August 23, 2018

The Secret to Italian Cooking: Recipe

Italian cooking is all about the ingredients. A few, well chosen ingredients is all you need to make an excellent meal.

Take for example, Naples' Spaghetti "sciuè sciuè". "Sciuè sciuè" means fast and quick in Neapolitan dialect. It is a pasta dish that does not require any special skills from the cook, just his or her ability to choose the best ingredients for this dish. Herein lies the secret to its success.

It is a dish that uses only a few ingredients: garlic, olive oil, hot pepper and the tastiest tomatoes you can find. You serve it with spaghetti and a little grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese on top.

extra virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove
1-2  small and dried Italian hot peppers     (pepperoncino)
10-12 cherry tomatoes, in season
200g /7oz good quality spaghetti (pushed through bronze machines) for 2 hungry people
Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese grated at the table or right before serving

Pour some tasty olive oil in a skillet, add the peeled and crushed garlic clove and crush the dried Italian hot peppers (please keep the amount of heat to a minimum, it is supposed to add a small zing to your dish, this is about the tomatoes, not a spicy dish) and cook over low heat for 5 minutes. Set the water to boil in a covered saucepan. Wash the cherry tomatoes and cut them in half.  Add them to the skillet with the garlic and and olive oil. Sautè over medium heat.

When the water boils, add salt and add the pasta. Look at box and check the time. One minute before its supposedly done, pull one piece of pasta out and taste for doneness. When pasta is cooked, drain and toss the pasta in the sauce immediately. Prepare the dishes and serve immediately. Have the Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese on hand. It is really that simple and delicious.

If you have time, you can cook the cherry tomatoes whole over medium heat and let them slowly pop while cooking. The only thing is to be careful as any unpopped tomatoes are really hot and you could burn your palate while popping one of those tomatoes in your mouth. I should know!

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