We Put 4 of the Trendiest Pasta Hacks to the Test
Are they genius or do they go too far?
In the age of the internet, food hacks and trends are always evolving. It’s hard to keep up. One minute, a harmless bagel is going color crazy under the hashtag #unicorn, and the next, burger patties are incarcerated in lettuce wraps in a low-carb-crusade.
And while pasta never goes out of style, the internet still found a way to sensationalize our favorite staple—unorthodox ways of cooking pasta are popping up on social media, promising to take your pasta game to the next level.
The Italians have doomed it blasphemous and, as a pious pasta eater myself, I had my reservations. But then again, if no one defied tradition, the food world would be all the less exciting. So, in the name of progress and innovation—and to placate all of the nonna’s out there—let’s set out on carbo-loading-quest to see if these trendy pasta cooking tricks actually work.
The line-up for this trend is 1 bottle of red wine, 1 liter of water, and 1 package of spaghetti. Add red wine and water to a large pot, bring it to a boil, add spaghetti, and let it cook for 7 minutes, stirring occasionally. We added some garlic and chili flakes, and garnished with parsley and Parmesan cheese.
Not too shabby! Though it might be for those with an acquired taste for red wine, the pasta took on a slightly sweet and acidic flavor, and certainly, the purple color had its wow-factor. However, it did feel slightly incriminating pouring a perfectly good bottle of Chianti into a pot just for a bit of enchantment...
Bouillon (a.k.a. broth)
This is a simple one: add 2 tablespoons of bouillon powder to your pasta water, and wait for the magic to happen. Then toss the pasta in garlic and chili flakes and garnish with parsley and Parmesan cheese.
The result had an “I didn’t make it to the supermarket and this is all I had” taste to it. Even though the bouillon added a little extra flavor, the garnish did most of the job. Not impressive, but it might be a good hack for those days where you have to surrender to whatever's in the pantry.
This trend promises luscious pasta that will give the classic alfredo sauce a run for its money. All it takes is 1.5 liters of milk, pasta, and a little Parmesan cheese and butter to add extra richness at the finish line. Add milk to a large pot, bring it to a gentle boil, and simmer your pasta for approx. 25 min., stirring often.
Don’t try this at home. The process was very time consuming, as you have to constantly stir in order to keep the milk from burning. As for the taste, the spaghetti took on a sweet flavor similar to rice pudding thanks to the sugars in the milk caramelizing. Not totally unpleasant, but not our choice for a savory pasta dish.
Even though the thought of watering down a tomato sauce is quite concerning, the prospect of the pasta absorbing all its goodness through the cooking process made it worth the try! Instead of cooking your pasta and sauce in two separate pots, thin out your pasta sauce with an equal amount of water, dunk in the pasta, and add 7 extra minutes to the regular cooking time.
Was it edible? Yes. Was it enjoyable? No. A hint of tomato flavor did penetrate the pasta, but the majority of the sauce was left behind on the plate as a watery soup—completely rejected. A sad sight that not even a generous amount of Parmesan cheese and fresh basil could make up for.
Proving once again that the relationship between pasta and wine is symbiotic, the red wine trend takes the trophy! As for the remaining contestants, in our humble opinion: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
Would you give any of these pasta trends a try? Let us know in a comment!