The Surprising Sauce That's Perfect For Your Pasta

If you haven't been paying attention to the food world and the many tricks and secrets chefs have revealed over recent years, then you might not know there are some hard and steadfast rules to pasta sauce. Just as you should salt your pasta water well and reserve some of the water back after cooking your pasta, there are things you should always do when cooking your pasta sauce.

Per J. Kenji López-Alt at Serious Eats, you should always heat your sauce separately; then add the pasta to the sauce rather than pouring it over the top of your noodles. Should you use this method, it's also important to add a touch of pasta water before cooking down the sauce and pasta together, so that the sauce thickens (thanks to the starch in the water) and "clings" to the pasta.

And when you think of pasta sauces, the chances are you may only think of tomato sauce or a cream sauce, but there's actually another type of sauce that is surprisingly perfect for your next pasta dish, too.

This sauce will add umami to your pasta

The rule of adding pasta to the sauce (rather than topping the pasta) also applies to other sauces, such as oyster sauce. According to Bon Appétit's Amber Lee, oyster sauce makes for the perfect yet surprising complement for a fusion pasta dish, owing to the distinct umami and saltiness of the flavorful sauce used so often in Chinese cuisine. Also, while you'll get a rounder, more balanced flavor from oyster sauce, you won't get a strong seafood smell from it.

Bon Appétit suggests using it with spaghetti, but you could try mixing it with all types of pasta really — just as you would with a tomato-based sauce. Keep in mind, though, you can always add more but you can't easily remove oyster sauce from a sauce mix, so measure carefully (Lee recommends 2 ½ tablespoons) and then experiment once you feel more confident in using the syrup-like condiment.