Stock cubes and pastes are an easy way to add a whole bunch of flavour with a single ingredient, but they’re usually reserved for soups, stews and gravies. There’s no need to limit them like this. They have so much to give.
David Chang employs chicken stock as a not-so-secret ingredient in his red sauce, while the Better Than Bouillon site recommends adding their product directly to pasta water. Stock is great in these supplemental roles, but if you have a flavour you really dig—I’m currently very into the mushroom stock—there’s no reason it can’t be the star of your pantry pasta. All you need is stock and butter.
You can use whatever stock you want, but I am quite partial to the Better Than Bouillon line of products. No one else has their range, and a teaspoon packs the same amount of flavour as a normal stock cube.
Editor’s Note: Better Than Bouillon is not a local Australian product, so feel free to replace this with your preferred alternative
A generous spoonful—along with six tablespoons of butter—is enough to flavour an entire pound of pasta. It’s the simple buttered noodles you know and love, but with more flavour.
Some stock flavours work better than others. If you want to use a different form of stock, start with two teaspoons in the butter, toss, taste, and add more as needed.
Once you’ve got your flavour dialed in, toss in whatever else you’d usually use to complete your pantry pasta. I added shredded roasted chicken, capers and breadcrumbs to my mushroom noodles, and it was pretty perfect.
To make your own amped-up pantry pasta, you will need:
450g dried pasta
6 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 tablespoons stock cubes (any flavour you like)
Anything in your fridge or pantry you need to use up
Cook the pasta according to the package instructions, but reserve 1 cup of pasta water before draining. Drain the remaining water and, while doing so, reduce the heat to medium, add the butter and stock to the hot pasta pot, and stir until the butter is melted and the paste is completely mixed into the butter. Return the noodles to the pot and toss with tongs to coat, splashing in pasta water as needed to create a silky sauce. Mix in whatever other add-ins you desire, and enjoy.