Questions tagged [italian-cuisine]

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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68 votes
29 answers
561k 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.
Curry's user avatar
  • 1,794
47 votes
7 answers
21k views

Why are there so many different pasta shapes?

Do the different pasta shapes serve any purpose, or are they just for fun? Some difference appear to be cultural (lo mein vs spaghetti), but there are so many different syles of Italian pasta, is ...
DaveParillo's user avatar
36 votes
7 answers
37k views

Fry onions and garlic before adding to the sauce?

I am making a tomato sauce for pasta but I am not sure whether to put the garlic and onions into the sauce raw or to sauté them first? What would be the difference in the taste, does one have more ...
Definity's user avatar
  • 471
30 votes
10 answers
6k 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 ...
Geoff Dalgas's user avatar
30 votes
10 answers
58k 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 ...
Chris Cudmore's user avatar
30 votes
13 answers
20k 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 reggiano ...
Sebastian's user avatar
  • 439
27 votes
2 answers
8k views

Why doesn't Greek cuisine use a lot of spices, compared to neighbors?

According to what I know almost all countries in the Mediterranean which surround Greece use a lot of spices in their cuisine. Greece itself has been occupied by such countries for hundreds of years. ...
cheater's user avatar
  • 397
24 votes
6 answers
24k views

Onion and Garlic, a no-no?

I had an Italian flatmate once who was on the brink of lynching me when he saw I used garlic and onion in one dish. He said that - at least in Italian cuisine - thats an absolute no-no. You can use ...
Hans Meiser's user avatar
23 votes
4 answers
20k views

I never succeed in thickening sauces with pasta water. What am I doing wrong?

Every cook praises how starchy pasta water is great for thickening sauces and helping the sauce cling to the noodles. But no matter how much pasta water I add, it never thickens the sauce.Yesterday I ...
Bar Akiva's user avatar
  • 5,855
22 votes
7 answers
7k views

What's a good substitute for basil in pesto sauce?

I'm making some pasta at home with a pesto sauce. The recipe I'm referring to asks for some basil leaves to go along with the pine nuts in the food processor. Unfortunately, I can't find basil where I ...
Yejus's user avatar
  • 331
21 votes
6 answers
9k 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 ...
Joe Casadonte's user avatar
20 votes
11 answers
58k 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 ...
Aaron Thomas's user avatar
18 votes
7 answers
8k views

Traditionally, is prosciutto never to be cooked?

In a discussion about pancetta and prosciutto in sauces (specifically, bolognese), a friend said that "Traditionally, prosciutto is never to be cooked." I have not heard that before. I ...
aqn's user avatar
  • 309
18 votes
3 answers
6k views

Does authentic Italian tiramisu contain large amounts of espresso?

I see a lot of tiramisu recipes that soak savoiardi in pure undiluted espresso coffee. Usually the recipe asks for a cup or more of espresso. As a person who regularly makes and drinks espresso, this ...
Leonid Shevtsov's user avatar
18 votes
8 answers
157k views

Should I use whole eggs or only yolks in Spaghetti alla Carbonara?

I tried to cook spaghetti alla carbonara and searching out I found out that some recipes use whole eggs and some only the egg yolks. Which way gives the better result?
Felissa's user avatar
  • 549
18 votes
11 answers
238k 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 ...
Tim Lytle's user avatar
  • 283
16 votes
5 answers
42k 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 ...
Martin Duys's user avatar
16 votes
8 answers
252k 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 ...
Matt's user avatar
  • 605
15 votes
3 answers
27k views

What is a non-pork substitute for Italian sausage?

We do not have genuine pork Italian sausages here in Israel. When a recipe like Ragu or Bolognese calls for Italian sausage, what meat could be used as a substitute for ground pork, and what ...
Bar Akiva's user avatar
  • 5,855
15 votes
10 answers
47k 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 ...
theresa's user avatar
  • 151
15 votes
3 answers
11k 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 have,...
stark's user avatar
  • 253
14 votes
1 answer
2k views

Does traditional Pesto Genovese contain garlic?

.. I'm hoping a native Genoan can tell me. Every recipe for Pesto Genovese I've found out there includes a fair amount of garlic. But I barely cook the sauce. I really just warm it through, tossing ...
Robin Betts's user avatar
  • 1,905
13 votes
11 answers
42k 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 ...
lukecyca's user avatar
  • 586
13 votes
3 answers
78k 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 ...
spiceyokooko's user avatar
  • 2,523
13 votes
10 answers
15k views

Which ingredient in Italian bread gives it that great taste?

