I love cooking Italian food. I made no reservations about this, it’s just what I love doing. I like all types of cooking but I always resort back to my roots and that of my family.
In this age of convenience so many people don’t bother to cook, they eat to survive. This is a terrible way to be. These people are not only eating ready cooked meals pack with fats, sugars and salts but they are also missing out on the wonderful therapy that is cooking.
My fascination started many years ago when an Italian family moved in next door to me. I’m English and back in 1977 had never smelt such aroma’s in my life, the heady smell of tomato, garlic and oregano wafting across my back yard totally transfixed me. Still to this day if I catch a smell similar to the one I fell in love with all those years ago I’m drawn back to that day.
The trick with Italian cooking is most certainly less is more, but don’t be mistaken into believing that it’s easy to get the taste correct just because there’s fewer ingredients because it isn’t.
Tomato sauces made with nothing more than tomatoes, garlic, salt, pepper is very difficult to perfect to your own taste. I like a pinch of chili in my tomato sauce, my girlfriend likes more pepper. And so Italian cooking goes. The beauty of the tomato sauce is that when you’ve perfected your own recipe you can start adding subtleties to it, such as diced salami, meatballs and even a little grated Parmesan cheese while the sauce is still cooking. All these add to the flavor of the sauce without over complicating it.
One word of advice I would give, when you perfect your own tomato sauce never try to differ it, it will never be as good.
Of course, man cannot survive on tomato sauce alone. Luckily he can add pasta to it to liven the day up.
Making fresh pasta is a joy. A messy and time consuming joy, but boy, it’s therapeutic. Italian cooking is always therapeutic. Most pasta is made with semolina flour, a hard wheat flour, but some people use corn, other than that you just add an egg or two, mix, kneed and you’re just about done.
After kneading leave the dough to rest in the fridge for fifteen minutes.
Take the dough out, roll it then pass it through a pasta making machine. Leave it to dry for an hour or two and cook in boiling water for a few minutes. Pasta making machines are for another day, needless to say as with all things Italian the simplest are the best, and they don’t cost an arm and a leg!
The excess pasta (I’d recommend making plenty to save time) can be frozen or refrigerated and eaten another day.
Simply food at it’s delicious best. I love Italian food.
If I was allowed to by my family I’d live off nothing but pasta. You can bake it, make soups with it, have it with anyone of a thousand sauces and even have it as a salad. For more info click milkprocon.org
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