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Why You Should Always Save Your Pasta Water

It will come in handy later
Valerio Pardi/Shutterstock

Though there are many ways to make dinner at home feel like a restaurant, perhaps the best way is by making sure the food is cooked perfectly. So if you’re making pasta, don’t strain out all the water. Save some — it’s going to make your pasta taste like you just ordered from an authentic Italian restaurant.

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Before we even get to the part about using the pasta water, it should be noted that while buying generic dry pasta will save you money, if you’re really going for authenticity and taste, buy your noodles from an Italian deli or from a local shop that sells name-brand pastas. Better yet, you can make the pasta from scratch using little more than a few pantry staples and some eggs.

Once you’ve cooked your sauce and it’s simmering on one burner while your large pot of salty water is boiling on another, it’s time to put your noodles in. After you’ve cooked your pasta to al dente firmness, strain your pasta, but save at least 1 cup of the starchy pasta water to add to your sauce.

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Why is this an important step? Well, the starches that came off the pasta are going to marry your pasta to your sauce. Basically, they will thicken the sauce and help it adhere better to the noodles. It’s a restaurant secret every home cook should know, and trust us, you’ll notice the difference. That’s not the only tip that will make your Italian dishes exquisite. Here’s how you’re making your pasta wrong and how to make it perfectly every time.