Questions with this tag should be about traditional ingredients, preparations or dishes from Italy - such as focaccia, risotto or tiramisu. Questions about ingredients common to Italian style cooking, but which aren't about a specific Italian dish, should not use this tag.

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45
votes
25answers
98k views

In a tomato sauce recipe, how can I cut the acidity?

It seems that every time I make a tomato sauce for pasta, the sauce is a little bit too acid for my taste. I've tried using sugar or sodium bicarbonate, but I'm not satisfied with the results.
27
votes
11answers
2k views

How should I prepare Risotto

I've been watching a lot of Hells Kitchen, and one of the signature dishes that Chef Ramsay has the chefs prepare is Risotto. This seems like a simple enough dish but often times the seasoned chefs ...
24
votes
7answers
18k views

How do cooks prepare risotto in a restaurant?

I'm not looking for a Risotto recipe. I make a pretty nice risotto, thank you very much. But, making a risotto takes about 20 minutes. It seems unreasonable to me that a cook would start from ...
19
votes
6answers
3k views

What is this Italian Cookie called?

I'm looking for a recipe for an Italian cookie that I remember having as a child. The cookie is shaped like a gnocchi or cavatelli but is much bigger, about 1.5 inches long and slightly larger than a ...
16
votes
9answers
7k views

Fish and cheese: An unbreakable rule?

I always wondered about this seemingly static rule: Never add cheese (especially, but not limited to parmigiano reggiano) to a dish with fish. Italians would never, ever add parmigiano ...
16
votes
10answers
12k views

What can be used as a substitute for tomato sauce in typical italian dishes?

I have a friend that has developed an allergy or sensitivity of some kind to tomato sauce in foods. She has been craving pizza, pasta, and lasagna for a while now and I've been searching for a way to ...
14
votes
5answers
14k views

How to prevent overcooking of eggs in Carbonara sauce?

Carbonara can be absolutely delicicious if everthing goes perfectly; but it can also be tasteless, chewy and lumpy, if the egg is overcooked. Does anyone have what they regard as a fool proof method ...
12
votes
8answers
4k views

Non-cow's milk replacement for Parmesan cheese in Genovese pesto

My family loves Genovese pesto and we'd started making our own (with varied success). One of our number has been diagnosed as intolerant to cow's milk. This rules out pretty much all shop-bought ...
12
votes
4answers
3k views

Arborio and Risotto

I ran out of regular rice the other day, and subbed in some arborio (the traditional risotto rice). I figured it would serve well enough, since it's a tough variety, and I planned on a multi-stage ...
12
votes
5answers
3k views

Is there a way to safely can pesto sauce?

I grow basil and I have enough that I would like to can some pesto sauce. I have tried to find a way to can it but I keep hitting a wall. I would like to give a few cans of pesto to people for ...
11
votes
11answers
8k views

What vegetarian substitute for prosciutto could I use in Carbonara?

Instead of prosciutto, I used capers to try and maintain the salty aspect. It worked ok, but something about the capers and cheese didn't seem right. Any other suggestions? Also, to round out the ...
11
votes
6answers
2k views

Gnocchi - best fluffy technique

What is the best way to ensure prepared gnocchi is light and fluffy, not lumpy and soggy? I've seen tips saying to use more flour, to use less, to add ricotta cheese, to air dry...
11
votes
5answers
70k views

What's the difference between a Stromboli and a Calzone?

On the east coast Italian restaurants (or pizza shops) sometimes offer both Strombolis and Calzones. Sometimes it seems that Calzones are a 'type' of Stromboli, because the menu has a single Calzone ...
10
votes
4answers
967 views

How to make - succulent - Bruschetta?

What ingredients do you need, and what steps to perform to make Bruschetta? While on honeymoon in Tuscany we got bruschetta with chopped tomato and herb topping, on crusty bread (I think there was ...
10
votes
3answers
1k views

What is the difference between grits and polenta?

I've eaten both and except for the fact that sometimes polenta is a little bit more firm, they taste the same...Any southerners out there that can help?
10
votes
6answers
28k views

What causes a tomato sauce to have a bitterness and getting rid of it?

