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Secrets of Italian Cooking

Italians can be proud of the fact that they have some of the best cuisine in the world. It’s simple really, in that they use the freshest quality ingredients. They take great pleasure in their dining experience and why not? Food is one of the great passions and indulgences of life, so why not introduce a little more Italian into your cooking. Here’s how:

Choose the best ingredients

Visit any food market in Italy and you’ll see a wealth of delicious fresh ingredients on offer. The bright reds of tomatoes and the huge variety of seasonal fruit and vegetables on offer. Visit your local farmer’s markets to source the best, freshest produce in your area. The fruit and veg doesn’t have to look supermarket perfect and the best flavours can come from odd shapes and sizes of produce.

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Understand olive oils

Italian cuisine varies wildly from region to region and olive oils come in lots of different varieties too. A peppery olive oil is found in Tuscany varieties, while sharper and fruitier flavours can be found in oils from Sicily. Research online for the different types of olive oils and where they originate.

Use tinned tomatoes

Great taste doesn’t always have to come from fresh. Tomato pasta sauce can be made just as well using tinned tomatoes. Add some garlic and onions and simmer for 15 minutes before adding herbs. It will taste far nicer than pre-made pasta sauces with all their unwanted additional ingredients. Alternatively, treat yourself to a night out and let someone else do the cooking. For an Italian Restaurant Dublin, visit http://www.toscanarestaurant.ie/

Give your pasta the space it needs

Most people cooking pasta don’t realise that it needs a lot more space and water than people usually give it. A good rule of thumb is 1 litre of water for every 100g of pasta. Use a large enough saucepan so the pasta has room to move and doesn’t clump together.

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Don’t overcook pasta

Don’t always go by the cooking times on packets as these will often be longer than is actually required. Pasta also continues to cook slightly after you’ve drained it, so keep an eye on it if you don’t want soft mush. Testing it as you cook is a good idea for that perfect ‘al dente’ pasta.

Add pasta to the sauce

Instead of pouring sauce over your pasta, as we are used to seeing in pictures, add the pasta to the pan of sauce and let the flavours mingle during cooking instead.

Make use of breadcrumbs

One of the most delicious secrets of Italian cooking is pasta cooked in breadcrumbs. Anchovies cooked in olive oil are mixed with toasted breadcrumbs and a dash of chilli before being added to spaghetti. It was a meal born out of the poverty of the south in the past but should not overlooked for its amazing flavours.

Get the Bolognese right

In the UK we always serve spaghetti Bolognese with a tomato-based ragu sauce. The Italians wouldn’t dream of this, as tagliatelle is the pasta you should be using with this dish. It’s wider surface area makes it easier for the sauce and meat to stick to the pasta.

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