Secrets of Italian Cooking

By Beth Klemick – I have noticed and maybe those of you reading our entries have as well, I often blog about topics that are not necessarily my strengths in life: packing, patience to research airfare and now cooking. When I prepare an Italian meal it generally consists of boiling the water, tossing in the store bought pasta and opening a jar of Ragu. “Crazy!” says my sister-in-law the proverbial Italian woman and cook, whose lasagna and eggplant parm are out of this world. From my sister-in-law's kitchen, and her good graces in combination with watching the PBS cooking series with Lidia Matticchio Bastianich, I am slowly learning the secrets of Italian culinary traditions.
Italian cooking is among the richest and most varied. Central Italian food seems to be lighter than Northern Italian cooking, for example. And don't forget there is also Southern Italian cooking from the regions of Sicily, Abruzzi, Molise, Campinia to name a few. The dishes prepared although different in each region are all exquisite to the palate in my opinion. All regional Italian cooking and their master chefs seem one very important secret in common: good Italian food is based on good ingredients. Some of the ingredients of much importance in Italian cooking can be olives and olive oil, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, salt, porcini mushrooms, truffles, tomato paste, and hot peppers. My sister-in-law would add that fresh, homemade pasta is a must!
If are not as fortunate as I am to have to have a wonderful sister-in-law who is a great Italian cook to show you first hand, Lidia's PBS series is a wonderful way to learn more about Italian cooking. Or check out online within your given city or community, they could very well be offering classes for some hands on experience for the novice Italian chef. Buon appetito!

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