The Clever Trick To Upgrade Your Pasta Sauce

Since Americans learned about pasta from Italian immigrants in the late 1800s, per PBS, we've been on the hunt for the perfect pasta sauce. Of course, there are a multitude of jarred versions for the ultimate quick dinner, and Tasting Table readers have made their opinions clear on the best store-bought pasta sauce (Prego reigns supreme). It's easy to use these jars as your base and jazz them up with fresh vegetables, ground meat, greens, or an acidic component, like lemon juice, per One Good Thing, but making your own pasta sauce at home is a whole different ball game.

There are over 600 types of pasta (and counting), each with their own history, traditions, and tricks for pairing them with the most perfect-tasting sauce. For a sweet component that doesn't involve added sugar, The Chopping Block suggests using peeled or diced carrots, dried apricots, or raisins. You can even try making pasta sauce with leftover soup or canned anchovies for a full-bodied flavor. 

But for a unique twist on simple pasta sauce, try this cheesy trick.

Start with feta or mozzarella liquid

If you've got a block of feta or a ball of mozzarella in your cheese drawer, you have a key ingredient to whip up an easy, delicious pasta sauce. Serious Eats founder Ed Levine explains that if you pour some of the liquid from the cheese container into the pot you cooked your pasta in, you can make an impromptu pasta sauce by then adding little pieces of cheese. Levine advises finishing off the sauce with cherry tomatoes or corn off the cob for a fresh flavor. Bon Appétit is also a fan of the salty, tangy water, claiming you can use it on dressings or to brine poultry in addition to making sauce.

It turns out that feta brine is actually considered by some to be liquid gold in the culinary world, so you may want to reconsider throwing it in the trash. Aside from using it to marinate chicken, you can use it to brine vegetables, tofu, or even small pieces of fruit for salads, according to Food 52. Or, to give your grains (like quinoa) a Mediterranean taste, simply cook them in feta liquid. 

Mozzarella water seems to be less widely used, but if you want to incorporate a liquid version of the cheese into your recipes, Miyoko offers a vegan pourable mozzarella (via Veg News). While this new product looks perfect for making pizza, why not try using it for pasta sauce?