We can’t resist a good "life hack", especially ones that promise to elevate our dinner game to the next level…
But when cooking methods for pasta are involved, we admit we’ve been traditionalists for the longest time. After all, what could be better than the simple perfection of boiling it, saucing it, and digging in?
While we’re all adventurous with our pasta orders at restaurants, many of us play it safe at home, sticking to the classic cooking techniques and basic toppings.
That said, we never leave a saucepan lid unturned here at Three Farm Daughters. So, in search of ways to achieve the ultimate pasta-eating experience, we tried every unconventional cooking hack in the book: And let me tell you, we tapped into a whole new world of pasta mastery we can't wait to share with you.
From preparation pointers that bring out the most unbelievable flavor in your dishes, to some weird methods that help you unlock the speediest weeknight meals in a snap - you're about to enjoy pasta a whole lot more!
Consider yourself a serious pasta aficionado? You might want to hold onto your elbows: These 7 genius hacks are about to take your pasta-cooking habits to the next level…
level up your pasta game
Just when you thought your favorite food couldn't get more delicious, these 7 untraditional techniques are here to change the way you pasta forever...
pasta hack #7:
boil pasta in broth for a bonus flavor boost
We all know the importance of salting pasta water so your finished dishes taste perfectly seasoned - but did you know this same theory can be used to instantly give your noodles a flavor boost as they cook? Boiling your pasta shapes in a boldly-seasoned broth instead of plain water gives them an unbelievable flavor, allowing the flavorful cooking stock to absorb all the way through to the middle of each delicious bite.
To try it for yourself and infuse all your pasta recipes with even more flavor, bring a pot of broth to the boil and cook your pasta as usual. For the best results, use veggie or chicken stock to elevate pastas that are paired with delicate sauces or lighter toppings. When it comes to heartier dishes like our gutsy Rotini Bolognese or Cavatappi with Short Rib Ragu, go big with a bold beef stock to echo the rich, meaty flavors of the sauce throughout each pasta morsel.
pasta hack #6:
toast dry pasta before boiling for a rich, roasty flavor
As strange as it sounds, this technique of toasting pasta before using it in dishes is highly prized in many cultures - think Mediterranean rice pilaf with its toasted orzo, or Mexican fideos soup with its golden flecks of angel hair! If you’ve never experienced the nutty, deep flavor you can add to pasta by toasting it in a frypan or the oven, you’re in for a treat.
While all our pastas here at Three Farm Daughters naturally boast a rich, wheaty flavor right out of the box, this simple technique unlocks a whole extra dimension of roasty flavor profiles that must be tasted to be believed!
To try out this technique it at home, simply toss your uncooked dry pasta in a frying pan with a splash of olive oil and toast over medium heat until the pasta turns golden and takes on a rich toasty flavor. Alternatively, spread your uncooked noodles on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes at 350°F. Give it a go with our Zucchini & Thyme Penne or Vegan Cannellini Bean & Arugula Rotini recipes!
pasta hack #5:
make your own crispy pasta chips for dipping!
Up your regular chip-and-dip game with this delicious twist on pasta and sauce… In snack-form! Perfect for parties, movie nights or those days when you want to treat yourself, all you’ll need is an oven tray or air fryer to turn out a batch of dippable crunchy pasta chips.
To make them at home, simply parboil pasta to al dente, then drain and toss in olive oil, Italian herbs and parmesan cheese. Bake for 20 minutes at 400°F until crisp and golden, or air fry for around 10 minutes. Allow to cool slightly, then dip your pasta chips into our Fresh Tomato Sauce for a taste sensation that'll have everyone coming back for more!
pasta hack #4:
elevate your creamy dishes with pasta cooked in milk
As we mentioned above, pasta absorbs a whole lot of flavor when it’s boiling - and by switching out some of the water in your pasta cooking pot with milk or cream, you’ll impart a richness and velvety texture to your pasta before your creamy alfredo or carbonara sauce even comes into the equation!
To experience the pinnacle in indulgence, bring equal parts salted water and milk to the boil in a large saucepan, being careful not to let the pot bubble over as it comes to a simmer. Boil your pasta until al dente, then hold back 1 cup of the cooking liquid before draining the pasta. When folding through your cream-based sauce, add a couple of spoonfuls of the milky, starchy cooking water back into the pasta to bring everything together in a decadently multi-dimensional cream sauce! Take our Italian Sausage Carbonara to the next level with this heavenly hack perfect for all your favorite creamy pastas.
pasta hack #3:
Make a Pasta Risotto for a Fun Twist on the original
Ever tried your hand at making a risotto at home? This classic Italian dish is a show-stopper, but the traditional version made with arborio rice requires a lot of stirring, patience, and dedication to get the texture just right. Why not try a delicious risotto recipe made with a small pasta like Three Farm Daughters Elbows in place of the rice, for an easy and flavorful pasta-based version?
To try it for yourself, just follow along with the usual risotto steps - toasting the pasta in olive oil, onion and garlic, then slowly simmering whilst adding ladlefuls of hot broth. Cook gently, stirring occasionally until the pasta is tender and all the broth is absorbed. The starches in pasta behave in a similar fashion as arborio rice, resulting in a deceptively creamy dish that’s full of traditional flavor. Just add butter and parmesan and you’re done!
pasta hack #2:
Cut Down On Dishes With a One-Pot, No-Boil Baked Pasta
For those nights when you're craving a cozy baked pasta but want to skip that time-consuming boiling step, you can actually cook dry pasta in the oven, right in its own sauce! By combining plenty of liquid for the pasta to absorb with dry noodles and flavorings, all it takes is a quick bake for an easy one-pot meal.
To make it, simply pop your uncooked pasta in a large casserole dish and top with your sauce and cheeses of choice. Pour over some boiling water so your pasta has plenty of liquid to absorb, then cover tightly with foil to generate some steam. This helps your pasta stay moist throughout the baking time and cook to al dente perfection. Then bake the lot, stirring halfway through and adding a splash more water if the dish starts looking dry, until the noodles are tender. Try it at your place with our fan-favorite Baked Spinach Artichoke Dip Pasta recipe.
pasta hack #1:
Cook Pasta in Your Trusty Slow Cooker
We’re all for time-saving tips that make weeknight dinners easier, and this unexpected hands-off method couldn’t be simpler. Believe it or not, you can indeed recruit your trusty slow cooker to create a one-step, one-pot pasta that cooks in its own sauce!
To make pasta in a slow cooker, simply add your dry noodles, sauce, and any other ingredients you fancy to the bowl of your slow cooker. Add a cup of boiling water to ensure there’s plenty of liquid for the pasta to absorb, then cover and cook on low for 2-3 hours, or until the pasta is cooked to al dente.
No more standing by the stove or making a separate pan of sauce - with this zero-fuss shortcut, you’ll have a hearty one-pot meal ready to serve when you walk in the door! Try it with Three Farm Daughters Rotini - its firm texture and dynamic shape holds up exceptionally well in the slow cooker.
How game are you to try some of these pasta cooking hacks? Give 'em a try and let us know how it went by tagging us on Instagram!
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