Who doesn’t do this? You’ve finished cooking your pasta and then you pour all the water you’ve used immediately down the drain. It’s something a lot of us do but really shouldn’t, because pasta water is actually really useful.
Creamy pasta dishes
In Italian cuisine, pasta water is usually reused to help make the sauce. When your pasta is cooked, it would be best to drain it over a separate container or to scoop a few ladles of the stuff out before you throw it away.
Put the pasta back in the saucepan, add the sauce and, depending on how much you are making, add some of the pasta water as well. Stir everything thoroughly so that everything is combined, and the pasta absorbs the sauce really well. Thanks to the addition of some of this water, everything will now be a lot creamier.
A great example of this is the quintessential pasta dish known as carbonara. The starchy water from the cooked pasta is pivotal if you want to get this Italian classic right. The idea is to emulsify the egg yolk, the pasta water, the cheese and the rendered fat from the guanciale (an Italian cured meat similar to bacon or pancetta) in order to obtain the right consistency to coat your spaghetti with.
This trick works with all sauces, whether it’s carbonara, Bolognese, cream sauces and more!
Water and pesto
As for sauces made from herbs, such as pesto, it’s important to make sure that the water isn’t too hot, as it can burn the herbs and cause their taste to become slightly bitter.
You could also mix pesto with some pasta water in order to make more of it. Sprinkle some parmesan over the finished dish and Bon Appétit!