Cheap. Pasta, pizza, parmesan, herbs… Italian gastronomy and its quality products

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Why does Italian cuisine have so many followers? Surely because this cuisine is simple and convivial, festive, fragrant and colourful! Through ingenious combinations and subtle seasonings, it awakens the palate and one begins to dream in front of the pleasures promised by the appetizers.

Appetizers? These are delicious appetizers offered for lunch and dinner. They consist of smoked meats, shellfish salads, olives, raw or candied vegetables, ham decorated with figs… A whole array oh so gluttonous and tempting!

And that’s not counting the soups, rice and pasta dishes, poultry, fish and seafood specialties and tasty meats, pizzas and other desserts that also offer a very wide choice.

Italians make great use of aromatic herbs. The secret is to use them at the right time and in the right proportions, because Italian cuisine is all about subtlety.

Pasta! Pasta!

No, pasta doesn’t make you fat! And if we look at the balance sheet, it’s rather the quantities of butter or oil that we have to pay attention to.

Alongside the many dried pastas, there are the inevitable fresh pastas that are so tasty. How about making them at home? If it requires some skill, it’s definitely worth it.

Cooking is not just a matter of taste. Overcooked, they become sticky, soft and unappetizing. Poorly drained, they lose their flavor and are more difficult to season.

Always supply a very high volume of water. Even a small amount of pasta requires 3 liters of water. 4 liters of water are needed to cook 500 g of pasta.

Bring the salted water to the boil, add the pasta, mix it from time to time and cook it al dente, just tender but firm in the bite. Then drain them very carefully and add a drizzle of olive oil. Accompany them with freshly grated parmesan and chopped basil.

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As for the cheeses: parmesan, mozzarella, ricotta…

The flagship product is obviously Parmesan. It is best after two years of drying and curing. It gets stronger and stronger if left to age. You have to buy it in pieces, because it cannot be compared with grated Parmesan stored in a package.

Mozzarella is this white cheese often used in cooking due to its ease of melting. Isn’t it in most pizzas?

Other examples of cheese: ricotta, obtained from the whey and mainly used for the filling; and gorgonzola, with its bluish veins, which must be soft and chewy when cooked. We also mention the beautiful country, pecorino, fontine, provolone and caciocavallo.

As for cured meats: Parma ham or mortadella…

Parma ham has long since acquired its letters of nobility. The feeding of the pigs with the cheese whey, the ancestral salting method and the drying practiced on the hills give this ham a unique taste. It is eaten in thin slices, just like its cousin San Daniele.

Bresaola, very popular, is a dried, salted and eaten fillet of beef in thin strips. Their salami is in no way comparable to what we eat in France. It is a long sausage made with pork and spices of which there is a very wide variety. The most famous is that of Milan. In the same style: mortadella, also made with pork and spices.

Cotechino is a lightly salted pork sausage, weighing from 500 g to 1 kg. It is eaten in slices with lentils or beans, or cold and in salads, after being cooked in boiling water.

The luganega is a long, roughly cut pork sausage, also called sausage. It is fried, boiled or grilled and served with potatoes or lentils.

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Shutterstock photos

The herbs

It is their abundance that gives their special flavor to Italian dishes. Fresh, they develop precious fragrances. Basil has no equal: its inimitable taste enhances salads, tomato sauces and soups. Bay leaves flavor roasts, stews and soups. Oregano remains the obligatory step for pizzas and boiled meats.

Parsley, of course flat, goes with everything. Rosemary goes well with lamb, pork, poultry and fish. Sage gives flavor to veal and chicken in wine.

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