It’s difficult to find someone who dislikes Italian food. Pizza, spaghetti, Alfredo, lasagna — these simple, crowd-pleasing, hearty dishes have become staples in American cooking. Even better? These meals are also some of the easiest to make at home. Whether you make your spaghetti noodles from scratch or prefer to stick to the boxed kind, you can bring even more true Italian flavors and experiences to your kitchen with a few tips.
Pasta is one of the most important building blocks of Italian food, so cooking it well will take nearly every dish up a notch. One tip: don’t add oil to your cooking pasta, but do add salt as soon as the water starts to boil. The salt will help make the boiling point of the water higher, allowing your pasta to cook evenly. The ideal ratio is 2 teaspoons of salt for every 3 ounces of pasta and 30 ounces of water. Once your pasta is cooked, don’t rinse it. Sauce will stick to it better if you don’t. Instead, to keep the noodles from getting soggy as they sit in the warm pot or sauce, prepare them “al dente,” or just a little stiff when you bite through. You can learn more pasta-cooking tips from the experts at Academia Barilla.
The fresher, the better! Italian cooks are known for using fresh ingredients, and really any food tastes better straight from the garden or farm. For most of us, though, it isn’t always possible to get produce from a farmer’s market, so trying to choose produce that is in season at the grocery store is the next best thing. When that isn’t possible, simply making sauces and other recipes from scratch with the ingredients you have will add an extra special flavor to your dish. Learn more about choosing just the right ingredients for your Italian dishes.
Spaghetti and meatballs is one of the most iconic Italian dishes. However, often people are more comfortable with the spaghetti than they are with the meatballs. These don’t have to be intimidating, though. There are recipes galore just waiting to be tried and modified to fit your tastes and needs. No matter what recipe you use, however, before you form your meatballs, make sure you cook a little sample patty of your meat mixture with some oil in a pan to make sure your spices and seasonings taste the way you want them to. Now is the time to adjust! When they’re ready to cook, avoid the oil-splattered mess of frying by putting the meatballs on a pan to bake or broil them. Read more meatball-cooking tips and find delicious recipes.
Want to learn more about cooking Italian food? Join us at our Traditional Italian Cooking class. Call 405.377.3333 with questions or register here. To find out about more courses like this sign up for our monthly e-newsletter. View all of our upcoming courses in our digital catalog.
Abby McCain is the Communications and Marketing Secretary at Meridian Technology Center.