The #1 Kitchen trick: You can use your pasta water for this…

“Don’t throw away the pasta water, you can still use it!” You’ve probably heard this phrase before. But what do you actually need pasta water for and what’s so special about it? This article is all about pasta water!

What makes pasta water so special?

When cooking pasta, you will notice that the water becomes cloudy the longer you cook the pasta. This is due to the excess starch content that the pasta releases. And this is also the reason why you should keep some of the water before you drain it. The starch acts as a binding agent and forms an emulsion together with fat, such as butter or oil.

This emulsion pulls together all the elements in a sauce, for example, and helps to create a creamy sauce that doesn’t get too dry and coats the pasta better.

How to make the best pasta water

For the best possible pasta water, boil your pasta with plenty of water and salt the water generously. A tablespoon of sea salt is a good guideline. Use enough water so that all the pasta is covered by water during cooking. Depending on the size of your pot and the shape of the pasta, three to four liters will be enough to cook one pound of pasta. Keep stirring the pasta in the saucepan to make sure nothing sticks to the bottom.

How and when to store pasta water

Start saving some pasta water every time you cook pasta. This will make the process a routine and break the habit of disposing of all the liquid down the drain. You can now use the pasta water to dilute oil- or butter-based sauces such as carbonara. Alternatively, you can use it to heat up a jar of tomato sauce
Wait until the pasta is almost cooked before removing the water to ensure you get the most starchy water. It’s best to save one cup of pasta water per pound of pasta. There are different methods to store the water. It is best to use a measuring cup to measure the pasta water. If you are cooking spaghetti, you can also use pasta tongs to remove the pasta from the water as soon as it is al dente. You can then simply store the water in a sealable container.

How to use pasta water

Follow these steps if you want to reuse pasta water:

Step number one: first decide whether the dish needs pasta water. You can tell by the consistency. If your sauce is too thick, for example, it makes sense to add pasta water. For the best possible sauce, add a sip of hot, freshly boiled pasta water to the sauce and stir thoroughly. Repeat this until the desired consistency is achieved. Note that the sauce will continue to thicken when serving.

The only trick with pasta water is knowing how much to use. However, this is something you will only learn through practice. After preparing several dishes, you will develop a sense of when to add more pasta water and exactly how much water you need. With this knowledge, you can prepare first-class pasta dishes at home.

What else can you use pasta water for?

Pasta water is not only suitable for refining sauces. You can also use it to water your plants and provide them with valuable minerals. Pasta water also works well in soups and stews. You can also add it to bread and pizza dough. Last but not least: If you don’t want to waste the pasta water, you can use it to wash your dishes. Have fun trying it out!