Friday, August 30, 2013

WHAT IS THE ITALIAN STYLE IN CUISINE?


This is a dish of Manicotti with Zucchini, Zucchini Blossoms and Summer Truffles.
Let's examinate the ingredients.
Main ingredient: 
Pasta.
The Pasta is a protected food in Italy, meaning that , according to a National law, it must be made exclusively with Hard Wheat Flour. that is Semolina and water. Not even salt. That's is why you would never find the list of the ingredients on a package of Italian Pasta. That is why, as well, the Italian Pasta had that particular texture, as cooked, commonly known as "al dente".
What matters, in a refined dish, is the choice of the shape. Not every shape goes with any sauce. The sauce can be enclosed in a "open envelope", kept on by ridges when it is smooth and velvety, spread around in little chunks. Thus, the texture of the sauce is fundamental in the choice of the pasta shape. 
Italians have been trained about this, that is why they can "improvvise in a professional way".
Other Ingredients ( I am listing them in the same order I put them in the skillet)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil 
The one I used is home-made. The varieties of olives are Moraiolo, Pendolino, Frantoio in a nicely balanced blend. It is not necessary to produce olive oil at home, of course, as there are many very good on comerce. My raccomandation is: buy always Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
Garlic:
Just  a hint of it, pressed down with a pich of salt with the blade of a knife, in order to obrain a cream.
Zucchini:
I grate them to get short filaments. In this way they cook in one minute and they go anywhere, spreading their sweetness:  when you toss your pasta in the sauce, they coat it well.
Zucchini Blossoms:


Nice, open, bright yellow, looking at you in the first light of the day, when you go to the orchard to pick them. I know: not everybody has this opportunity.... but... have you read about vegetable gardens on the balcony? it is worthy to try.
Salt and a little white pepper:
The salt helps the cooking as it takes out the water. Pepper does... what it does.
Tartufo Nero Scorzone:


I bough it in the morning and cooked it at lunch. The truffle was super-fresh as I went to buy it in the country side from a friend who goes to pick truffles and he went just that morning. The truffle I used was 70 cm ( 2 feet) deep under ground a few hours before I cooked it.
It is the summer truffle that is still found in this season. It is not as strong as the "King White Truffle", but it has its own delicate and appealing aroma. I grate some into the sauce and cook for 30 sec, then I slice some more on the finished dish.
Grated Parmigiano Reggiano:
The snowfall of Parmigiano Reggiano is always appreciated.

At this point, the questions are two:
- Is this dish difficult to cook?
- What is Italian Style?

-This dsh is not difficult: it is easy in the execution and simple as it contains a few ingredients. What is difficult is to find the right ingredients. I have to admit that Italians are lucky for that.

- Italian Style in Cuisine is: the capability of combining ingredients in simple way. 
It is not necessary the ingredients are rare or expensive: all the foods have the same "dignity". It is the market that makes them expensive or cheap. Think about the truffle: would you ever have tought that an ugly and dirty "something" buried in the ground would have been so delicious?
In this recipes poor ingredients like pasta and zucchini are mixed with an expensive one: they enhance each other. Without either one  of them the dish is not the same.
Then: details, care, attention: these are the ingredients which are never mentioned. Pay attention to not burn the garlic; do not put tooooo much garlic; do not cook the zucchini toooo long; keep the pasta al dente; measure the right quantity of olive oil, do not make to sauce dry or greasy...... and so on.

Create  your own recipe and make it "special" with your passion.
This is my Philosophy of teaching.

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