For Italians, food is the true essence of life as the people of Italy live to eat and it’s evident in their appreciation for well-made dishes and their interest in each and every ingredients. They place immense focus on where each ingredient is grown and try to cook with the finest ingredients available. The Italians surely know how to cook food that’s the reason that the ingredients they use are so fresh and flavorful. The Traditional Italian cuisine follows the Mediterranean pattern of cooking which emphasizes on simple and natural ingredients while making it one of the world’s healthiest food. Cooking Italian food is simply amazing as then you will be having your pantry with the ingredients which are basic, home-grown or the ones available in the particular seasons. So, if you are planning to cook Italian Food in this festive season then find out the right ingredients that are highly essential to get the real essence of Italy :-
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
An Italian dish is incomplete without the presence of olive oil in it. It is not only required for the peppery punch but it’s also helpful to make a healthy meal. Making an Italian dish with few drops of good olive oil is significant in making a proper authentic Italian dish. Italians are fussy about making their meal but in a good way as they are really particular about each and every aspect of cooking. They demand for quality and excellence especially when it’s about extra virgin olive oil. Its rumored that the fresh extra virgin olive oil is so sacred for Italians that they used to travel with their own stash, rather than taking the risk of being subjected to inferior oil at other places…. that’s quite a serious dedication!
The best extra virgin olive oil can be used in vegetables, pastas and meat to add the rich, peppery punch of flavors. The few divine drops of authentic oil in your dish will make your taste buds mesmerized. One of the key features of olive oil is its best for diet and protects against heart disease via numerous mechanism. For people, who are health conscious can use olive oil in preparing the food just with 2 teaspoons of extra-virgin olive oil; your risk of cardiovascular disease drops by 10 percent as per the research. So, whenever you are planning to make Italian Dishes don’t miss out on this golden magical liquid, olive oil as it is a one heart-smart food!
Fresh tomatoes are great addition in several dishes, but canned ones can make a meal assemble very well that is why Italians make it a part of their dishes. As tomatoes bring out the red vibrant hue when added with meat or in other curries. It doesn’t only give the dish a thicker consistency by bringing a tangy flavor but also helps in protecting against certain cancers like prostate and heart diseases. The best part of cooking with canned tomatoes is that it’s full of flavor and canned with its own rich juice. So, the tomato pieces will break down within 30 mins of cooking and will reserve more smooth texture to it. You can use these canned tomatoes in pasta, lasagna, spaghetti and many different curries. It is one of the key elements in making Bolognese sauce for Italians as they prefer to use the canned tomatoes over the fresh ones. As they believe that cooked tomatoes are even better than the fresh ones. Cooking it for few minutes breaks down the tomato’s cell wall, which releases the valuable antioxidant lycopene which is claimed to lower the risk of cancers and treat conditions such as high cholesterol. Hence, using these lumpy canned tomatoes in Italian dishes will make you feel good every time you use in sauce or curries.
For Italians, pasta is a staple food; speaking of which, it is one of the most traditional and ancient Italian food. Cooking pasta in Italian style is a true pleasure as the simplicity of it is what makes it so amazing. As Italians prefer to prepare the pasta sheets at home delicately hand-made with ground wheat and eggs and flour though pasta sheets are available at stores. This ancient Italian style gives the pasta a bit of a bite which is lower on the glycemic index and it’s apt for health conscious people to maintain a balanced diet.
However, if traditional pasta doesn’t make you full then you try having pastas made with peas or beans which arises its protein content. In Italy, some pasta dishes are served as a first course as the portion sizes are pretty small and simple. The Italians says that the beauty of pasta is its simplicity and ability to be a completely new dish with a different sauce and toppings.
Parmesan is one of the most popular and widespread among all the Italian cheeses. This Parmesan cheese is a hard granular cheese which is cooked but not pressed, normally used for grating over pastas, soups and different types of salads. Italians never serve cheese with fish or seafood: not for any dietary or religious reasons but just out of preference and their tradition. Grated Parmesan or Parmigiano Reggiano is added to various dishes, enhancing their flavors and textures. A simple tip to remember, it should always be given at the last moment on the dinner table to preserve its rich and creamy flavors of the cheese. So, sprinkle some of the creamy and cheesy Parmesan on pasta or you may even enjoy some of it just a plain bite.
The art of Italian cooking is to use the ingredients which are grown in that very region which has the freshness and authenticity. The ingredients in Italian dishes are minimized and kept simple so that you can taste and explore each item and appreciate the blend of all the ingredients in the dish. That’s why there is no other food like Italian Food as it not just made with the fresh ingredients but it’s cooked with the old ancient recipes.
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Written by: Sadaf Rahman