A bit like the Irish pub in every city syndrome, so too you will find a little Italian dive wherever you find yourself in the world. Keen to learn how to cook like only a rotund Italian Mama does? Listen up, this one’s for you…
Ditch the spoon
Contrary to popular belief, a true Italian would never eat pasta with a spoon. The one and only time this would happen is if the pasta was in a soup. And like all foods, some flavours and combinations work while others don’t. If you want to have a pasta in soup then use angel hair or capellini. The strands are fine and delicate which make them perfect for a broth or soup. You would still need a fork to twirl the strands and then putting it into your spoon with some broth to enjoy the full combination. If you’re not enjoying a pasta-soup combo, don’t use a spoon… ever.
Cheese or no cheese
If you’re putting on cheese after sauce, then you’re doing it wrong. Instead, swop them around (cheese then sauce) for added stickiness and better blending of flavours. To fully enjoy a pasta, make sure you know when to add cheese and when to skip it. Take for example a pasta that has any kind of fish or seafood in. Would you have cheese with it on its own? No, so don’t do it with your pasta! For dishes that have meat, chicken or veggies in a sauce that is less saucy, go wild and dare we say it… cheesy.
If you’re ever in Italy and sit down for a pizza, don’t be shocked when the waitress delivers a thin, crispy, individual plate of pizza that is uncut. Pizza in Italy is served straight from the oven so that you can decide how you’d like to eat it. A knife and fork is provided alongside your pizza for you to dig in. If you’re not headed there any time soon, order your pizza uncut instead of slices and teach your local pizzaiolo (person who makes pizzas) how to eat pizza in true Italian style.
Watch what you drink
To Italians, food and drink are more than a meal, they’re a fine art. And like all forms of art, there are rules and regulations that need to be followed for a meal to be thoroughly enjoyed. The first rule to enjoying a meal is that you must have drink. Here, there are only two options: wine or water, nothing else. At home and in good Italian restaurants, the only beverages served during lunch or dinner are wine (red, white, rosé or Prosecco) and water frizzante (carbonated) or naturale (still/no gas). Savouring the true taste of each ingredient is of utmost importance to Italians as well as those who truly love Italian cooking, so juices, sodas, cocktails, and even sugarless ice tea all interfere with the flavour of the food.
Keep these tips in mind and eat like a true Italian anywhere in the world.