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36

My secret weapon is onion. Caramelize the onions first. This creates a natural sweetness. Always use ripe tomatoes; if you cannot then use canned. The canned are made from ripe tomatoes and tend to be a very good substitute. Also, the celery and carrot suggestions are very much a good addition - you are making a classic tomato sauce when you include the ...


29

Just add half a teaspoon (or even less) of white sugar. Typical Italian tomato-sauce always requires a bit of sugar (and not just to cut acidity).


23

It's actually hard to hold when it's almost all the way cooked -- it'll start getting gluey on you if you let it cool off, but could start scorching on the bottom if it's not stirred, and get too runny if you keep adding stock. I saw a show and Mario Bitali said that risotto isn't finicky in the middle -- so you can cook it part way, cool it down (I think ...


20

One of my favorite recipes is Giada De Laurentis' Wild Mushroom with Peas. It's rather simple, but amazingly delicious. The most common flubs when making a risotto are overcooking or dumping in all the liquid at once. I always use the wooden spoon test to determine when the risotto is finished. First, stir often! Periodically drag your spoon down the ...


18

Gnocchi shaped? I am pretty sure they are Turdilli! . It's a traditional Calabrian recipe: They are deep-fried: And hot-soaked in honey too: Same biscotti, slightly different shapes: Bear in mind that fried cookies soaked in honey are a traditional treat for carnival and Christmas seasons all over Italy, so you may find many, many ...


17

The typical issue with risotto is that it requires attention -- it's considered a problematic dish because you're supposed to stir it almost constantly. The issue is that you need to get enough starch off the rice to get it to be creamy, so you want to keep only a little bit of liquid in there at any time, so that you can keep the grains rubbing up against ...


17

Cook the pancetta on a large pan, so that it fries in its own fat. It must turn red, but don't cook it too much as you are going to cook it a bit more later on. Open two eggs. If you like the color of the carbonara intense, throw one white away, and keep one white and two yolks. Put them in a bowl, then add grated parmigiano and mix with a fork. The amount ...


16

A few things can cause tomato sauces to become bitter: Overcooked spices. Both basil and oregano can become bitter with long simmers. Add them near the end of the process. Under-ripe tomatos. Store bought tomatoes are often picked green and ripened in the store. These tomatoes make less sweet sauces (which may be contributing). Cooking in an aluminium ...


15

There's just no comparison between in-season, local tomatoes that you get in Italy and the supermarket crap you get anywhere else, which probably accounts for most of the difference. Your best bet is to look for heirloom tomatoes, in season. Failing that, try New Jersey beefsteak tomatoes, again, in season. Or any of the "vine ripened" tomatoes you see in ...


15

I have the same preference. Three things that work for me: (1) If you are using any vegetables, saute them to get as much liquid out as possible in advance. For spinach or other greens, actually squeeze the water out using a tea towel or potato ricer. (2) Use less sauce or make the sauce thicker. You can accomplish the latter by starting with thicker ...


14

True southern grits are made with ground hominy whereas polenta is simply ground cornmeal. The proper name for them is actually hominy grits. You can make "grits" out of untreated corn, but these are corn grits and not really found in southern US cuisine. Grits are typically a much coarser grind than polenta. Hominy is corn that has been nixtamalized, which ...


14

It may not seem intuitive but adding salt is usually a better way to reduce bitterness than adding sugar. I would also suggest that you do not sauté your garlic until burnt as that will add a quite unpleasant bitterness. Sauté until fragrant.


13

The best way to thicken marinara sauce for me, without losing any taste is to cook it a little longer. Cooking it longer is just keeping the sauce on simmer, uncovered and stirring it occasionally so its cooking consistently and taking it off the heat when you think it has reached desired thickness. You can also try draining the tomatoes before you crush ...


12

A few things that can help, if it's not an issue with fat like @Aaronut suggested: Tomato paste. Yes, I know it's a sacrelige, but it'll act as a thickener. Take the pasta out before it's gotten to al dente, and finish cooking it in the sauce; the pasta will absorb any extra liquid, and help to thicken the sauce. Do not rinse off the pasta after you drain ...


