Chefs say this salty and starchy water can be the perfect emulsifier that can add density for a delicious sauce.
You may have cooked pasta hundreds of times and chances are you've also drained the water in the sink without realizing just how important that opaque, starchy water really is. If you ask chefs about this, they'll tell you it's a grave mistake on your part, because you've just missed out on what they call "liquid gold". Not literally, of course, but the semi-liquid water has a great purpose to serve —one that could make your pasta 'Oh, so good!" No, we're not kidding!
Pasta, as you already know, is a starchy food. But when you cook it, some of the starch drains out into the water, giving it that cloudy look when you're done cooking it. Chefs say this salty and starchy water is the perfect emulsifier that can add density for a delicious sauce, as per Huffington Post. Now, you may think you're the greatest sauce maker in the world, chances are, you're quite wrong. What are we talking about? Picture this scenario. You've just finished cooking a beautiful plate of pasta, but you have a problem—the sauce you've made has just turned into a watery puddle along the outer edges of your plate. Suffice to say, it's not very appetizing.
The watery mess on the plate is the result of your pasta separating from the oil in the sauce. An emulsifier can stop that from happening. Emulsification is the process of blending two liquids that would otherwise repel each other, and that's the job the 'liquid gold' will take up for you. It can bind the water and the oil together and thicken your sauce to make for a perfect recipe, straight out of a restaurant. This does present a quandary—how do you remove water from cooked pasta without spilling it? It's easy. To begin with, you need to add less water than you would normally do, just enough to cover the pasta, because adding too much is entirely unnecessary anyway as it can dilute the starch you would get. Also, you should make sure to keep the pot stirring regularly so that the pasta doesn't stick together.
Then when you begin with making the sauce, simultaneously along with the pasta, you can scoop out a few spoons of the starchy liquid goodness into the pan. While the sauce will thin out in the beginning, the starch will slowly get absorbed into the dish. Now that you're done with the sauce, it's time to dump the rest of the liquid, right? Wrong! You can salvage the starchy water, cool it down, and save it in a freezer using ice cube trays. It can come in handy when you make stews, gravy, soups, or any sauces or dishes that need the delightful magic of a little emulsifier. Here's another pro-tip so that you come out with the perfect serving of pasta ever—don't rinse your pasta after you've taken it out of the water. This is because the pasta will still have starch on its surface and when retained, it blends well into your final dish, giving it better taste and texture.