Quick Recipes and Easy

What Are The Ingredients Of The Best Italian Recipes?

It might come as a surprise that Italian cooking doesn’t exist.
Italy was united only in 1861 and the history of this country is so fragmented that every city and village has its own, ferociously guarded traditions.

For centuries neighboring towns have looked at each other as enemies, stubbornly refusing to share language, traditions and cooking recipes. Even the name of common food is jealously guarded: for example the same sea snails are called in Ancona “crocette”, in Senigallia (30 km away) “garagoi”.

The geography of Italy didn’t help matters either, the west and the east coast are divided by a high range of mountains, the Apennines and the Italian boot is separated from the rest of the continent by the even higher Alps. The result is that we find in a relatively small nation a climate that ranges from the warm Mediterranean to the cool alpine weather, with nearly everything else in between.

The cooking reflects this fantastic variety with ingredients coming from land and sea and from very different climates.
Given roughly the same ingredients two sea towns with a temperate climate like Naples and Venice managed to develop very different culinary traditions.

Only television brought to Italy a certain uniformity with a shared common language and similar cultural patterns.

There are though two main ingredients in Italian food that I reckon unite the nation.

The first is the like and respect for food quality and freshness: only the best produce will do for the family table. The quality is pursued in the daily markets and small shops that survive despite the advent of the large superstores, always regarded with suspicion by the Italian consumer.

The second is the attitude toward eating: sitting at the table is a rite that daily brings together family and friends, it becomes more than just eating, is an act of like and sharing that keeps together the basic social structure.

The recipe I am going to talk about simplify these two concepts: it is based on the quality and freshness of the ingredients and is the kind of food that you prepare after a day at the beach, while chatting with friends and sipping a glass of white wine.

One huge mozzarella: look for the fresh kind that comes in its own liquid, if possible made with buffalo milk instead of the more current one made with regular cow milk.
Fresh basil: possibly just picked leaves, never the dried substitute.
One cup of cherry tomatoes.
Two cloves of garlic: keep away from the powder.
Crushed chili pepper.
A packet of pasta: your favorite shape but take care to cook it rigorously “al dente”, overcooked pasta can spoil the best sauces.
Chop roughly the ingredients of the sauce and mix them in a huge bowl with a small of your best extra virgin olive oil.
Boil the pasta in salted water, don’t exceed the cooking times on the package.
Drain the pasta and pass it under cool running water, this will prevent the mozzarella from sticking in one solid block at the bottom of the bowl.
Mix the pasta with the other ingredients and delight in it with your friends and family.
Buon appetito!

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