12

You could use Red Pepper Coulis: Roast red peppers on grill, gas flame or cut off the sides and place skin side up under broiler until skins are blackened. Cool and remove charred skin. Sweat onions and garlic in a little olive oil with salt and pepper until softened. Add the charred roasted red peppers and some chicken stock. Simmer until vegetables ...


12

First, I'm assuming by "pesto" you mean "Pesto alla Genovese", given your question about pine nuts. Basil, pine nuts, garlic, olive oil, and cheese is a delicious combination, but it's only one of many "pestos" (peste, actually), since pesto refers in general to any sauce which is made from crushed or pureed ingredients. Mix and match to your heart's ...


12

Ditch the cream and onions, and don't use tomato paste. Take a whole bulb of garlic, peel the cloves and leave them whole. Heat a cup of good olive oil over medium heat and add the garlic, stirring occasionally until very lightly brown and blistered: be careful not to burn it! Then add 4 28oz cans of chopped/crushed Italian tomatoes and some chilli, being ...


11

I know there is already an accepted answer, but I will offer a different opinion: cook it for 3-4 hours over a low heat. Stir it every 30 minutes or so (more often if you can't get the burner down to a low enough level, to prevent burning). Not only will it taste wonderful but the house will smell wonderful, too!


11

I think the key is to let the lasagne sit for a while after it comes out of the oven. This allows it to cool and to absorb some of the liquid. It makes it easier to eat as well, as it doesn't scald you.


11

In the US at least, common canned tomato products include: Paste, cooked down tomatoes, to the point where they are scoopable with a spoon but will not flow. Very thick, like peanut butter. Often sold in six or twelve ounce cans. Pureee - cooked tomatoes that have been--well--pureeed, but are mostly at their natural density; also called crushed ...


11

Many pasta shapes can be made without a pasta machine--home cooks have done it for generations. The only pastas that are really difficult to make without a special machine, I think, are the extruded pastas like buccatelli or macaroni. One common method, which leads to a lot of different shapes, is to roll the pasta dough out into a sheet with a rolling ...


10

I'd recommend thinly sliced and seared shiitake mushrooms for an umami boost and appropriate texture. Really get a nice brown crust on them.


10

You need enough liquid in the blender for it to work; if the leaves get stuck in blender canister, they won't reach the blades to get ground up. It's mostly an issue of width of the container relative to the size of the basil leaves. I typically make my pesto in a blender rather than a food processor, but I do the following: Pack a few inches of basil ...


10

The most similar, of course, the one you could easily find in any supermarket, is the "Camoscio d'Oro". This is not similar but the same, since is made by Bongrain SA, a French food group. As semi-industrial cheese made in Italy, we have the "Alpino", better or similar to "paglietta", both of Osella, which is sited in Piemonte (Turin), region on the border ...


10

Fresh herbs should, generally, be added closer to the end of a recipe. Dried herbs should be added fairly early on during the cooking process so that they have time to "develop" and more fully release their flavors. Fresh herbs and spices, however, will generally have more subtle flavors, and they are usually best used for seasoning at the very end of the ...


9

"Risotto" is a typical Italian rice-based dish, it comes in a number of variations, but the basic technique is common for all the versions: Start browning some chopped onion with butter or olive oil, then add the rice and roast it a bit. When the rice is roasted add some white wine and let it almost evaporate, then cover the rice with vegetable stock. ...


9

From what I can find, it contains 'dough relaxers' so you can shape the dough without it springing back. It also claims you don't need to let it rise, but it then tells you to bake your pizza for 30 minutes! So it essentially rises in the oven. Compare this to 'proper' dough which you let rise for a couple of hours, pull into shape and then bake in a ...


9

It definitely does not need to be stirred continuously. Fairly frequently, yes, to avoid burning on the bottom, but not constantly. Cooking for more or less time has more impact on texture than flavor. Cooked briefly, you get more of a grain-like cream of wheat texture. Cooked long, you get a creamier, smoother result. Both can be good, but the creamy style ...


9

Both sweet and mild refers to the sausages without hot red pepper flakes. The fact they are called sweet Italian sausages doesn't mean they contain sugar.


8

This is basically down to buying good ingredients. Mass produced tomatoes can be a bit dry so try and source organic ingredients that haven't been force grown in these factory sized poly-tunnels.



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