The Pasta Cooking Hack That Kicks Your Spaghetti Up A Notch

When it comes to weeknight dinners, it's hard to think of a quicker and easier option than pasta. Whether your pasta dish of choice is something classically Italian like cacio e pepe, something "fusion-y" like jerk chicken pasta, or something vegetarian like pasta with lentils, you can bet on this staple starch to satisfy a wide range of palates.

While cooking pasta is pretty quick and foolproof, there are a number of hacks out there for streamlining the process even more. From cooking pasta in a small amount of water to baking it in the oven in sauce to pressure cooking it in the Instant Pot, these tips and tricks promise even faster/easier/more delicious/insert-your-preferred-adjective-here pasta dishes. And we're here today to present another one that we stand behind as a way to create a one-pot pasta that's delicious and leaves behind just one dirty dish: cooking your noodles right in a watery tomato sauce that thickens up as the pasta becomes tender.

Ditch your cooking water altogether and boil your pasta right in the sauce

Even the simplest of pasta recipes call for a few familiar steps — heating up a big pot of water to boil the noodles and simultaneously preparing either a hot (like marinara) or cold (like pesto) sauce that will later be tossed with the pasta.

Right there, you're working on several things at once while dirtying several dishes. What if you could eliminate the pot of water and cook your noodles right in the sauce. Turns out, you can. And you definitely should. According to America's Test Kitchen, an easy and effective way to "boil" your pasta with no water is to make onion and garlic-flavored tomato sauce with canned tomatoes, adding water and a pasta of your choice. The pasta will absorb all the excess water, leaving nothing but sauce. After cooking the pasta to al dente perfection for 16 minutes, you're ready to divvy the pasta between bowls. You can top the servings with grated parmesan and enjoy. After dinner, you'll only have one pot to wash.