There are many secrets of Italian cooking you need to know to elevate your dishes and impress your guests. More than pizza and pasta, there are some basic principles for finer dining.
It’s About the Freshness and Quality
Italians are proud that their food is simple. Well, that’s the theory. In fact, getting Italian food right, like any other cuisine, requires practice. However, Italian food isn’t as fancy as French, which focuses on presentation, for example. With Italian, it’s about taking simple and quality ingredients and making the most of them. This traditional Italian pasta fagioli soup takes very basic ingredients and uses them in a combination that’s guaranteed to tickle your tongue.
When to Use Virgin and Extra Virgin Olive Oil
A lot of non-Europeans mistakenly believe that all olive oils are the same. This is far from the truth. And even cooking with olive oil isn’t recommended for most dishes. This is because olive oil has a low burn temperature of around 190 degrees Celsius. Which is too low for things like searing meats and pan-frying steaks. Therefore, in Italian and other Mediterranean dishes, olive oil is used in low and slow cooking, and extra virgin is used for dressings at the end of a dish.
Alliums and the Secrets of Italian Cooking
Alliums are the species of plants you may know as onion, garlic, and chives. Of course, there are many more. But you get the point. And as you probably already know, these are used extensively in Italian food. But what you may not know is that the Italians never cook alliums such as onion and garlic together. The reason is that they overpower a dish when combined. As such, Italians tend to use one or the other in a dish for flavor with garlic or sweetness with onion.
It’s Not All About Pasta
Pasta is amazing when done right; it has to be said. And because it’s so popular, trendy, and delicious, you would be forgiven for thinking this is the crux of Italian cuisine. But this is far from true. In fact, most Italians don’t eat that much pasta. And in Italy, seafood dishes are the most common because of Italy’s thousands of miles of coastline. For instance, there is an aperitivo of fresh olives, nuts, or cheese. This is followed by antipasti and meat and seafood options.
Always Use Fresh Herbs
No Italian uses dried herbs. Herbs are a cornerstone of many cuisines. But Italian cuisine relies heavily on them And for a good reason. Fresh herbs such as basil, oregano, and sage elevate any dish. In a typical Italian dish, you would add some herbs at the very start of a dish to add depth of flavor and some at the very end to enhance what’s already there. Then you garnish with a fresh cutting or tearing. Above all, these need to be very fresh from your own plants.
Most non-Europeans don’t know the secrets of Italian cooking. First, everything has to be fresh and high quality. You also never use garlic and onion together and always use fresh herbs.