When Can You Cook Dry Pasta Right in the Sauce, and When Not

One of the main aspects of food writing is identifying recipes and methods that will allow you to get food to the table and into your mouth as quickly as possible and with a minimum of dirty dishes. This is especially important if you are talking about food that you need to eat on a weekday, i.e. on the night when efficiency is required. Introduce the concept of making pasta directly into the accompanying sauce. It can be done? Should this be done?

The answer is complex. You can and you cannot; you should and shouldn’t. It all depends on the sauce.

Do not cook dried pasta in a jar with canned sauce.

Dried pasta absorbs water and produces starch, and the sauce in jars does not have enough moisture to do so. Adding dried pasta to the prepared marina will make the already thick sauce thick, resulting in an unevenly cooked marmalade paste and tomato porridge. Do not do it.

Long pasta should not be cooked directly in thick sauce.

While tomato sauce can be brought to a boil, I don’t recommend it. Because of its viscosity (and coarseness), marinara boils unevenly and splashes and splashes at boiling point, sending a scalding spray of sauce onto your apron and (possibly) your delicate flesh.

But the boiling liquid is what it takes to quickly loosen the spaghetti strands so that they flip over and fall completely into the pot. Delaying this softening process means that the bottom half of the spaghetti strand will sit in the hot marinar for a few minutes longer than the top half, resulting in uneven pasta cooking, so choose short straws or other smaller pasta shapes if you want to cook in one. pot. (You can, of course, break the spaghetti or linguini in half, but the Italians will yell at you, and so can I.)

You must use a recipe or method designed to cook in a single pot.

With all that said (or printed), you can cook pasta right in the sauce if you add a little moisture. America’s Test Kitchen has a simple one-pot penne recipe that uses a combination of 3 cups of water, 28 ounces of shredded tomatoes, and 3 3/4 cups of penne; my no-boil baked pasta uses 2 8-ounce cups of milk of pasta and one 28-ounce can of tomatoes; and Martha Stewart’s famous pasta dumps the cans completely in one pot to use a combination of 12 ounces of grape tomatoes, 12 ounces of linguine, and 4 1/2 cups of water (along with some other ingredients for flavor).

You should experiment a little

Can you add enough water to the canned sauce to make it suitable for making pasta in one pot? Sure, but the amount you need to add will depend on which sauce and pasta you are using. Different brands of sauces contain different amounts of water, and different brands of pasta release different amounts of starch, so a little trial and error is required. Start with a cup or two of the added water and add more as the paste cooks, absorbs moisture, and releases starch.

Or, you can simply boil it in salted water and prepare the sauce separately, which gives you more control over each ingredient. Dry it when it is a little bit al dente (with a little oil to make it stick). You will need to clean up another (1) pot, but pasta pans are not that difficult, especially if you have a dishwasher.

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