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How-To

Use pasta water to adjust a sauce’s thickness

Fine Cooking Issue 46
Photo: Scott Phillips
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The next time you need to adjust the consistency of a pasta sauce or pesto and don’t want to open a can of chicken broth, try using a 1/2 cup or so of the pasta water. Italian chefs often add the starchy, salty water in the final stages of cooking a sauce the way a French chef might use cream. The water will thicken up loose, oil-based sauces (such as this lemon-caper pesto) and impart a mild, nutty flavor. You can also use it to thin a heavy cream sauce or stretch out a marinara.

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