This Is Why You Should Stop Draining Pasta In The Sink

Apr 09, 2018 by apost team

Pasta is one of the most basic meals you first learn how to prepare. The only thing simpler than boiling water and heating up noodles is making a bowl of cereal or a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. It’s Food 101 basically.

However, many people are doing one step that is totally screwing up the pasta making process. No, we’re not talking about excluding salt from the water (though that is a major thing people often forget to do) but how you drain your noodles.

Almost every American household owns a colander to drain their pasta, and chances are they dump the entire contents of the pot into it, which food experts say you should stop doing!

According to Bon Appetit, the cloudy pasta water, or "liquid gold” as they call it, is extremely useful and important for creating the perfect plate of pasta. This culinary secret is going to take your pasta sauce to the next level and make you wish you had never thrown out perfectly good pasta water before.

During the cooking process, the starch from the noodles mixes with the water, giving it a murky and less-than-desirable appearance. However, the leftover starch and salt swimming in this water is the ideal addition to any hot fats you may add to your pasta.

The water acts as an emulsifier and creates a smooth and silky sauce. Say goodbye to tomato sauce that seems to settle at the bottom of the pot and oil mixtures that won’t stick to your perfectly al dente noodles. Starch water is the key! All it takes is a ladle of this magical pasta potion to achieve perfectly thickened sauces. This will help you avoid adding additional starches and cream, which would alter the taste of your dish.

Many professional chefs have been using this method in their kitchens for a long time, and Serious Eats even conducted an experiment to see if people could tell the difference between a regular sauce and one thickened with pasta water. I bet you can guess which one won.

Here are a few tips you should know when working with leftover pasta water:

  1. Don’t add oil. It will just make the pasta greasy and the sauce will not stick to the noodles.

  2. Make sure you’re using the right amount of water when cooking your pasta. The recommended amount is three liters of water to every 250 grams of pasta.

  3. Instead of dumping the contents of the pot into the colander, use tongs to remove the pasta from the pot so you can effectively save your pasta water.

The same tip applies to cooking other starchy foods like brown rice or lentils. Try adding some of the leftover water to your sauces or stews for an amazing taste and consistency.

Do you think you’ll try this tip? Let your friends and family know that they should be saving their pasta water by passing this article their way!