Italian Food, what makes the difference?
Maybe it helps to take a closer look at the recipes:
Reading American or English cook books for example you will notice that for the major part of the recipes you need lots and lots of different ingredients.
Preparing several of these dishes, in spite of all the different ingredients, honestly in most cases we were not exactly overwhelmed by the taste (of course there are exceptions: -).
In contrast to this, most Italian recipes rely on very few ingredients but of high quality.
Italians are picky when it comes to food and cooking.
In our village in the Italian countryside you can watch old ladies with a small pension shopping in the grocery store. Even if they have very little money they will not buy some sort of cheaper salami or ham of average quality. Instead they´ll rather buy a few slices of really high quality salami or the famous ham from Norcia. For them excellent quality is much more important than quantity (By the way, they also hardly ever would buy processed food).
It is obvious that Italians prefer the original taste of quality goods to any mixture of dozens of tastes blended together, or worse, processed and ready made foods.
Because they know that it takes very little to prepare a delicious meal.
Let´s just take a very basic recipe:
Pasta with tomato sauce
The pasta, preferably homemade or of a good brand, is cooked "al dente" (with a bite).
The "sugo", the tomato sauce, is made with fresh, ripe cherry tomatoes, harvested at the exactly right time. In summer you can use them fresh immediately, in winter you can take a preserve, either homemade or by a good brand. By the way - it is very easy to make your own cherry tomato preserves in summer: Just fill a handful washed cherry tomatoes in a jar, add a little sugar but no water, close the jar tightly and cook the glasses in a pot with boiling water for about an hour. In that way also in winter you have tomatoes that still taste like tomatoes, with a full aroma and some sweetness.
Sauté the garlic lightly in high quality extra virgin olive oil, add the tomatoes and fresh basil from the garden, from your window sill or from the market. Do not use those sad dry crumbs of "basil" out of a plastic bag or spice jar. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Let the "sugo" simmer for about 10 minutes and serve with freshly grated Parmesan or Pecorino cheese (real cheese of course no artificial fake junk cheese) and some fresh basil leaves on top.
You will have a perfect meal!
Each of the ingredients is tasty and has a valor of its own. You don´t need anything else.
The idea and probably the main "secret" is to keep the cooking simple and not to destroy the flavour of each single ingredient by adding too many different flavours.
Short cooking times
It doesn't take much time to cook really nice meals for you, your family and your friends.
Keep it simple and save time!
To preserve the taste and health benefits of the ingredients you should not overcook them. That also means: less time spent in the kitchen but more time to have a relaxing meal with your family and friends.
Enjoy the "momento conviviale", the moment lived together!
You (and your family) will get used to the original taste of fresh quality food and will be more resistant to eat some unhealthy crap.
Mediterranean fresh food is definitively healthier than fast food.
So what are you waiting for? Go ahead and give it a try!
Do you want to learn more secrets of Italian cooking with "Ornella, regina della cucina"?
Join us for our cookery classes and full immersion culinary weeks!
Full immersion culinary weeks 2017: April 1 to 8, 2017 and November 4 to 11, 2017
Find more information about the Full immersion culinary weeks HERE
Cookery class "La vera cucina Umbra" 2017: September 16 to 23, 2017
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Find some recipes from the Umbrian cuisine in autumn HERE