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70 votes
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Fry onions and garlic before adding to the sauce?

Sauteing onions: Softens them, most people prefer not to run into raw onions in their sauce. Onions will cook in a sauce, but very slowly, so frying them before makes sure they will be soft even if ...
GdD's user avatar
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66 votes
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Why doesn't Greek cuisine use a lot of spices, compared to neighbors?

The question of "why not" is difficult to answer definitively, or really at all. We can't ask folks 2000 years ago why they didn't care about cumin. However, there are some historical ...
FuzzyChef's user avatar
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48 votes
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I never succeed in thickening sauces with pasta water. What am I doing wrong?

You seem to have the wrong expectations. No, it will never be as thickening as a cornstarch slurry. If that's the level of thickening you expect, you are really better off using the slurry. Don't ...
rumtscho's user avatar
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40 votes

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

If we're talking about the big classic pesto alla genovese, then unfortunately... There is no substitute. Basil is the majority ingredient in pesto. None of the other suggestions here will taste even ...
J...'s user avatar
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37 votes

Fry onions and garlic before adding to the sauce?

You can find out. Split your sauce into 2 batches. Add onions and garlic raw to one and sautéed to another. Some people like the sharp strong taste of those things raw. In the US that is not ...
Willk's user avatar
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34 votes

Does authentic Italian tiramisu contain large amounts of espresso?

A typical tiramisu will serve a good number of people, so each serving is unlikely to have more than about a shot's worth of espresso. There's a limit to what the savoiardi will absorb so you'd ...
dbmag9's user avatar
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32 votes
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What's a good substitute for basil in pesto sauce?

The good news is, you can make pesto almost out of any green using the same process and proportions as with basil -- it just changes the flavor profile. I make pesto-style sauces out of chives, ...
franko's user avatar
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32 votes

What do PY, L, and E mean on the label of this olive oil product?

I read these as PY20/21 Production year 2020/2021 - or harvest season, which is typically between October and February, but may vary. L2022.03.28 Label date, probably also when the oil was bottled. ...
Stephie's user avatar
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31 votes
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Is there a quintessential Italian hot sauce?

Bottled hot sauce is not much in demand in Italy. I'm in central Italy, but I think in the south where spicy food is popular, chili is added fresh or dried to a dish rather than through a bottled ...
S. Tollefsen's user avatar
29 votes
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Does traditional Pesto Genovese contain garlic?

According to the CONSORZIO DEL PESTO GENOVESE, which defines what is considered official Pesto Genovese, it does contain garlic. They suggest that traditionally it contained less garlic than the ...
Joe M's user avatar
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24 votes

Traditionally, is prosciutto never to be cooked?

'Never to be cooked'… nope. Cook it if you need it cooked. Saltimbocca alla Romana I'd think to be traditional enough to refute this easily. Jamie Oliver's recipe. There are a million others, but the ...
Tetsujin's user avatar
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23 votes

Traditionally, is prosciutto never to be cooked?

The problem with saying the word "traditionally" in regard to Italian cooking is that traditions vary wildly from region to region (and often village to village). The person you were talking ...
LightBender's user avatar
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23 votes

Traditionally, is prosciutto never to be cooked?

I believe I can explain where your friend's belief comes from. There are three main traditional cured pork products used in Italian cuisine: prosciutto, pancetta, and guanciale. Of these, (certified) ...
FuzzyChef's user avatar
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22 votes
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How should red wine be used in Spaghetti Bolognese?

In general, when meat or vegetables are fried in hot fat, sugar and amino acid particles are formed. To capture this roasted aroma caused by this reaction (called Maillard reaction), you pour water or ...
Hannah's user avatar
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19 votes

How to prevent the lasagne filling from sliding out?

Time...lasagna needs to allowed to rest for a while before serving. At least an hour. If you try to serve it straight out of the oven it will slide all over on you. Time will allow the cheeses and ...
Cos Callis's user avatar
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19 votes

Fry onions and garlic before adding to the sauce?

