Italy, the land of rich culinary heritage and mouthwatering dishes reproduced globally in the 21st Century. The Italian cuisine has thoroughly enriched the 21st century food culture. Here are our top 5 food mantras, learnt from the Italians.
1. Use basic, good quality, ingredients (seasonal & local ideally)
The best Italian dishes use a few basic, good quality ingredients to produce something spectacular. What could be better than a perfectly ripe, sweet tomato (grown locally or in your own garden perhaps?) accompanied by a tangy chunk of juicy mozzarella and a good glug of fruity extra virgin olive oil? (Mouths watering everywhere!). Any decent Italian Chef would also insist on using local produce, which is in season to really produce the best plate of food. A great example being Mozzarella and Peach Salad, perfect for summer.
2. Don't over cook pasta
A mistake that people make on a daily basis and one of the biggest culinary crimes for any Italian is over cooking pasta.Firstly, ensure you cook all pasta in a large pan, filled with plenty of well salted water and stir gently during the cooking process. This avoids pasta clumping together.Time wise, a guideline is that fresh pasta takes two to three minutes, and dried 10-12 minutes however every brand and variety is different. We would recommend testing a piece of dried pasta around two minutes before the end of the recommended cooking time. Fresh pasta will float to the top when cooked.
3) Cooking from scratch is healthier, cheaper and tastier
Rather than reaching for that jar of pasta sauce or carton of Bolognese sauce in the supermarket, consider making it yourself. A basic sauce can take very little time to cook and often cost less than the ready-made option. What is more, you can monitor any of those sneaky additives such as sugar and salt, which regularly crop up in ready prepared items. Try out our Tomato and Basil sauce for size.
4) Food should always be an occasion
My Italian friend's Nonna (Grandma) and her friends have a personal cooking mantra: 'The better the gossip, the better the pasta'. Preparing home made pasta is a group effort, whether it be family or friends, everyone gets together to knead, roll and shape pasta over a really good natter. What a wonderful treat!
Secondly, eating should be a communal activity, around a table. Not only is it an opportunity in our busy 21st Century lives to converse and hear about people's day but is also better for digestion than sitting on a sofa. Let's also not forget appreciation for the food that someone has lovingly cooked for you!