It’s ok to simply combine the pasta + sauce and serve but there is a better way. When prepared properly you will get a better taste out of your dish. It also gives you an extra opportunity to add additional flavors to your dish and give your food a more restaurant quality. Best part is how quick and easy it is.
Equipment: Sauté Pan, Stockpot, Cup
Start by filling the stockpot with water and bringing it to a boil. Once it is boiling add salt to the water. How much salt do you need? Depends on the amount of pasta and water. The water should be salty like the ocean.
Cook as directed by the packaging. I tend to cook it until al dente (it still has a little bite to it). Before it finishes cooking use a cup to take some of the pasta water. Once cooked drain but do not rinse! When you wash pasta it causes the starches in the pasta to wash away. These are important to help the pasta sauce stick to your pasta. Put the pasta in the sauté pan.
Pour enough of the pasta water on the pasta to lightly coat (depending on the amount of pasta this can be as little as a tablespoon or 2). The pasta water is an additional component that makes the sauce stick to the pasta. Add the desired amount of pasta sauce and put the burner to medium. I am using the garlic tomato sauce we previously made.
This is where you can play with the flavors. At this point you can add any additional (already cooked) ingredient to the dish. I almost always add a little butter to increase the creaminess of the dish. Some ideas include additional vegetables, proteins (chicken, shrimp, etc), fresh spices, or seasonings. In this case I decided I wanted a spicy pasta so I added some Sriracha.
After cooking for a few minutes mix it and allow it to cook for a few more minutes. Plate and top with fresh cheese or spices if desired. Enjoy!