Italian Cuisine

What ingredients do Italians use?

  • Balsamic Vinegar- sweet Italian vinegar, dark, rich syrup that seasons salads
  • extra virgin olive oil- used to golden bread or season a salad
  • olives- add a sweet flavour
  • tomatoes- to make sauce/passata
  • Italian wine (red wine)- used to accompany the meal with a drink or to infuse a beautiful taste into a meal
  • fresh food-
  • pasta- unleavened dough of wheat flour combined with egg and water

Traditional ingredients are balsamic vinegar, formaggio, italian wine, ricotta mozzarella, pasta and parmesan.

Cheeses

Cheeses are made throughout Italy but the differences in them are the region. Each region has its own processes which makes the cheese. Cheese can be eaten on its own, accompanied by wine or fruits. Cheese is very important to the Italians which the Italians include it in their own cuisines.

  • Formaggio- sweet and spicy cheese
  • gorgonzalo- blue cheese
  • ricotta- whey cheese, used in sweet and sour dishes
  • mozzarella- Southern Italian cheese, made with buffalo milk, used to make pizza or calzone
  • parmesan- “King of cheeses” /oldest cheese(ages from 12 months), grated over dishes

*whey cheese-a product made of dairy which consists of a liquid substance whey *blue cheese- mould ripened cheese

Pasta alla Norma Recipe

Ingredients

Marinara sauce:

  • 1 large can (800g) whole peeled tomatoes
  • 1 medium brown onion, peeled and halved
  • 2 large cloves of garlic, peeled but left whole
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon of dried oregano
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)
  • Pinch of salt

Pasta:

  • 1 batch of marinara sauce
  • 2 medium eggplants
  • 1/4 cup + 1 teaspoon extra- virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine salt
  • 250g of rigatoni, ziti or spaghetti
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil, and another handful of small basil leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon of dried oregano
  • 1/4 cup finely grated parmesan cheese

Method

Marinara sauce:

  1. In a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the tomatoes (with their juices), halved onion, garlic cloves, olive oil, oregano and red pepper flakes.
  2. Bring the sauce to simmer over medium-heat, then lower the heat to keep the sauce at a slow, steady simmer for about 45 minutes, or until droplets of oil float free of the tomatoes. Stir occasionally, and use a sturdy wooden spoon to crush the tomatoes against the side of the pot after about 15 minutes have passed.
  3. Remove the pot from the heat and discard the onion. Smash the garlic cloves against the side of the pot with a fork, then stir the smashed garlic into the sauce. Do the same with any tiny onion pieces you might find. Use the wooden spoon to crush the tomatoes to your liking ( you can blend this sauce smooth with an immersion blender or stand blender).
  4. Add salt, to taste ( the tomatoes are already pretty salty, so you might just need a pinch). Serve warm. This sauce keeps well, covered and refrigerated, for up to 4 days. Freeze it for up to 6 months.

Pasta:

  1. Preheat the oven to 220 Celsius with racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven. Line two large, rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper for easy clean up.
  2. Use a vegetable peeler to shave off long alternating strips of eggplant peel. The eggplants will look striped like zebras when you’re done. Then slice the eggplants into 1/2 inch thick rounds, discarding the end pieces.
  3. Place the eggplant on the lined baking sheets. Brush the rounds with olive oil on both sides. Sprinkle the eggplant with the salt and plenty of pepper. Roast until deeply golden and tender, about 35 to 45 minutes, flipping after 20 minutes. Set aside.
  4. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil and cook the pasta until al dente, according to package directions. Reserve some pasta cooking water before draining ( about 1/2 cup), then return the pasta to the pot.
  5. When the eggplant is done and the marinara is finished cooking, gently stir the roasted eggplant into the sauce. Add the remaining 1 teaspoon olive oil, and fresh basil. Crush the dried oregano between your fingers as you drop it in.
  6. Add the pasta to the sauce with a couple tablespoons of the reserved pasta cooking water, and gently stir it in. Add about two-thirds of the cheese, reserving the rest for garnish. Season to taste with additional salt (I usually add 1/4 teaspoon more) and black pepper. You can add a bit more of the reserved pasta cooking water to loosen up the sauce.

Taylor, K., 2017. Love real food. 1st ed. New York: Rodale.

Basil And Bubbly. 2021. Lemon Garlic Olives – Basil And Bubbly. [ONLINE] Available at: https://basilandbubbly.com/lemon-garlic-olives/. [Accessed 24 May 2021].

Boing Boing. 2021. That ‘100% pure’ Parmesan Cheese you’re enjoying may contain wood pulp | Boing Boing. [ONLINE] Available at: https://boingboing.net/2016/02/17/that-100-pure-parmesan-ch.html. [Accessed 24 May 2021].

10 Essential Italian Ingredients for Cooking and How to Use Them. 2021. 10 Essential Italian Ingredients for Cooking and How to Use Them. [ONLINE] Available at: https://thefoodellers.com/en/italian-ingredients-how-to-use. [Accessed 24 May 2021].

Food. 2021. Key ingredients: Italian : SBS Food. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.sbs.com.au/food/article/2013/05/14/key-ingredients-italian. [Accessed 24 May 2021].

Formaggio – An Introduction to the Many Varieties of Italian Cheese. 2021. Formaggio – An Introduction to the Many Varieties of Italian Cheese. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.disgracesonthemenu.com/2010/08/formaggio-cheese.html. [Accessed 24 May 2021].

formaggio | definition in the Italian-English Dictionary – Cambridge Dictionary. 2021. formaggio | definition in the Italian-English Dictionary – Cambridge Dictionary. [ONLINE] Available at: https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/italian-english/formaggio. [Accessed 24 May 2021].

JessicaGavin. 2021. Homemade Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing – Jessica Gavin. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.jessicagavin.com/balsamic-vinaigrette-dressing/. [Accessed 24 May 2021].

Nomtastic Foods. 2021. Italian Wines: Why You Need to Try Them – Nomtastic Foods. [ONLINE] Available at: https://nomtasticfoods.net/italian-wines-why-you-need-try-them/. [Accessed 24 May 2021].

Simply Healthy Family. 2021. Looking For Gorgonzola Cheese Substitutes? Here Are 5 Good Choices – Simply Healthy Family. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.simplyhealthyfamily.org/gorgonzola-cheese-substitute/. [Accessed 24 May 2021].

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