My tomato sauce is coming out great, lots of flavor, especially after I was able to reduce it following the tips here However, it is still slightly bitter. What causes a tomato sauce to have a (in ...
10
votes
2answers
5k views

What varities of chili peppers are most commonly used in Italy

I've been reading some Italian (written in Italian, by Italians) cook books and web sites and I find that many recipes call for peperoncini. I thought I knew what these are, but according to this ...
9
votes
3answers
2k views

When making risotto, why fry the rice?

When making risotto one of the first steps is to saute the rice in some oil for a few minutes (or until the rice is translucent). What is happening when the rice is fried? What effect does this ...
8
votes
4answers
883 views

Cooking polenta: is stirring for 30 minutes really necessary?

In every polenta recipe I have ever seen, the authors insist that the polenta has to be stirred over low heat for half an hour or so before it is thoroughly cooked. When I worked in an Italian ...
8
votes
5answers
7k views

Why is there a watery run-off after cooking my bolognese?

It's a fairly standard recipe with passata and wine, simmering on a low heat for a couple of hours. After stirring and putting the bolognese onto the pasta, after a couple of minutes the sauce ...
8
votes
8answers
708 views

How to make the best Genovese pesto? [closed]

What's your recipe and technique for the best Genovese Pesto? I use basil, paremsan, garlic, pine nuts (very lightly toasted first), olive oil (extra virgin) and I like a little lemon juice too. I ...
8
votes
9answers
4k views

Are there any techniques to “cheat” at cooking a risotto?

Cooking a risotto takes a fair amount of attention and work, adding stock a ladle at a time with almost constant stirring. The chemical process behind this makes sense to me. Are there any ways to ...
8
votes
4answers
3k views

Tiramisu tips tricks and variants

Tiramisu is a well-known dessert based on mascarpone and coffee, and I love it :) What are tips to have a compact mousse instead of a soft/liquid cream? Do you have any special derivative from ...
8
votes
2answers
16k views

What is the difference between tomato puree, paste and sauce?

I was looking for a recipe for an Italian tomato sauce when I came across an old cookbook from an American Creole Chef I like, but I'm really confused about the terminology he uses for some of the ...
8
votes
2answers
1k views

What is the ideal coffee temperature for tiramisu?

When making tiramisu, I usually make a fresh batch of strong coffee. I just don't know how long to wait to use the coffee (for dipping the cookies). In my opinion, room temperature coffee tastes ...
8
votes
4answers
3k views

100% Rye Pizza Base Recipes?

I'm looking for a 100% rye pizza base recipe. The recipes I can find all combine the rye with other flours (typically wheat based). I know it is possible to create 100% rye based pizza bases as I know ...
7
votes
6answers
2k views

Ingredients or techniques to a more solid lasagna

What are the crucial ingredients or cooking techniques to a more solid, or "brick" like lasagna? Most lasagna I've seen tends to get a bit sloppy in the pan as it's being dished out but I have seen ...
7
votes
8answers
31k views

Can I replace pine nuts with other nuts in a pesto sauce recipe? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What is a good pine nut substitute for pesto? Pine nuts are very expensive here. I'm wondering if I can substitute any of the following: Walnuts Sunflower seeds ...
7
votes
2answers
13k views

Is 'Pizza yeast' any different than normal baking yeast?

A friend (Italian) mentioned that she uses 'Pizza Yeast' for making pizza, and one can't use normal yeast or it'll "grow too much".. I looked around the internet for "Pizza yeast" and all I found was ...
7
votes
4answers
305 views

How should I incorporate oil into focaccia?

Last weekend, I tried making focaccia for the first time. I tried two recipes at once, the one from The Bread Baker's Apprentice and a traditional Genovese focaccia recipe modified for quick-rise (I ...
7
votes
2answers
6k views

How do I use no-boil lasagna noodles in a normal recipe?

How do I convert a normal lasagna recipe to use no-boil noodles? Do I need to add extra liquid or just make sure that the dish is covered really well?
6
votes
6answers
2k views

What ingredients can be added to pasta to give a different color?

I've experimented with fresh pasta, using the following ingredients to color it: Beetroot puree Carrot puree Cocoa powder The first two were successful, the cocoa poweder resulted in a very ...
6
votes
3answers
8k views

How to make the pasta in this TV show (Anthony Bourdain in Rome)?

