The 7 mistakes non-italians make when cooking italian food
Silvana Lanzetta Artisan Pasta Maker
Italian cuisine is beloved all over the world, but cooking it authentically can be a challenge. In this article, we’ll explore seven mistakes non-Italians make when cooking Italian food and how to avoid them.
As someone who’s spent over 20 years living abroad, I’ve seen my fair share of mistakes and misconceptions about Italian cuisine. We all love the rich flavors, fresh ingredients, and simple elegance of a well-made Italian dish, but let’s be real, not everyone can cook Italian food the way Italians do. In fact, some of the mistakes non-Italians make when trying to cook authentic Italian cuisine are downright hilarious. So, hold onto your fork, and let’s dive into seven mistakes non-italians make when cooking italian food and how to avoid them
Mistake #1: Using too much garlic.
We get it; garlic is delicious. But you don’t need to add a whole head of garlic to your dish. Italians use garlic in moderation, so don’t overpower your dish with garlic or you’ll end up scaring off your dinner guests with your bad breath.
Mistake #2: Overcooking pasta.
We know, we know, you’re just trying to make sure your pasta is cooked all the way through. But Italians like their pasta cooked al dente, which means it should have a bit of a bite to it. Overcooked pasta becomes mushy and loses its texture, making it less enjoyable to eat (and also less digestible!). So, don’t be a pasta musher, and learn to cook it al dente.
“Italian food is seasonal. It is simple. It is nutritionally sound. It is flavorful. It is colorful. It’s all the things that make for a good eating experience, and it’s good for you.”
– Lidia Bastianich, Italian-American celebrity chef
Mistake #3: Overcomplicating recipes.
I kow! You’re trying to impress your dinner guests with a fancy Italian dish. But Italian cuisine is all about simplicity and using fresh, high-quality ingredients. Italians don’t use a lot of spices or sauces to enhance their dishes. So, don’t try to overcomplicate Italian recipes with extra ingredients or fancy cooking techniques. Just keep it simple, and let the natural flavours of the ingredients do the talking!
Mistake #4: The dreaded one-dish wonder.
Oh boy, my nonna would be rolling in her grave if she heard what I’m about to say. Are you ready? Eating pasta, meat, and salad all in one dish is a big no-no in Italian cuisine! I mean, come on, pasta meatballs? That’s sacrilege! That’s not how we eat our meals! Each course is meant to be savoured separately, not mixed together in a haphazard way. So, unless you want to commit a crime against Italian cuisine, serve your pasta separated from your meat and salad, and enjoy each course on its own.
Mistake #5: Over-saucing dishes.
Yes, sauce is an essential component of many Italian dishes, but there’s a difference between adding enough sauce to enhance the flavours and drowning your dish in sauce. Don’t be that person who pours half a bottle of tomato sauce on their pasta. Trust me: in Italian cuisine, less is more!
Mistake #6: Parmesan on a fish based sauce
Ah, the capital sin of adding Parmesan cheese to spaghetti with clams. It’s a mistake that many non-Italians make, but it’s one that makes any Italian cringe.
You see, in Italy, Parmesan cheese is reserved for pasta dishes with tomato-based sauces, cream sauces, and meat-based dishes. Adding Parmesan cheese to a seafood-based dish, like spaghetti with clams, is a big no-no. It’s like adding ketchup to a steak or pineapple on a pizza – it just doesn’t belong!
The flavours of the clams and the sauce in spaghetti with clams are delicate and nuanced, and adding Parmesan cheese can overpower those flavours and throw off the balance of the dish. So, if you want to enjoy a true Italian experience, resist the urge to sprinkle Parmesan cheese on your spaghetti with clams.
Mistake #7: Mixing garlic and onions
While it may seem like a harmless pairing, Italians tend to use them separately in their dishes.
Garlic is used to add a pungent flavour to dishes, while onions add a sweet and slightly savoury flavour. Mixing the two can result in an overpowering and unbalanced taste that can ruin your dish. Again, simplicity is the keyword here!
So there you have it, folks. With these tips in mind, you’ll be able to cook up a storm of delicious Italian dishes without making these hilarious mistakes. Just remember to keep it simple, use fresh ingredients, and let the natural flavours of the ingredients shine. And hey, if all else fails, there’s always pizza delivery!
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