17. February 2022 | Von Katharina und Flurina  

An excursion into Italian cuisine

In this blog, we would like to tell you all about Italian cuisine. 🇮🇹🍕🍝

An excursion into Italian cuisine

Of course, you can’t miss out on the exploration of Italian food when you’re studying at the Istituto Marangoni in Milan!

From facts you definitely didn’t know about, authentic Italian food (where it’s not just about pizza and pasta!), to tips on how to make Italian food a success at home – exclusively from locals, of course.

5 facts about Italian food

  1. According to the „National Pasta Association“, there are around 600 shapes and types of pasta worldwide. – Crazy, isn’t it?!
  2. „Al dente“ literally means „for the teeth“. The pasta should therefore be cooked until it is still slightly firm to the bite and not completely soft.
  3. When people think of Italian cuisine, they think of pizza and pasta – but there are many other great dishes from Bella Italia. Cucina Italiana is a very distinctive regional cuisine that has become very independent through various external influences and the use of regional ingredients and is now even a UNESCO intangible cultural asset.
  4. Why do you see so many Italians standing at the bar sipping an espresso, especially in the morning? On the one hand, this is due to the fact that breakfast is not important for Italians, because people prefer to celebrate their evening meal with four courses (antipasti, primo piatto, secondo piatto, dolci).
  5. Pasta makes you happy. – Indeed, pasta makes you happy. And not only in a figurative sense: the carbohydrates in pasta increase the body’s production of serotonin. This neurotransmitter triggers feelings of happiness and well-being. – I wonder if that’s why Italians are always in such a good mood!

10 typical Italian dishes, after pasta and pizza

Polenta con Salsiccia: Cornmeal porridge with tomato sauce and Italian sausages – a popular dish in northern Italy.

Gattò die Patate: Hearty potato cake with Parmesan cheese, salami and mozzarella.

Melanzane alla Parmigiana: Baked aubergines in tomato sauce with Parmesan and mozzarella cheese

Carciofi Aglio e Olio: Cooked artichokes with garlic and olive oil

Zuppa di Castagne: Vegetable soup with chestnuts, lentils and beans

Minestrone alla Toscana: Vegetable soup with black cabbage

Frittelle di Ricotta: Tender, deep-fried balls of ricotta dough

Risotto alla Milanese: Milan style saffron rice

Pasta e Fagioli: soup with pasta and beans, optionally vegetarian or with bacon – perfect for autumn and winter!

Panzanella: Tuscan bread salad made from bread from the day before (perfect for using up stale bread).

6 Tips for cooking at home – for more authentic Italian dishes

  1. Pasta water is used secondarily in Italian cooking. A little pasta water is always added to the drained pasta to prevent it from sticking and to the sauce. The trick is that the salty water is full of starch that the pasta has released during cooking. This starch optimizes the consistency and taste of the sauce.
  2. Did you know that each type of pasta has its own sauce? This is actually because the shape of the pasta and the sauce can complement each other best. Of course, you can combine pasta types and sauces as you like, but if you want to cook typical Italian food, you can find out which type of sauce is actually intended for which pasta.
  3. Use pizza flour with a higher gluten content instead of type 405 wheat flour (alternatively, baking-strength type 550 wheat flour gives good results).
  4. Replace mozzarella with buffalo mozzarella.
  5. Do not use dried or frozen basil: unlike oregano, basil loses its flavor drastically when it is preserved.
  6. Replace ready-grated Parmesan with high-quality Parmigiano Reggiano.

I hope you enjoyed our excursion into Italian cuisine and will now become master chefs!

Best wishes,

Kathi & Flu

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