Whatever you do, don't dump it down the drain!

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yellow tomato spaghetti with buttered almond breadcrumbs
Try Rachael Ray's a href=u0022https://www.rachaelraymag.com/recipe/yellow-tomato-spaghetti-with-buttered-almond-breadcrumbsu0022Yellow Tomato Spaghetti with Buttered Almond Breadcrumbs/a
| Credit: Photography by Joseph De Leo

First, get the ratios right

Rach recommends cooking 1 lb. of pasta in at least 6 quarts of salted boiling water (it should taste like sea water). The salt flavors the water, and in turn your pasta, and also helps prevent the noodles from sticking together. 

Mix it into your sauce

Don't dump the water after draining your penne. The pasta releases some of its starch as it cooks, and that salty, starchy water makes a great thickener for sauces. While the pasta is boiling, heat your sauce in a separate pot. Add the drained pasta and toss. Add cooking water by the 1/4 cupful, tossing until you get the creamy texture you're looking for. 

Save some for later

Just because the pasta's gone doesn't mean the cooking is over. Freeze leftover pasta water in ice cube trays. Use the cubes to add body to brothy soups or in pan sauces instead of stock.