Casa Italia’s top 10 cooking facts & tips!
1. Italian cooking always involves different herbs and spices such as oregano, sage or bay leaves. Make sure you keep these favourites in a cool and dark place – not above your stove – to preserve their flavour.
2. Do not use oil in the water when boiling pasta, as it stops the sauce from sticking to it later on.
3. Italians love walking around their local markets picking out all the seasonal produce, which is why their food is always so delicious. Fresh produce gives dishes fantastic flavour – So that you don’t need to add endless amount of salt or sugar to improve the taste.
4. Most people make the mistake of throwing the whole bag of pasta in the pot, 120grams per person is ideal for the ultimate serving.
5. Al dente (firm to bite pasta) has a lover glycemic index (Low GI) than soft (overcooked pasta) so it is ideal for filling you up and keeping you much more satisfied for longer.
6. When making pasta always use the ratio of 1 tablespoon of salt to 1 litre of water. Cooking pasta in a large quantity of water gives the pasta room to move around.
7. Layer the flavours when making sugo. Italians create all their meals from base up. Start with a good type of olive oil, add the onions. Let the flavour release then add the garlic. Once this combination is filling the room with fragrance add tomatoes, and then herbs -let it simmer.
8. ‘Simmer for an hour’ means exactly that. Don’t try and speed up the process as you will lose the flavours.
9. Arborio rice is best used for risottos. It is short-grained rice which releases starch and thickens when cooked over a low heat.
10. When cooking pasta bring the water to full boil then add the pasta. This will prevent the pasta from sticking together. When adding pasta to water that has not completely boiled, the pasta lets out its natural starches which act like a glue.