4 Secrets of Incredible Italian Cooking
You don't need an Italian nonna in the kitchen to make exquisite pasta.
Look to cook? Love Italian food? Here are the secrets of cooking fabulous Italian at home.
simplicity is key
While American versions of Italian food tend to pile up flavors, authentic Italian cuisine is about simplicity. Italian dishes let each ingredient shine. Have you ever tasted the exquisite simplicity of a perfect pizza margherita, or admired the perfect balance of a classic bruschetta?
Flavors are delicate, and meant to be savored slowly — so when it comes to ingredients, less is more.
BUY THE BEST INGREDIENTS
This may seem obvious, but the success of your dish hinges of the quality of your ingredients. The Italians spend far more on food than their European counterparts, and it shows in their cooking. If you want to prioritize flavor, purchase fresh ingredients of the highest quality you can afford. And remember: there's nothing like good olive oil, fresh garlic, and sea salt to season your dishes.
SHAPE AND SIZE MATTER
Every wonder why the Italians have so many different kinds of pasta? The reason is surprisingly practical: it's because some pasta shapes are more suited to certain sauces. Long, thin pasta like spaghetti goes best with creamy or smooth tomato sauces (which lightly coat the pasta), while complex shapes like fusili will catch up thicker, chunkier sauces.
COOK YOUR PASTA RIGHT
To prevent your pasta from clumping, always cook in a large enough pot with plenty of water (so it can move around). The water should be briny like the sea, and you should never add oil (which makes for greasy pasta and prevents the sauce from clinging). Reserve a bit of the pasta water to add at the end, as it'll help make the sauce thick, creamy and silky.
Another tip is to fish out the pasta halfway through it's recommended cooking time, and then finish it off by cooking it in its sauce. This will keep it from overcooking, infuse it with flavor, and give you more control over the finished dish.
Feeling inspired? Here are 43 delicious pasta recipes to tame your hunger.
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Chef Tips and Tricks
Do you put the pasta in without waiting for the water to boil? Add oil? Forget the salt?