How Much Water You Really Need To Boil Pasta, According To Daphne Oz

Are you familiar with TV personality Daphne Oz? Perhaps best known for being Dr. Mehmet Oz's daughter, Oz appeared as a host on the first six seasons of ABC's daily talk show "The Chew." She has also authored several food and lifestyle books, and is the chief innovation officer at Pure Spoon, a home delivery service for organic baby food (via Sharecare Awards).

Daphne Oz is well-versed in a variety of cooking tips and tricks, which she often shares on her TikTok channel. From how to accurately measure flour to how to infuse olive oil with garlic, her succinct videos have got you covered. That's why we perked up when we noticed a video from Oz in which she covers an often-debated topic: how much water you really need to boil pasta. Is it a rolling, roiling potful, as we're so often told? Or does pasta actually need less water to cook to perfection?

Cover pasta with an inch of water

Oz maintains an active TikTok account, and recently devoted a video to the topic of pasta cooking water, which she refers to as "starchy liquid gold." Pasta water, she points out, is an incredible tool: as pasta cooks, the water takes on starch from the pasta and flavor from the salt, making it an indispensable addition when it comes time to stir in your sauce and add-ons. As such, Oz comments, you want that pasta water as concentrated as possible, which means not using so much that the cooking liquid won't actually take on enough starch or flavor.

While we've traditionally been told to cook dried pasta in large volumes of water — about four to six quarts of it per pound of pasta, according to the New York Times — it turns out that those instructions go a little overboard. Serious Eats culinary consultant and all-around food expert J. Kenji López-Alt is among those who have tested cooking pasta in way less water, concluding that it actually produces a better outcome than the old-school Italian recipes (via Serious Eats). In her TikTok video, Oz advises the same.

"You actually only want enough water to cover your noodle by an inch, maybe two — that's it," she explains.

So there you have it: you can (and should) go lighter on the pasta water. Just remember to always save some!