The Pantry Staple That Will Give Your Quick Pasta Life

We all know the feeling of staring into an open fridge, wondering what on earth we can make for dinner that doesn't involve ordering takeout. When times are tough and dinner needs to be on the table fast, we turn to pasta. It's cheap, it's easy, and it can be pretty darn tasty if you do it right.

And while there's nothing wrong with a quick and easy dinner option, your go-to pasta dish might start to feel a little boring after a while. Luckily, it's easy to breathe new life into your pasta by using things you probably already have in your pantry. With just a few simple ingredients, you can elevate your pasta dish, taking it from "meh" to "mmmmmm."

For example, if you're looking for a little bit of heat, then red pepper flakes are the way to go. (Just a sprinkle will do the trick in terms of flavor.) Meanwhile, fresh herbs take things to the next level when it comes to flavor. If you have basil or parsley on hand, just a small handful of finely chopped herbs will do the trick. There is, however, another ingredient that has the ability to completely transform your pasta dish.

Capers will tantalize your taste buds

Capers are those little green balls that come in a jar; they're usually used as a garnish for fish dishes. But did you know that they're also great for pasta?

Capers are small, pickled flower buds that pack a major flavor punch, explains HuffPost. They're tangy, salty, and slightly lemony, which makes them the perfect addition to all sorts of dishes. They're often used in Mediterranean and Italian dishes, and they're the perfect size for adding a zing to your weeknight pasta dinner.  Capers can help balance out richer ingredients, such as cheeses and cream sauces, per the Michelin Guide.

A tablespoon or two of these salty little buds will give your dish an instant flavor upgrade. Not to mention, capers are incredibly versatile and can be used in all sorts of pasta sauce recipes. Whether you're in the mood for a piccata or a pesto, don't forget the capers. Just make sure to drain them before adding them to the sauce so they don't make the pasta too salty. The next time you're in a pinch, don't forget to throw some capers into the mix.​