Essentials for Italian Cooking

If you love Italian cooking, youll appreciate how satisfying and fun it can be. Of course, any cooking is a lot easier when you have the right equipment to hand. If youre new to the wonders of Italian cooking, then here are some essentials you should have ready in your kitchen arsenal:

A high quality 8-inch knife is essential

Most Italian cooking is done over the stove, so youll need skillets and braising pans.

Extra virgin olive oil is a must

A vegetable peeler and a garlic press. As garlic is an essential ingredient in Italian cuisine, a good press for both small and large cloves is ideal.

Fresh garlic and onions

A selection of fresh herbs, rosemary, oregano, sage and basil are perfect

Tomatoes, of the fresh or whole canned variety

A cheese grater for all that lovely fresh cheese. A rotary grater is handy for not grating your fingers!

An interesting variety of pastas.

A colander is also very useful for draining off pasta and veggies. They come in all kinds of materials but just make sure yours is big enough for your needs.

A good quality wooden stirring spoon is a must for authentic Italian cooking. Wood doesnt conduct heat which makes them perfect for stirring sauces.

A ladle with a long handle, suitable for using with sauces and soups.

A few different kinds of scissors are also handy to have to around. Herb scissors for snipping or sturdier ones for cutting meat are available.

Whatever youre cooking, a timer is incredibly useful. Make sure you cook to perfection with a timer to tell you when everythings ready to go.

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So, thats handy guide for ideal items to have available, but here are some general Italian cooking tips:

Many people say you should add food to cook in hot oil, but not so in Italian cooking. Flavours are drawn out better when the two are heated together.

When sauting garlic, only do long enough for flavour to be released, which is when you begin to smell it.

When sauting, add a little olive oil to the butter to prevent it from burning.

For the very best flavours, chop the herbs just before you plan to use them.

Try to avoid undercooking your veggies if you want maximum flavour.

Eat like the Italians and serve your salad after the main course, before dessert.

To make peeling tomatoes easier, try using a sawing motion instead with the peeler. Youll find it easier than moving the peeler straight down.

You dont always have to use Parmesan cheese. A good tip, especially for red sauces is to try Romano cheese in its place.

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