You can also use ‘layering’, particularly with the garlic. Garlic fried in oil at the beginning of the process contributes rich, mellow, savory flavors, but a little finely minced or shaved garlic ...
RalphMudhouse's user avatar
17 votes

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

Think of your pasta water as a tool for emulsification, rather than "thickening." Adding pasta water to your condiment pan has the benefit of helping the condiment form an emulsified sauce that ...
moscafj's user avatar
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17 votes
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Does authentic Italian tiramisu contain large amounts of espresso?

As a suppliment, I'll address your questions regarding "authenticity": Tiramisu is not a traditional dish; it's a modern restaurant dish dating back only to the 1960's (but see other answer, ...
FuzzyChef's user avatar
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16 votes

Is there a quintessential Italian hot sauce?

I have family both in the very north and the very south of Italy. In the north, spicy food is not super common but there is usually a jar of dried chilies in olive oil somewhere in the kitchen and ...
ThePainfull's user avatar
15 votes

Is there a quintessential Italian hot sauce?

The only one I know of is the Calabrese Spread/Sauce. Whenever I see spicy food in Italy they mostly use hot chili. Other than that, oil flavored with spicy chili.
Max's user avatar
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15 votes

Are Feroli (italy) and Olimp (Greece) legitimate brands of extra virgin olive oil?

Olimp olive oil is an olive oil produced by Gold Line Group, an European olive oil company. Whether or not it is 100% Greek virgin olive oil is hard to determine; per the book Extra Virginity, the ...
FuzzyChef's user avatar
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14 votes
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Why specifically use Passata, rather than tomatoes, in Ragu?

The primary reason is definitely convenience. If you don't want skin and seeds in your sauce, then you have to do some work to avoid it. Yes, it's possible, e.g. passing through a food mill, or ...
Cascabel's user avatar
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14 votes

What aspects define how present the garlic taste in an aglio e olio pasta becomes?

You may simply need more garlic, but if you're after punchy garlic, cooking it less might be better. Combining these two ideas, you might want to fry the amount of garlic called for in the recipe (...
Chris H's user avatar
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13 votes

Is flouring meat necessary in stews (specifically ossobuco)?

I'd say the reasoning is three-fold. It cooks it first, in oil, so it's not going to go lumpy when liquid is added, same premise as a roux but one-pot. It saves having to make up a slurry later, ...
Tetsujin's user avatar
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12 votes
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How to break mince beef apart for a bolognese, and then brown it

Your profile shows you live in the UK, so unless you buy your mince from 'posh' butchers rather than a supermarket, then water is already an issue - your meat already has 5% added before you buy it*. ...
Tetsujin's user avatar
  • 29.8k
11 votes

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

As moscafj said, pasta water cannot be understood as a thickening agent at all. In fact, I understand it as a thinning agent: after your sauce has boiled down to more of a paste (great taste, but not ...
leftaroundabout's user avatar
11 votes
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Why should you serve risotto on a hot plate?

What moscafj says is true, but it doesn't explain specifically for risotto. Basically, the creaminess** is because of a starch-based solution. Starch based solutions are temperature dependent and ...
Joe's user avatar
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11 votes
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Why is bolognese cooked for so long?

There are several phases meat goes through when simmering - a better-educated chef than myself could probably give them all names, but with no formal education, this is what I've noticed over the ...
Tetsujin's user avatar
  • 29.8k
10 votes
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what makes red tomato sauce turn orange in colour?

Update: It's been a few years but there now is a definite answer to this question. @PegDat is correct. The Tomatoes Oxidize when they are exposed to air and turn orange. This was proved using ...
MandoMando's user avatar
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10 votes
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What is the traditional way to layer a lasagna?

Traditionally, you start with a layer of pasta at the bottom, then go ragu-bechamel-lasagne-ragu-bechamel-lasagne, and finish with a layer of bechamel directly on top of the last pasta layer, followed ...
canardgras's user avatar
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