Use Leftover Water From Boiled Corn To Cook Flavorful Pasta

An impressive pasta dish doesn't require a surplus of ingredients, nor does it necessarily mean working with luxurious additions. Work smarter (not harder) by giving boiled noodles a massive makeover with the help of corn water. The byproduct of boiling fresh cobs, corn water is a cloudy, straw-colored liquid that's just as full of nutrients as it is with flavor. Dumping it down the drain would be a shame, especially when you could reuse it to boil better-tasting pasta.

Along with being a sustainable way to maximize ingredients to their fullest, repurposing corn water also makes sense when used to improve pasta. As cobs braise, they release starch that can prime pasta for binding to sauces more effectively. Corn kernels also release a fair bit of flavor into the liquid, which can impart complexity when used to cook pasta.

Essentially, corn water can create a foundation of flavor for pasta as it boils. Like a salty and buttery, corn-infused broth, the liquid is a delicate balance between sweetness from the juicy corn kernels and savoriness thanks to the earthy, almost woodsy cobs. Because it gives noodles an element of richness, cooking pasta in corn water is a must try.

No matter the pasta dish, don't shy away from using corn water

There are a few ways to go about cooking pasta in luscious corn water. Depending on the meal you're making, you can easily do so immediately after you've removed cobs from the bubbling pot. But, if pasta isn't on the menu, you can also save the leftover liquid for another time. Just let the corn water cool before pouring it into an airtight container and freezing.

Regardless of the shape, size, or intended sauce pairing, any pasta can benefit from being cooked in the leftover water that was used to boil corn. After all, the liquid is capable of imparting subtle flavor onto which others can be built and enhanced. That said, you can definitely lean into the corn-forward profile and whip up a sweet corn risotto or creamy pastina. Likewise, a kernel-laden fettuccine Alfredo or sweet corn cacio e pepe would also fare well, much like a vibrant, corn-speckled pasta salad.

If you still have leftover liquid after cooking pasta it can be repurposed even further. Whisk it into pan sauces, mix it into dough, use it as a poaching liquid, or soak dried beans in it. Whatever you do, don't dump corn water until you've at least used it to cook a nice big bowl of pasta — and then some!