How to make restaurant style Italian food at home

We all love and crave Italian food. But eating out daily might not be the best option and a viable one.
So why not dish out some healthy Italian fare at home? Below are tips on how to cook Italian food at home like a pro.

1. Keep it simple

It is a cuisine where we can put together a dish with just two ingredients. The goal is to bring out the natural flavours of ingredients rather than pile a lot on top of each other. The less you do to a dish the better it is. In Italy traditionally fridges are empty. A trip to the market is made every day. It’s all about freshness.

2. Stir, stir and stir

Always salt the water while boiling pasta—lots of it. You can never over-salt the pasta; you can under-salt it. Take the pasta out of the boiling pot a minute before al dente and put them straight into the frying pan. Stir it together with the sauce like you would stir a risotto. The starch from the pasta will thicken the sauce and make it creamy. If you whip it up properly it will look like you have added cream to your pasta. It’s an amazing trick. If you are making a tomato-based sauce always go for the best quality tomatoes. Good tomatoes will generally cost only 5 per cent more than the average ones but they will make all the difference to your Italian dish.

3. Use fresh herbs

This is one of the most important tips for making good pasta. Always use fresh herbs like parsley, sage, basil, or tarragon and add them towards the end. If you add herbs in the cooking process, they will lose their natural colour and flavour.

4. Flavour your oils

Just warm up some olive oil (don’t make it too hot) and throw in spices and herbs. You can use rosemary, oregano, thyme, garlic, bay leaves or basil. Just be careful not to heat the oil too much if you are using fresh herbs. But the oil can be warmer if you are using dried herbs, as it will bring out the natural oils from the herbs. Let it cool overnight before bottling it up. Use this oil to flavour your pasta, dip bread, and drizzle over fish.

5. Up your risotto game

To make a good risotto, always toast the rice first. Just heat some oil and toast the rice till they become shiny. Then throw in the onions and quickly add the white wine (go for a dry white wine, not a sweet one). If you don’t evaporate all the wine it will result in a risotto that is too acidic and indigestible as well. So make sure that the wine evaporates completely before you cover the rice with stock and cook it slowly. Take it off the fire when it’s still a bit al dente; cover it with a cling wrap and leave it for five minutes. Now comes the secret—drop some chilled butter and stir it all up. This will make your risotto creamy.

6. Straight from the oven

It’s the easiest way to impress people. Take a baking pan, place the protein, all the vegetables along with potatoes, olives, capers and sundried tomatoes and cover it with a bit of wine and water (or vegetable stock if you have one). The protein has to be covered at least 2/3 by the liquid. Bake it for half an hour. Now comes the pro tip—take the meat out while it’s still undercooked, cover and let it rest while you enjoy a drink or two with your guests. The longer you rest it the better it will be. The idea is to not spend too much time in the kitchen. Even if you are making pasta, do a baked version.

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