The traditional way of cooking pasta calls for 6 quarts of water per pound of pasta, but if you're willing to do some stirring, you can make pasta with just a fraction of the water. You'll use less energy this way, too, because the smaller amount of water comes to a boil much more quickly. Plus, pasta cooked using this technique actually makes its own sauce. It just might be the most frugal recipe of all time!
Time Required: 20 minutes
What You Need
- A soup pot or stockpot wide enough to accommodate the length of your pasta.
- 1 pound of uncooked pasta.
- 2 quarts of cold water.
- 2 teaspoons of Kosher salt.
- About 1 tablespoon of olive oil or butter.
- Fill a broad-bottomed stock pot with 2 quarts of cold water. Add 2 teaspoons of Kosher salt.
- Add 1 pound of uncooked pasta to the salted water. Bring the water to a boil, stirring the noodles frequently so they don't stick together.
- Once the water boils, lower heat to a simmer and continue cooking, still stirring frequently, for another 10 minutes or until the pasta is al dente, or tender but still firm to the bite.
- Drain the remaining water, toss pasta with olive oil or butter and serve with your desired sauce. Or you can use the thickened pasta water as a sauce (see below).
- Make sure your pot is wide enough to accommodate the length of your pasta noodles.
- This technique does require a lot of stirring to keep the pasta from sticking, so you won't want to go wandering off while it cooks.
- The starchiness of the leftover pasta water makes it great for adjusting the consistency of whatever sauce you're using. But you can also make a sauce from the pasta liquid — just add a little bit of butter or olive oil to it, ladle it over the pasta and serve.
- If you want to use the pasta water, instead of draining it you can use a pair of tongs to remove the cooked pasta — assuming you're cooking long pasta noodles. For other pasta shapes, like shells or macaroni, you can lift the cooked pasta out of the water using a ravioli skimmer (compare prices).