Italians really eat chicken without pasta
Italian cuisine: the worst mistakes when Germans cook Italian
Buon Appetito! Fresh ingredients, strong flavors and varied dishes: Italian cuisine is one of the most popular in the world. Connoisseurs appreciate the varied delicacies from antipasti to pizza, pasta and fish specialties to delicious tiramisu. The dishes are not only tasty in the restaurant, they also inspire many a hobby chef to cook them at home. But between pasta with tomato sauce and a successful pasta dish "all 'italiana" there are often worlds.
Bringing the real Italian taste into your own kitchen is not that easy. Often the dishes lack the Mediterranean pizzazz or they just taste too German. This is due to mistakes in the ingredients or the preparation.
Ketchup in tomato sauce - a deadly sin!
It starts with the tomato sauce. "A common mistake is to use ketchup as a flavor enhancer," explains Alessio Giardini. The native Italian and cooking expert came to Düsseldorf two years ago from Pesaro in northern Italy and runs the culinary portal "Itaku.de" there, which reports on the highlights of Italian cuisine. To soften the sour taste of the tomatoes, Gardini recommends adding a tablespoon of sugar to the sauce instead of ketchup. That rounds off the taste.
Cream has no place in the carbonara
The fact that spaghetti carbonara is often prepared with cream in many German restaurants is due to a misunderstanding of Italian cuisine. "The original recipe calls for egg yolks to make the sauce creamy, not cream!" Says Giardini. Since the egg yolk sets quickly, it must be mixed with the fried bacon and pasta and - what is important - served immediately.
Please not muddy, but "al dente"
Unfortunately, pasta in this country is often overcooked. Giardini advises the following: Since salt increases the boiling temperature, it is only added when the water is already boiling. Only then does the pasta go into the pot. "It should be noted that each type of pasta has its own cooking time," says Giardini. A minute too much could spoil the result. The perfect pasta is "al dente", i.e. firm to the bite.
The cooking time recommendation on the packaging serves as a guide. If you want to be sure that the pasta is actually cooked to the point, you should use a fork to get a noodle out of the pot before pouring it off and test it for the correct bite.
Do not use oil when pouring
Mistakes can also be made when draining the pasta. The addition of oil is not recommended here. Otherwise an oil film will form around the pasta, which will prevent the sauce from sticking well to the pasta. In Germany you often add oil so that the pasta doesn't stick together. However, this is unnecessary if you have done everything correctly so far. "Noodles that aren't overcooked don't stick together anyway," says Giardini. On the other hand, it is important to mix the pasta with the sauce immediately after draining it so that it does not become hard.
When preparing the spaghetti, the look also plays an important role. The noodles should be on the plate for a long time. "It is completely unnecessary to break the spaghetti before cooking so that it fits better into the pot," says the cooking expert. On the other hand, it is important to use a sufficiently large pot. Rule of thumb: one liter of water per 100 grams of pasta. By the way: In Italy they use coarse sea salt (sale grosso). Since the grains are larger, you automatically use less than with fine salt.
Parmesan cheese does not go well with seafood
Anyone who has ordered a risotto with seafood, linguine with salmon or spaghetti with scampi in an Italian restaurant should not be disappointed if the waiter does not serve fresh Parmesan cheese with it. "Italian cuisine would never combine fish with cheese," explains Giardini. The reason for this is that the strong taste of Parmesan overlay the fine aroma of fish, seafood and shellfish.
Pasta and sauce have to go together
Real pasta lovers know that you can eat pasta every day of the year without having the same thing on your plate twice. There are hundreds of different types of pasta - short and long, round or flat, filled or colored. What many amateur cooks do not know: Every type of pasta requires a different sauce. Thicker sauces with meat or vegetables go well with short tube noodles. The thinner the pasta, the lighter the sauce should be. Very important: do not drown the pasta in sauce. Giardini: "With the Italians, pasta and sauce are always in a balanced relationship." That means: The sauce should just be enough to cover the pasta.
Noodles are everything - just not a side dish!
For Italians, pasta is not a simple side dish. Giardini explains why: "Pasta is a 'primo piatto' in Italian cuisine, that is, a first course." Meat or fish dishes, on the other hand, are a "secondo piatto" (second course). Traditional side dishes would be a light salad, potatoes or bread - but never noodles.
Cream does not make the tiramisu creamy
Another misconception is that cream belongs to tiramisu. "In fact, mascarpone and eggs make this delicate dessert creamy," corrects Giardini. Variations with quark and fruit may be delicious - but they have nothing to do with Italian cuisine.
There are also a few important rules to keep in mind when preparing an Italian salad. They mainly affect the dressing: "Mayonnaise and yoghurt have no place here and disturb the aroma," says Giardini. "Traditionally, salads are only dressed with oil and vinegar or a little lemon. Everything else turns them into heavy dishes that also pose a challenge to digestion," says the expert.
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