Anyone who follows Italian cooking has heard of Massimo Bottura, the culinary mastermind who revolutionized traditional Italian cooking styles. His Michelin three-starred restaurant in Modena ranked number one in 2016, and continues to be one of the most hard-to-get-into places in Italy due to its long waiting list.
Bottura is known for his bold take on classical Italian cuisine, reinventing dishes as edible works of art with new and innovative techniques. His contribution to Italian cooking has been immense, but there are a few traditional techniques even the maestro still continues to employ that are a huge part of Italian kitchens.
Let’s take a look at some of them:
Perfect for preparing antipasti (appetizers), this method uses olive oil, tomato, basil, and plenty of mozzarella as the four crucial ingredients for the dish. Incorporating a technique long originated in Capri, alla caprese is also used in a variety of staple pasta dishes such as spaghetti alla caprese and fusilli alla caprese.
Another popular method in Italian cooking is al dente, which literally means ‘to the teeth’. This is a special way of cooking pasta such that when you bite it, it’s not soft and mushy like usual but instead rather firm.
This form of preparing pasta is a unique way of cooking it, leaving it almost undercooked. It’s used in dishes that require the pasta dish to be cooked a second time, and a similar technique is also sometimes used in cooking vegetables.
This particular cooking method is called so because of the use of brick—or mattone—for applying pressure during the process. Using a heavy tile or brick is a common way of applying pressure to the item being cooked, and is widely used while grilling or sautéing. Meat, in particular, is prepared in this manner and this cooking method certainly brings about an added flavor to the dish.
We’ve all heard of the famous Bolognese sauce! As the name suggests, the cooking method behind this particular sauce originates from the Bolognese region although it has since made its way to several parts of the world. Alla Bolognese is basically a way of cooking together meat and vegetables in a thick tomato sauce on low heat, over a period of several hours.
Minced meat is the most common type of meat used while preparing this delicacy, alongside onion, carrot, and celery. To further enhance the flavor, cream, milk, or red wine may be added towards the end of the cooking process. A popular choice of meal, the sauce is typically served with flat pasta such as fettuccine or tagliatelle.
You don’t have to be a Michelin star chef to try out these cooking methods! Surprise your family with a home-cooked traditional Italian meal and savor those unique flavors!
About ‘The Italian Guru’
Christopher V. Carovillano is a first-generation Italian-American whose passion about the Italian philosophy of life has earned him the nickname “The Italian Guru”. His blog and YouTube Channel are dedicated to promoting the Italian culture and connecting with his many followers by sharing real life experiences.