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di Lusso Estate

Robert Fairall
18 September 2018 | Italian Cuisine | Robert Fairall

Ten Things to Consider when Cooking Italian

  • Use ingredients that prioritise flavour, ahead of texture or aroma - which is quite different to the way of most French cooking
  • Use precisely the right pan for each dish. Learn what’s ‘best practice’. The shape, size and thickness and compostion of each is critical to cooking outcomes.
    • Well, a risotto should be made heavy-bottomed cast-iron skillet to get the soft gluey quality of a good risotto.
    • A sauté pan, because of its depth and curved sides, is better for braising meat or vegetables than a frying pan.
    • Pasta should be cooked in a cylindrical pot so the water returns to the boil more quickly once you have added the pasta, preventing the shapes from sticking together.
    • Ragu, stews and pulses are cooked in pots made of earthenware, the best material for slow cooking, because it distributes the heat evenly.
  • Season during cooking, not after. This rule is closely related to the rule below
  • Use herbs and spices subtly, to enhance the flavour of the main ingredient, not to overwhelm it!
  • A great battuto (a mixture of finely chopped vegetables) is vital. Look at cooking as a project on each occasion, and one worthy of following the advice of Aristotle (the world’s first professional project manager, “well begun, is half done”
  • Keep an eye on your soffritto (a cooked battuto)… it cannot be allowed to burn!
  • Use precise portioning of pasta to each sauce. It’s not hit and miss. Follow the recipe!
  • Taste constantly while you cook. This rule is made easier to follow, as Italian food is mostly cooked on the stove and not in the oven.
  • Serve pasta and risotto alone – don’t serve it with a with salad, side vegetables, meat or fish. Avoid the temptation to smother these two dishes with distractions
  • Don’t overdo the parmesan, and never serve it with fish or seafood


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