The Secret to Great Pasta Sauces

When boiling pasta, don't drown it in water—use only as much as you need to submerge it comfortably, Chowhound user fame da lupo says in a recent Cookware discussion. A smaller ratio of water to pasta ensures plenty of starch in the cooking water. That's important, since a little of this starchy water enriches and adds flavor to pasta sauces and helps them stick to the noodles.

Drain the pasta when it's slightly underdone, fame da lupo says, and reserve half a cup of the cooking water. Then add pasta and water to your sauce, and finish cooking for two or three minutes. Remember to slightly undersalt the sauce, since the pasta water contains salt.

Here's a video showing pan-cooked pasta, in which most of the pasta-cooking starch is preserved in the final dish.

Discuss: Pasta Pentola Recs?

Photo of pasta in starchy pasta water from Shutterstock