donderdag 9 juni 2011

How to cook like an Italian Mamma

Pictures by: Hip Paris Blog

Just read a great post by Hip Paris Blog about Steve Brenner and his wife Linda Martinez. They moved to Rome with the dream of opening an eco-friendly hotel and indulging in delicious Italian food.

Pictures by: Hip Paris Blog

Here are some of Steve's tips mentioned in the post to create a dinner like an Italian mamma.

It’s not about precision and elaboration. Instead, it’s about knowing what to leave out and how to combine a few simple, but seriously tasty, things for maximum flavor.
If you read non-Italian language cookbooks in an attempt to find these secrets, look out – you are being deceived. Perhaps it’s a conspiracy by Italian grandmothers to keep the uniqueness of the Italian kitchen from being too accurately reproduced outside the boot, but the truth is (and I may be at risk with the food police for spilling this information) Italian recipes are not reproduced faithfully by English speaking writers. Italians would almost never use 1 whole onion in a pasta sauce (and Italian onions are about 1/4 the size of an American one). Two tablespoons of oil? Ha! I guffaw when I see a recipe that asks for 2 tablespoons of oil. I go through about a liter of oil a week.

For those of you without a bona-fide Italian Mamma, here are a few pointers to start you out based on many years of scrounging around Italian kitchens and the Mamme who preside over them:
1 - Don’t be shy with the oil. When first learning Italian I was searching for the word for lettuce and asked my friend, “How do you call it – the main part of the salad?” He replied, “Steve, the oil is the main part of the salad.” Don’t forget that wisdom – oil is liquid gold in Italy.
2 - Salt. Invest in good salt (sea salt is my preference) and salt your pasta water well – and I don’t mean a sprinkle or a pinch. In Italian it’s a pugna (fistful), and a couple is the right amount.
3 – I don’t care what you’ve heard or what arguments this might spawn: there is no cream in pasta carbonara. When in doubt, leave it out and add more oil (see nr. 1).
4 – Grana Padano is NOT the same thing as Parmiggiano Reggiano. Second rate cheese makes for second rate pasta.

Pictures by: Hip Paris Blog

I’ll share with you the most important secret of all, the most crucial measurement used in Italian cooking: quanto basta, or otherwise commonly seen as q.b in Italian language recipes. Quanto basta means “however much is enough”.

Steve and Linda keep a great blog about their experiences
Related Posts