If, in every place where pizza and pasta is cooked, they strike an Italian flag, it will appear that Italy has conquered all countries in the world without war and without anyone to feel. Originally spaghetti was only part of Botusha’s kitchen.
Gradually, Italian dishes are shifting borders not only to their homeland but also to Europe, and are gaining enormous popularity. In North America, for example, Mediterranean food is greatly revered.
This is due to the large number of emigrants from Italy who become ambassadors of the country’s culinary tradition overseas. In fact, now all continents (even Antarctica, because there are Italians there too) are licking their fingers after eating a serving of spaghetti Bolognese or Margarita pizza. And millions of Mediterranean cuisine fans have never set foot in a pasta home country , ravioli and lasagna.
Just recipes are that culinary bridge that has traveled vast distances across seas and oceans, and are now being fulfilled by both professional and many amateur cooks. That who doesn’t want to create their own delicious Mediterranean masterpiece. In that case, the important question is: Can we prepare authentic Italian cuisine at home?
Which dishes can be cooked and not prepared at home?
Let’s start with the salad. The choice is no surprise – the Italian classic Caprese, distributed worldwide. The technology to prepare it is easy and anyone can make it at home. The capricious moment at Caprese is in the selection and combination of quality products.
Tomatoes must be ripe and juicy, as they usually are in the summer. We need more buffalo mozzarella, nice olive oil, possibly sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Finally – fresh basil leaves.
One of the most popular dishes on the Italian menu, which has come to the masses in the home kitchen, is the paste. The Italians are straightforward maniacs and have made the simple, by many, pasta cooking, an art obey strict rules.
First, you should be aware that the paste is boiled in a lot of water – a liter of dry paste drops a liter of water. The basic rule is to observe the degree of hardness during cooking – under no circumstances should it be boiled.
Spaghetti and other items in the group should be ‘al dente’ or ‘up to the tooth’, which means a little firmness in the middle. Pasta can be combined to your taste with cheese, vegetables, bacon, chicken, minced or minced meat and so on.
And from now on you are already entering the field of aerobatics, because the sauce has a huge contribution to the taste of true Italian pasta. The options here are really many – Bolognese, carbonara, tomato sauce, cream with mushrooms, Neapolitan, marinara and many more.
In the home kitchen of every Italian family or restaurant, the same recipe can be filled with a different sauce, which makes each dish unique. For non-Italy cooks it is impossible to grasp the fact that, according to some sources, as amazing as it may sound, the varieties are 10,000.
It is clear that many of them contain tomatoes, but also cream, wine, olives, capers, eggs, mushrooms, cedar nuts, hot peppers, anchovies, peppers, eggplant, carrots and more are used.
The spices – garlic, shallots, basil, black pepper, oregano, rosemary, parsley, celery, nutmeg contribute to the specific aroma of different types of spaghetti.
The type of olive oil and the broths used as well as the cheese are also important for the taste. So, hosts, consider whether you are making original Italian pasta at home or just tasty improvisation on the subject.
Most people love pizza and most often eat it outside or order catering for the home. Some bake frozen semi-finished products at home, but it’s not the same. Pizza is not very difficult to make at home, although it has its own specifics that must be observed. Suitable flour must be selected.
Italians use flour type 00, which contains more gluten than other flours – this helps crunchy crust. Masters advise against grinding the pizza cheese in advance. The sauce should be simple and it is best not to use ready-made tomato puree but fresh or canned tomatoes. Many pizzas do not prepare sauce in advance, but put tomatoes on top.
For garnish use the products of your choice, but it is best to rely on seasonal. You probably don’t have a special pizza oven at home, so heat the oven strongly before baking the pizza.
Another culinary emblem of the Italians – risotto, also seems very easy to cook. How much is it – cook rice with water in a ratio of three to one, put chicken or mushrooms and you’re done. You can do it in a saucepan or in an oven tray. That any Bulgarian host didn’t cook it dozens, that hundreds of times. Yeah, well that’s not right.
