Although Italian food is not that hard to crack, despite many efforts it is difficult to get the exact restaurant-like flavours in the Italian food cooked at home. This is because Italian food is an amalgamation of special herbs and ingredients that gives it its true authentic taste.
Italian cuisine has become extremely popular in different parts of the world. Indians especially enjoy Italian food and almost all parties are incomplete without at least one dish from the Italian cuisine. Many fancy Italian restaurants have also opened in different parts of the country that serve scrumptious food. It is not practical to eat one's favourite food at a restaurant that frequently so a more convenient approach is to make it at home.
Video Credits: YouTube
The internet is flooded with millions of recipes for pasta, garlic, bread, lasagna, risotto, and whatnot. But somehow, even after following these recipes exactly from top to bottom, it is hard to get the same flavours as restaurants. This is because Italian cooking is simply not just about the technique and basic ingredients. Certain ingredients form the base of Italian dishes and give them their true taste. Here is a collated list of five essential ingredients that give life to Italian food and are a must-have while cooking anything Italian at home.
Looking closely, one will realise that a delicious tomato purée or sliced tomatoes are a critical part of Italian cuisine. Whether it's an Italian salad, bruschetta, pizza or pasta, tomatoes are an essential contributor to these dishes. Mostly, one has to make tomato purée for dishes like pasta, pizza, and even lasagna. Irrespective of what form of tomatoes have to be used, it is very important to only go for fresh tomatoes. The key to making delicious Italian food is using fresh tomatoes and then using them instantly. Canned tomato purée or chopped tomatoes spoil the flavour of Italian dishes.
Image Credits: Unsplash
Garlic is also a very important part of Italian cuisine. This is a common thing between Indian and Italian cuisine as both of these cuisines rely on garlic for a lot of strong flavours in the food. Generally, the right way to use garlic in Italian food is by sautéing it with some onions in a bit of oil. Not only does it give a nice aroma to the food but leaves its subtle garlicky taste which is enough to transform a dish instantly. Try not to use the ready-made ginger garlic paste that is available in the market. All of these pastes have a certain artificial flavour. Use fresh garlic cloves as they have an unmatched fresh flavour.
Oregano is the quintessential Italian herb which is used as a final sprinkle on Italian food to change the way a particular dish tastes. This herb is a very popular seasoning that is used in dishes like pizza, garlic, bread and even pasta. Oregano is a complex herb and has layers of flavours. Other than obviously using oregano, some other popular herbs that one can use while cooking Italian food at home include Rosemary, thyme and basil. All these herbs are an important part of Italian cuisine and are authentically used to cook food in Italy.
Image Credits: Unsplash
There is no point in cooking Italian food without using ample cheese. Cheese is the heart and soul of Italian food and one of the primary reasons why Italian food tastes so good. Using good quality mozzarella cheese is an easy way to cook delicious Italian food at home. Other than mozzarella cheese, one can also go for ricotta as well as Gorgonzola cheese. The approaches to cooking a particular dish with the different types of cheeses are a bit different from each other. Although the process remains the same, the temperature setting for the oven gets a bit different. A person may choose the type of cheese as per their preference.
* Olive Oil
Olive oil is the only type of vegetable oil that is used to cook Italian food. Italians have been using this oil for ages and swear by its taste and health benefits. There is barely any recipe in the whole Italian cuisine that doesn't use a bit of olive oil. While making Italian food at home, a lot of people like to use butter instead of olive oil. Small changes like these can make a huge difference. Olive oil has a very light texture and also a unique refreshing flavour that provides a perfect base to the pizza, lasagna and pasta. These delicious flavours can be recreated at home by using some extra virgin olive oil. One must always go for premium quality olive oil and stay away from any cheap or fake product.
These are some staple Italian ingredients that are a predominant part of Italian cuisine. It is crucial to use all these ingredients if one wants to ace Italian cooking at home.