the time. How long you cook the pasta will depend on the type of pasta you use. For example, angel hair pasta only takes three to four minutes to fully cook while lasagna noodles can take anywhere from 12 to 15 minutes. Pay close attention when you are cooking pasta, especially if you don’t like soggy noodles in your dish!
Once your noodles are done cooking, carefully take the pot off of the stove. Set a colander in the sink to use for draining the pasta. Then, use a fork or a pair of tongs to move the pasta into the colander. This way, you will be able to keep as much of the pasta water as you would like.
Many people like to reserve around a cup of pasta water to use for their sauce. Once you have the amount of water that you want in your pot, add your sauce of choice. Stir the sauce before adding the pasta back to the pot. Finally, carefully coat the pasta with the sauce.
What does the water do for your pasta dish? The starch left in the pasta water will add a silky, rich flavor to your sauce. It will also help thicken the sauce. This, in turn, helps the sauce stick to the noodles better. The salt that is left in the water will also add some extra flavor to your sauce.
Enjoying your pasta dish
This simple trick is what will separate an average pasta dish from an extraordinary one. You’ll feel like you are getting an expensive dish from your favorite Italian restaurant when you try this method. Best of all, it is simple and free! It’s perfect for a variety of red sauces, such as mushroom marinara or bolognese. Try it the next time you make pasta for dinner- you’ll be shocked at what you have been missing this whole time!