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Robert Fairall
18 September 2018 | Restaurant | Robert Fairall

Ten Things to Consider when Cooking Italian

1.  Use ingredients that prioritise flavour, ahead of texture or aroma - which is quite different to the way of most French cooking

2.  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.

3.  Season during cooking, not after. This rule is closely related to rule 6 below

4.  Use herbs and spices subtly, to enhance the flavour of the main ingredient, not to overwhelm it!

5.  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”

6.  Keep an eye on your soffritto (a cooked battuto)… it cannot be allowed to burn!

7.  Use precise portioning of pasta to each sauce. It’s not hit and miss. Follow the recipe!

8.  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.

9.  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

10.  Don’t overdo the parmesan, and never serve it with fish or seafood




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