I have looked in many different recipes and tried different things, e.g., brown sugar, diastatic malt, etc, and have gotten pretty good at breadmaking but I can't duplicate that taste of a bakery-made ...
Dennis's user avatar
  • 131
13 votes
3 answers
3k views

Is flouring meat necessary in stews (specifically ossobuco)?

I'm specifically wondering this in the context of ossobuco, but this probably goes for a range of stew recipes. Every ossobuco recipe I've come across tells you to dredge the meat in a (light) coating ...
Ruben van Bergen's user avatar
13 votes
8 answers
23k 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 ...
Nick Hawes's user avatar
13 votes
5 answers
47k views

what makes red tomato sauce turn orange in colour?

I have noticed that tomato sauce (having started with deep red tomatoes) can turn orange. The colour change isn't from mixing in an ingredient of different colour such as cream. It seems to occur in ...
MandoMando's user avatar
  • 9,581
12 votes
6 answers
24k views

A question about browning meat for spaghetti bolognese

I've been told in one form or another: "no colour, no flavour", so when cooking Spaghetti Bolognese I always brown the meat (after chucking in the onions, carrots, celery etc.). The browning does ...
seeker's user avatar
  • 879
12 votes
6 answers
3k 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...
faelady's user avatar
  • 121
12 votes
3 answers
4k 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?
AttilaNYC's user avatar
  • 7,546
12 votes
4 answers
7k 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 ...
Satanicpuppy's user avatar
  • 13.2k
12 votes
2 answers
63k 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 ...
Carey Gregory's user avatar
11 votes
4 answers
3k 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 ...
Binary Worrier's user avatar
11 votes
9 answers
94k 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 ...
paprika's user avatar
  • 530
10 votes
3 answers
7k views

Is there a quintessential Italian hot sauce?

Fill in the blank: Franks is to America what Cholula is to Mexico what Sriracha is to Vietnam what ______ is to Italy. One of my recipes which is a spin on Orichiette with Rapini, calls for hot sauce. ...
gator's user avatar
  • 327
10 votes
1 answer
16k views

How should red wine be used in Spaghetti Bolognese?

The classic Spaghetti Bolognese recipe adds red wine right at the beginning to the fried minced beef until its all absorbed with little liquid remaining. In theory, this makes sense to me in enhancing ...
Physiks lover's user avatar
10 votes
2 answers
10k views

Why specifically use Passata, rather than tomatoes, in Ragu?

When making real Ragu, what really is the specific difference between using tomatoes (so, for say 1kg of meat, a big pile of tomatoes, chopped and cooked-in for many hours as the last step) using ...
Fattie's user avatar
  • 129
10 votes
3 answers
62k 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 ...
notthetup's user avatar
  • 1,185
10 votes
4 answers
7k views

Tiramisu tips tricks and variants [closed]

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 ...
10 votes
3 answers
170k 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?
user1085's user avatar
  • 265
10 votes
3 answers
4k views

Why do we dimple a focaccia?

When I was making a focaccia earlier today, I realised that I've never been told why we dimple them before baking. A quick Googling didn't reveal anything, so I'm asking here: why do we make dimples ...
user141592's user avatar
  • 10.6k
10 votes
1 answer
12k 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 ...
Scott Markwell's user avatar
10 votes
2 answers
41k views

What's the difference between Prosciutto, Jamon Serrano and Speck?

Jamon Serrano and Prosciutto appear to be pretty much the same thing. Both are dried cured (and pressed) pig legs. Speck appears to be the same thing, but made with different cuts of pork. Is there ...
Chris Cudmore's user avatar
10 votes
5 answers
12k 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 ...
Stephen Perelson's user avatar
9 votes
2 answers
12k views

How to prevent the lasagne filling from sliding out?

When I cook lasagne most of the filling slides out between the pages. How do you make the filling stay in its place?
Bar Akiva's user avatar
  • 5,855
9 votes
7 answers
58k views

How to add more toppings to frozen pizza?

I generally buy frozen Pizza Margherita in store for making a quick lunch if I am running out of time. However, I don't really like the taste of the baked Pizza because it is just Tomato and Cheese. I ...
RHLK's user avatar
  • 329
9 votes
3 answers
5k views

What are "fondi di carciofo" called in English?

I would like to know what the English name is for the Italian word fondo di carciofo as I was not able to find it on the Internet. Basically, carciofo means artichoke and fondo means the bottom part (...
John Sonderson's user avatar
9 votes
1 answer
2k views

What is the origin of fish sauce in asia?

wondering about the history/origins of fish sauce, specifically in Asia. I haven't found anything after Googling a bit.. My friend claims that fish sauce was invented in Italy (the Romans?). Can ...
nielsbot's user avatar
  • 193
9 votes
2 answers
10k 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 ...
Mien's user avatar
  • 13.3k