24 Tips for Cooking in Authentic Italian Style (19-24)

These are the last round of Italian cooking tips before we dive into Southern Italian cooking! I'm hoping that this Online Culinary Tour of Puglia will share the region's unique combination of cooking styles. Puglia was conquered by the Greeks, the Romans, the Turks, the French, the Spanish, and even African Sultans: That's one exciting culinary history! So be prepared, this Friday we'll make Homemade limoncello.

Tip 19 - Roast Bell Peppers
Roasted pepper adds umph to any dish and it's simple to prepare. I don't even rub olive oil on the outside. If you have a gas stove you can rose it right over the burner without a pan. If not, simply put a red, yellow, or orange bell pepper in a toaster over. Put it on toast. Turn the pepper when one side has blackened. You're finished when it almost looks like a chunk of coal (no worries about burning this one). Take the pepper out, let it cool, then watch how easily the charred parts come off when you scrape them with a fork (see below). What's left over is perfectly roasted bell pepper.

Tip 20 - Don't Burn the Garlic
Burned garlic can make an entire sauce or pasta dish taste bitter, whereas perfectly sauteed garlic is divine.
Also, don't confuse caramelizing garlic, which is delicious, with burning garlic.

Tip 21 - Blanch
Blanching is simply a method of removing the skin from vegetables (usually tomatoes or peppers) or nuts (usually almonds), and it regularly appears in Italian recipes. It's so simple and so useful that it's worth learning by heart. To blanch tomatoes: 1. Boil a pot of water 2. Take the tomatoes, cut off the tops (the part with the stem that you would usually discard) and cut one slit in the side 3. Boil for 15 seconds - 1 minute 4. Prepare a large bowl with ice water 5. Drain tomatoes, plunge into ice water, let cool, then watch how easily the tomato skin just falls off. This will turn your tomato sauce from chunky to smooth.

Tip 22 - "A Turn of the Pan of Olive Oil"

This is a simple way of measuring olive oil without measuring spoons. If a recipe says 3 turns of the pan of olive oil, you simply pour olive oil around the pan 3 times.

Tip 23 - Make Italian Breadcrumbs

These are breadcrumbs with a little added kick. Put breadcrumbs in a large bowl. Dice some garlic as small as possible and combine. Add oregano, salt, and pepper qb. Evenly spread the mixture on a baking pan, then lightly toast in a toaster oven or in the stove.

Tip 24 - Share What You Know

Whether its recipes, feedback on recipes, tips, additions, subtractions, or time-saving techniques, we all want to hear it. We can't gather in the piazza, but we can get together for dinner.

We'll make Homemade Limoncello next Tuesday!


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