First, the products for real risotto should be very quality The main ingredients needed are a special kind of rice, broth, olive oil and wine. Depending on the region, season and the recipe, mushrooms, seafood, sausages, peas, specific spices and more. About * 30 minutes is sufficient for the cooking itself, and constant monitoring is required during this time.
An important prerequisite for the ideal risotto is that the rice is not rinsed beforehand to wash away the starch. It is necessary in order to achieve the final effect, because in the Italian version it is not intended to separate the grains of rice, and vice versa – the dish must have a creamy structure. The Italians even have special terms for the different stages of cooking.
For example, soffritto means lightly stirring and frying the rice. The following is tostatura – the stage before adding wine and broth. Finally, it is mantecatura – I don’t know if there is an exact translation, but it means that as soon as the risotto is removed from the hotplate, a little olive oil and Parmesan must be added to it for perfection. A well-prepared risotto is ‘all’onda’ – neither too thick nor too rare, but distinct crisp grains.
Which ingredients could we find and which ones wouldn’t we find?
Let’s see first what we need for a homemade pasta. Well, it’s clear we have to start with the pasta itself. Do you think the choice is easy? May not be so, because it is estimated that more than 350 species are on the market today. Only a few are easily detectable, but this is still not a small amount.
We can choose from the more popular spaghetti, penne, tagliatelle, linguine, cannelloni, fetucin, bucatini and a few dozen more. However, we should know that the classic dried paste must be made from hard wheat varieties.
Aside from being dry, the market also offers fresh pasta that many people prefer. Pasta can also be whole grain or gluten free for people with special needs.
The taste of many Italian dishes is achieved with the appropriate type of cheese. Not all are available on our market all the time. For example, we can now easily find the Mozzarella hypermarkets. For real Caprese, however, fresh buffalo mozzarella or Burata cheese, which is made from mozzarella and cream, is more difficult to find.
It is necessary to use mozzarella balls in water bags. However, they are more rubbery and do not absorb enough olive oil and tomato juice. For good pasta, cheeses are also important. Used Parmigiano, Pecorino, blue cheese, melted cheeses, smoked cheeses and many more, on which the grand finale of Italian culinary pride depends.
The risotto has already been discussed. To get it perfectly you cannot use whatever rice you find in the neighborhood store. It is only prepared from specialty varieties such as Carnaroli, Vialone Nano or Arborio. They are ideal for Italian risotto as they are rich in starch content. Other products should also be well selected – olive oil must be of good quality, the wine is put to be dry white wine, and Parmesan is, of course, Italian.
You also need to get the necessary spices, and no improvisation is allowed here. For example, one of the most famous types of risotto – Milanese, is flavored and colored in a delicious yellow with real saffron.
Most recipes do not use the common chromide in our country, but only the onion. We have not yet reached the supplements, and it is already clear that before you start preparing the risotto at home, you have to do a lot of preliminary work. It is no longer impossible to find the necessary products in our country, though not everywhere, or to order online, but you must really be crazy about Italian risotto in order to make it.
Can we replace some products with traditional Bulgarian ones?
As has become clear, the magic of Italian flavors lies largely in the selection of quality ingredients. It is not easy to find all original Italian products, and it is quite expensive. You can take a creative approach and replace some of our ingredients with ours.
Italian pizzas are made from a special type of flour – most often Caputo Tipo 00. It makes the pizza tasty and supple but does not allow it to overflow. However, it is only available in some specialist stores or online, so you may compromise on using white or whole grain Bulgarian flour from a good brand.
In Bulgaria, even Mozzarella is being produced. There is a choice between buffalo and cow’s milk. Some types of hard cheeses can be replaced with our quality cheese.
Most vegetables used in the preparation of spaghetti, pizza or other Italian dishes can be found in our country. Don’t be upset if you don’t have shallots for example, just put onions.
White wines are also used in Italian cuisine. You can replace them with Bulgarian ones, we have wine production that is not inferior to the Italian ones.