Sunday, April 13, 2008

Basic Store for a good plain cooking

This is a sort of memorandum for everyone loves italian cooking......


1) Flour 00 for making cakes and home made pasta or flour 0 for pizza, bread and panbrioche.

2) Semolino flour is not suitable for making home made pasta but it can help when your pasta is drying and you don't want to have a sticky working surface.

3) Fresh eggs if possible and at room temperature if you want to use it for making fresh pasta or cakes.

4) Extra-virgin olive oil..it's a must

5) Sage:Enhance pasta sauces or roasted meat with the subtle flavor of finely chopped fresh sage leaves…have you try pasta with butter and fresh sage?

6) Parsley is a great source of flavor and garnish.

7) Basil with his peppery flavour is suitable to tomato-based dishes and other dressing.

8) Thyme and Rosemary great for roasted meat, you can use it fresh or dried.

9) Oregano is often used to flavour pasta o meat sauces as other italian dishes.

10) Marjoram is strictly related to the oregano but has more delicate aroma to use alway fresh and not dried.

11) Salt to use with caution using your own taste to decide the right amount.

12) Black pepper is more pungent than white.

13) Juniper berries for roasted meat as lamb or wild boar but also for vegetable dishes.

14) Nutmeg contributes a distinctive flavor to milk based sauces as besciamella or meat.

15) Saffron provide colour and delicate flavour: is available as powder or strands (great for decoration).

16) Garlic and onions: red skinned onion, yellow onion, spring onion, leek and garlic are the stars of the italian cuisine.


17) The tomato, either fresh or in one of its many preserved forms, is often a vital ingredient in pasta recipes: cherry tomatoes, Plum tomato, sun dried tomatoes, tomato puree, chopped thinned tomatoes and whole tinned tomatoes.

18) Olives and capers for a simple pasta sauce: black olives that are in oil and vinegar can be kept at room temperature: add capers always at the end of cooking time as heat intensifies their strong and salty flavour.

19) Pine nuts, nuts and walnuts for pesto sauce and several recipes cakes.

20) Balsamic vinegar: the true balsamic vinegar, which is aged for several years: you can use for sauces and salads or grilled meat.

21) Ham and bacon: for many pasta dishes you can use ham and bacon to add flavors and texture to the sauces: pancetta, is another regional italian speciality, a type of bacon that is cured like ham.

22) Cheese: when you are buying hard cheese as parmesan, ask always for a piece to be cut from the whole cheese rather than choosing a pre-cut piece in plastic: keep it in the fridge or in the freezer if you think to buy more than one piece.
a) Mozzarella mild cheese melts well and it's great for pizza or pasta topping
b) Pecorino Romano: hard cheese made from sheep's milk and it has a sharper flavor, more peppery than parmesan cheese
c) Ricotta: frequently used for pasta filling, it's creamy and delicate
d) Gorgonzola: italian blue cheese with strong and sharp flavor
e) mascarpone: fresh double cream soft dessert cheese
f) Parmigiano reggiano: hard, grainy cheese, this is the correct name for parmesan cheese.
Then don't forget to have potatoes, zucchini, eggplants,fresh lettuce, radish, leak and other kind of vegetables….your fridge must be filled with everything is healthy and good for a mediterranean diet!

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