People aren’t born cooks. Even Jacques Pépin had to work at it. But years of toiling away in the kitchen produce skills, and skills usually lead to shortcuts. Cooking well doesn’t always mean spending long hours prepping — sometimes it just means cooking smarter.
Americans love pasta. According the National Pasta Association, Americans consume 6 billion pounds of pasta each year — more than any other country in the world. So it seems important that we all learn this easy pasta trick.
Anything from simple pasta with red sauce to the more elaborate spaghetti alla vongole tend to please a crowd, but our favorite kitchen trick is finishing pasta in the pan. It will take that bowl of spaghetti from so-so to so good in seconds.
Just boil your pasta as usual, in a large pot of salted water, per the package instructions, then heat up your sauce in a skillet. When the pasta is ready, drain the pasta, reserving about a cup of the pasta water. Then, toss the pasta with the sauce in the skillet on medium to medium-high heat. Add a splash or two of the pasta water (and maybe a tablespoon of butter, if you’re into that sort of thing) to bring everything together, and toss. Serve in a bowl with fresh herbs and grated cheese, and you’ll have a restaurant-quality pasta dish at home in a flash.
This quick pasta trick will leave your guests impressed and your family delighted. Even with the extra pan to wash, I doubt you will ever return to drowning your pasta in sauce straight from the microwave again!
Angela Carlos is the Cook Editor at The Daily Meal. Find her on Twitter and tweet @angelaccarlos.