Tips and Tricks: the best pasta sauce trick

July 5th, 2008 by katie

Tired of red sauces that seem to disappear, leaving you a bowl of naked, watery noodles on top of sauce?  Well, today I am your Italian grandmother and I will share my secret with you.  Any time you make a red sauce-even if your red sauce comes from a jar or can-your secret ingredient isa cup of cooking water from your noodle pot.  The cloudy water you are currently pouring down the drain is full of starch.  Starch = Glue.  So you are basically adding food glue to your pasta sauce.  Not only does that little bit of water have a ton of starch it should also be nicely salted, i.e. even more flavor.

Another important step is how you prepare the noodles themselves.  Once your noodles have cooked to al dente, use a measuring cup to reserve about a cup of pasta water before draining the pasta.  Then drain your pasta by pouring the entire pot into a colander in the sink. Allow the water to drain away and that’s itDo not butter, oil, or rinse your pasta in any way!  You’ll wash away all of that wonderful starch.  The pasta will be sticky, and difficult to separate, but that’s exactly what you want.  When you combine them with the sauce the liquid in the sauce will loosen and coat the noodles.

Now look at your sauce.  How much water does it need?  If it is thin, then just add a 1/4 cup. If it has really simmered for awhile, and gotten pretty chunky, feel free to add as much as necessary to thin the sauce to the level you would like. I also use this method to make a normal amount of sauce into “more sauce,” if guests show-up or if I am making extra lasagnas.  Continue simmering your sauce until it is the thickness you like.  Serve, and remember your Italian grandma loves you.

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About chaos

cha·os -noun 1. a condition or place of great disorder or confusion. My chaotic kitchen is the result of three kids, two adults, dog, cat, and fish, a food obsession, a wine drinking hobby, and too few hours in the day. Between trying to feed a family of five healthy, happy meals, watching my weight, saving my pennies, and staying partially sane I have picked up a few tricks along the way. So here they are: the very best tips, tricks, and recipes from my chaotic kitchen-to yours!

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