Basic pasta- Hot or cold, with whatever you like

This is a guest post.

Anyone who knows what real Italian cooking is supposed to taste like knows that the pasta is one of the major issues in good quality Italian food. The genuine article is made from durum wheat, which gives a very reliable, consistent and tasty cooking flour. The purists of Italian cooking will also tell you that you need good kitchen equipment like modern refrigerators and utensils. That’s not a commercial, either- It refers to the need for efficiency when cooking Italian food. This food can be served hot or cold. It has to be kept fresh, and good quality is the minimum requirement.

Italian pasta dishes are all about freshness. The Italians rarely use processed ingredients. We haven’t quite got space here for a full description of pasta-making, but it’s simple enough. You use good quality flour, eggs, and salt. The result is fresh pasta, and it can be used to make so many dishes you could start your own takeout.

Cooking essentials

Before you even attempt to cook any pasta dishes, you need to know a few things:

  • Olive oil is a primary ingredient in Italian cooking. It’s used to provide very good quality oils to sometimes demanding dishes where Western and Northern European ingredients like butter and other cooking oils really aren’t appropriate. Olive oil is critical in preparation of sauces and meat dishes, too.
  • The cheeses really matter. Italian cheeses are a whole family of different types of cheese, and the choice of cheeses used in cooking for specific dishes is very important. Try to follow the recipes very closely.
  • Learn how to use and mix the herbs and spices properly. Some recipes are very complex in terms of their range of herbs and spices, and because the emphasis is on freshness, the balance of herbs and spices needs to be carefully watched.

The real secrets are expertise and good cooking equipment. The traditional chefs use wood fired ovens, and it’s worth your while to invest in a top brand chef oven to get the same effect.

These are just some of the dishes you can make:

Green bean pesto- Pasta strips with succulent green beans. Delicious and extremely cheap, as well as being healthy food.

Ravioli- There are endless ways of making this dish, but you’ll find that that’s the true secret of ravioli- It’s an incredibly flexible dish, and it’s never dull. Once you know how to make it, you can literally experiment and try everything.

Fettuccine Alfredo- The original 1920s creamy pasta, a dreamy pleasure for the taste buds with garlic, Parmesan cheese, zucchini and parsley.

Pomodoro Tomato Pasta- Often made with beans and/or olives, “pomodoro” means the tasty Italian tomatoes, and they really get to show off, producing a dazzling range of tastes with the herbs (fresh basil is a true delight) and spices.

Linguini- This dish is another favorite for the experienced chefs, often using flavoring from chicken broth or even wine to bring out the taste of the pasta and Parmesan. There are regional dishes and specialist chef dishes for linguini, and you can research the possibilities for almost any ingredients you can imagine.

Drooling already? You’re not alone. Start with the basic dishes and develop your fluency with cooking pasta. Don’t be surprised if you suddenly become very popular.