Technique: Using Pasta Water to Make A Sauce

Garlic Pasta with a little crispy Prosciutto

You may see an instruction in some pasta recipes to 'reserve 1 cup of the pasta cooking water'. It's a fairly important technique - but I've often taken that instruction somewhat lightly, especially if there are other sauce oriented ingredients in the recipe.

But if you boil this technique down to it's essentials (my apologies for the subconscious pun), it becomes more evident that there's power in it.

In the case I'll describe here, there are just 4 ingredients: pasta, cheese, olive oil and a garlic clove - does water really count?  It's easy to add simple ingredients like crispy prosciutto or pancetta, herbs, or just keep it plain, as seen in the orechiette below.

  1. Put pasta water on to boil.
  2. Slice one clove of garlic. 
  3. Add two tablespoons olive oil to a very small pan or skillet. Add the garlic and cook over low heat for 5 minutes - do not let the garlic brown. Remove pan from heat. 
  4. Cook pasta per directions (I recommend Barilla and DeCecco brands). 
  5. While pasta is cooking, grate 1 to 2 ounces of good quality Parmesan or Romano.  
  6. Just before draining, reserve about one cup of the pasta water (I use a 2-cup Pyrex measuring cup, with a handle). 
  7. Drain pasta, return to pot or serving bowl. Add garlic, garlic oil and cheese. Mix. Then add about 1/2 cup of the reserved pasta water. Mix. Keep adding pasta water about 1/2 cup or less at a time, stirring, to create a nice saucy consistency. 

Garlic Pasta with Roasted Mushrooms, Cauliflower and Grilled Hot Italian Sausage

No comments:

Post a Comment


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...