I'm talking about the one served on a parmesan crust bowl, but that's not all. Besides the parmesan bowl (they only showed the chef melting grated parmesan and then molding it), what kind of pepper ...
6
votes
3answers
13k views

When to add fresh basil to a tomato sauce?

Is it better to add fresh basil to a tomato sauce and then let it cook for say, 10 mins, or wait till the end and add just before serving?
6
votes
1answer
1k views

What are techniques to make homemade pasta without a pasta machine?

I would like to try making homemade pasta, but my significant other won't let me buy a pasta machine. It's understandable, they are expensive. What are good techniques to make homemade pasta without a ...
6
votes
3answers
2k views

What would be the difference between frying vs baking meatballs?

I'm sure the two techniques impart slightly different flavor profiles, but what are they? What are the circumstances where you would choose one method over the other? Would the recipe need to be ...
6
votes
1answer
122 views

How to make a pesto in a mortar?

When using an immersion blender, I throw all ingredients into the cup and puree everything smooth. But it looks like the mortar isn't that easy. I can think of four different techniques: throw in ...
6
votes
2answers
844 views

How can I get Italian meringue to thicken?

I tried to make italian meringue and it was all going well until the meringue, (with the sugar syrup added), just didn't thicken and turned into 'royal icing'. Next time, how do I make it and what can ...
6
votes
1answer
90 views

Can polenta be baked?

I've heard that good polenta can be made in the oven, without the stirring. Has anyone else heard of this? Does anyone know how to?
5
votes
4answers
988 views

Spaghetti sauce consistency / coating noodles

I made my home made spaghetti sauce this weekend, which I've been making for several years. As always, the flavor turned out great, so I don't want to change my recipe too much. However, I do have ...
5
votes
1answer
1k views

What is the difference between a Sfogliatelle and a Lobster Tail (Pastry)

What are the differences between Sfogliatelle and a Lobster Tail (Pastry). There is conflicting information about them being either different or the same pastry. Additionally, I'm curious of other ...
5
votes
1answer
920 views

How large is “1 large beef bouillon cube” for risotto?

I am am making a bell pepper risotto. The recipe calls for 1 large beef bullion cube. I have packets that are roughly .15oz (4g) per packet. Is a normal beef bullion cube considered large? What size ...
4
votes
5answers
761 views

Cooking chicken in a risotto without it drying out

I was following a recipe for a chicken risotto, which said to brown the chicken (breast meat, cut into small pieces, maybe 3/4 of an inch or so) in the pan after browning the onions, and then add the ...
4
votes
3answers
2k views

Counter to bitterness in soup

My minestrone turned out too bitter. How can I counter it? The soup contains tomatoes, pasta, Savoy cabbage, celery, carrots, burnt sautéed garlic, thyme, oregano, salt and pepper. Sugar seems to be ...
4
votes
5answers
6k views

What should I do with a just-baked lasanga?

I'm a complete cooking newbie. I just made a lasanga from a recipe - or something that looks like a lasanga. However, it will probably only be eaten 3-4 hours from now. What should I do with it in the ...
4
votes
3answers
149 views

Is “swimming in broth” a common cooking technique for pasta and broccoli rabe?

In two "old school" Italian restaurants in New York, USA, I've ordered penne with sausage and broccoli rabe. Both times the pasta was served with a good 1/4 to 1/2 cup of liquid in the bottom of the ...
4
votes
1answer
2k views

Are 'sweet' and 'mild' - Italian Sausage - the same thing?

Do they refer to the same kind? Or is there a subtle difference? And what essentially encapsulates the concept of a sausage being sweet? Is it typical sucrose driven sweetness inherent to the ...
4
votes
1answer
177 views

What is the name of this Venetian pastry?

I was recently in Venice and relaxed my vegan lifestyle to enjoy a local pastry. It was green, pistachio flavored and filled with almonds. It looked something like this (mine did not have chocolate): ...
4
votes
2answers
3k views

How to layer a Lasagne

I have a made a number of meat lasagne's that taste great (IMHO) but I have always had a problem getting them to preserve that "layered" effect. When it is cooked and even partially cooled the first ...
4
votes
2answers
361 views

Doubling ingredients on panettone cake

The recipe below makes a small panettone cake. I would like to make a cake twice the size, is it ok to just double all the ingredients? Yeast 1⁄2 tsp Strong White Flour 300 g (11 ...