Pasta Boiled, Check! Sauce Made, Check! Throw Off The Water, STOP! August 24, 2015

Exotic… Scrumptious… Exciting… Delicious… Saucy… Romantic… Italian… Pasta. And the best part, it is extremely easy to make it yourself! With pasta being so readily available outside, a little basil, some fresh juicy tomatoes and cream being so easily accessible all that’s left to do is wearing that chef’s hat and whipping up that dream meal. But, as easy as it sounds, there are a few things that need to be addressed so that you can better your pasta. If you are a pasta lover, or if you simply love cooking, then you must read on…

The Reason You Should Never Throw Away Pasta Water:

You have probably heard people say that you shouldn’t throw away water in which rice or veggies are boiled. Of course, that blanching liquid is loaded with healthy goodness, vitamins and minerals. But just as you are told to save that water, it is quite a good idea to save the water you boil your pasta in. Only that the reason is a more palate friendly one.

The saved water forms the base of a great sauce. If you have found yourself wondering how the restaurant sauce is so amazingly creamy and juicy, this is your answer. A little secret, to a great sauce. The water you boil the pasta in contains starch. This automatically aids in giving your sauce the thickness and creaminess it needs. Just keep two things in mind while you use this trick: a) you must remember that this water is salty, since you would have added salt while boiling your pasta, so add lesser salt to your pasta and b) you must add this water towards the end of the cook of your sauce.

Now that you have the key to making a yummy, restaurant quality sauce, let us cover a few myths, so that by the end, you are more confident about cooking the best pasta you possibly can.

7 Misconceptions Of Cooking Pasta:

While these are not matters of life and death, using these, as guidelines will definitely help you cook your favorite pasta much better. So it is worth taking note.

1. Fresh Pasta Is Of A Superior Quality:

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Well, most things in this world are better fresh, except pasta. Fresh pasta is one thing, that isn’t better than the dried, packaged pasta. Not to say that it is bad, but it is different, and its uses are different too. You could use fresh pasta to make ravioli or may be even lasagna. But if you are using penne or spaghetti or linguine, you don’t have to fret while using the packaged pasta, because, trust me, it is just as good, minus all the hassle of making it.

2. Adding Oil While You Are Boiling The Pasta:

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While many believe that just the way you add oil to the noodles while you boil them, you must add oil to the pasta as well, so that it doesn’t stick to each other. It is not the right way to do it. Pasta is not as sticky as noodles, besides adding oil will only make it slippery, making it really hard for the sauce to stick to the pasta.

3. Draining The Water Completely Post The Boil:

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You know why now, don’t you? For a better sauce of course!

4. Rinsing The Pasta:

Unless you wish to make a cold pasta salad, this one is a big no-no. But if you plan to serve the pasta cold, you must give it a quick rinse, by all means, so that there is no residual starch to make the pasta all gummy. You could also drizzle some olive oil before you toss it into the refrigerator.

5. Adding Pasta To Boiling Water:

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You need not bring the water to a full boil before you add the pasta to it. Instead, try this: Add pasta to water that is almost coming to a boil, stir, and once the pasta and water has boiled, turn off the heat and cover it. The pasta will cook the same way and in the same amount of time, with a lot less wastage of energy.

6. The Throw At The Wall Test:

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An old practice suggests throwing cooked pasta at a wall, and if it sticks, it indicates well-cooked pasta. Not true, plus you will have to gather your dustpan, and clean up after. Not worth the double work!

7. You Could Use Any Sauce With Any Pasta:

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If you believe in the American way, you could by all means use any sauce with any pasta. But if you believe in going down the classic Italian road, I suggest you read up which pasta goes with which sauce. Apparently, they take into consideration the weight, the size, and the texture of the pasta while combining the sauce. I think that is what sets the Italians apart. Food with thought?

Now that you’ve got your techniques in place, all I can say is “FeliceMangiare” (HAPPY EATING!).