Lidia Bastianich's Trick For Stretching Out Pasta Sauce

Have you ever cooked your favorite pasta recipe just to realize that you don't have enough sauce? Pasta sauce keeps the noodles flavorful and moist, so not having enough will make or break your dish.

DIY Idea Center says that the serving size of a box of pasta is significantly more than that of a jar of sauce. The site says it would take eight jars of sauce and five pounds of pasta to acquire equal serving amounts for feeding a family. So, it makes sense why you may find yourself with less sauce than you actually need.

Thankfully, chef Lidia Bastianich has a pasta sauce hack for stretching the amount of sauce you have, so you can feed everyone in your family. Whether you're whipping up Bastianich's marinara recipe from scratch or using jarred sauce, you'll want to take note of this trick that makes feeding the whole family hassle-free.

Add pasta water to the sauce

A shortage in pasta sauce calls for drastic measures. If you realize you haven't made enough sauce, Lidia Bastianich says you can stretch it by adding pasta water to the mix (via Today). She recommends pouring some leftover pasta water into the sauce mixture and cooking it on low until the liquid fully absorbs into the pasta. This will provide you with more sauce for those naked noodles.

Serious Eats also recommends the pasta water and sauce combo for stretching the amount of sauce you have. The site explains that the pasta releases starch into the boiling water, which helps thicken the sauce. Empty the pasta sauce into a pot to simmer. Then, ladle a few cups of pasta water out of the boiling pasta pot and allow it to cool. Add the water to the empty sauce jar, shake it up, then pour it into the simmering sauce on the stove. The starch will thicken and create more sauce.

Looking for additional ways to stretch your sauce? The Pioneer Woman says you can elevate sauce by adding olive oil, fresh garlic, sausage or ground beef, red pepper, red wine, herbs, cheeses, and cream or butter. These additions transform bland sauce into flavorful, rich sauce in an instant. They also make it heartier and more satisfying. So, next time you're in a pinch and need more sauce, follow Lidia Bastianich's saucy trick.