Nothing can match the unique taste of authentic Italian cuisine in Tanjong Pagar. For the people who are having it for the first time or the people who enjoy the dishes regularly, they would find a connection to the richness of Italian food, if the food made well. If not properly made, they can also tell the difference in the taste of the food and just by their appearance.
To make Italian food from scratch and making it good can be a daunting task for any newcomers and old veterans in Tanjong Pagar. The newcomers don’t want to ruin the dishes, and the veterans want to stick true to the authentic taste that the dish offers. One of the unique things, if not, the most important unique thing, about Italian dishes are the carefully selected ingredients that go into making one. Every ingredient in an Italian dish is carefully examined to know the true nature of the ingredients, where it lacks flavor, what other ingredients can fill up that space with its own flavor.
It is the job of an Italian chef in Tanjong Pagar to know all of these things beforehand to execute in the kitchen without any mistake. Ingredients such as Olive oil, it gets used in Italian food all the time. It adds the authenticate taste of an Italian dish and also by being healthy to consume. There is a saying that cooking with ingredients that are taken from the same region will result in a better taste.
Italian Cuisine - Don't Forget Dessert
Garlic, pasta, tomatoes, basil add the true nature of an Italian dish to the surface. What is so fascinating about these ingredients, that they are very common, and on the right hand they can bring more to the dish than thousands of rare material combined. A clove of garlic will bring all the hidden flavors from the dish, but can’t say the same thing to jarred garlic. Tomatoes, nearly every pizza, and spaghetti ever made on this planet have used tomatoes in one way or another. Basil, is another iconic ingredient in making Margherita pizza. There is a reason why the word basil is synonymous with King of herbs.
Another widely used ingredient in the Italian dishes are Rosemary, basil may be called King of herbs, but rosemary is known to be the queen. Rosemary really shines in a perfectly made risotto.
No Italian dish in Tanjong Pagar would complete without the inclusion of wine. Wine in an Italian culture takes a significant role in making the cuisines and adds many more flavors to the dish. The wine gets used in the Italian dish is drinking wines, not cooking ones. If any ingredient doesn’t bring its own flavor then it is better left alone. Adding wine to a dish has long been a cultural identity for the Italians. If the wine isn’t fit to drink, then it would be no use in the making of an Italian dish, if used, then it wouldn’t be a genuine Italian product.
Focaccia it is a bread that is made in Northern Italy. You can add any ingredient that you prefer, to make it one of your own recipes. I will give you the list of ingredients that I prefer to use, and the technique to make Focaccia. Then you are off on your own to individualize the recipe for your taste requirements.
List of Ingredients:
For the Herb Oil
- 1 Cup of Olive Oil
- 1-2 T Basil chopped
- 1-2 T Thyme chopped
- 1-2 T Oregano chopped
- 1-2 T Rosemary chopped
- 3-4 cloves of Garlic you can add an additional clove/cloves, if you like more garlic
- 1 T of good sea salt or Kosher Salt
- 1/2 - 1 tsp of cracked Pepper
To make the Herb Oil for the bread: Combine all of the fresh herbs in a mixing bowl and mix thoroughly. Just let it hang out until you are ready for it, but do not refrigerate.
Ingredients for the Focaccia Dough:
- 6 cups of Bread Flour
- 2-3 tsp of Sea Salt
- 2 tsp of instant yeast
- 7 tsp of olive oil
- 2 1/2 cups of water Make sure you water is not too hot between 105 - 115 degrees so it will not kill the yeast
To make your dough:
Combine all of the ingredients, other that the olive oil into a dough mixer. You could do this by hand if you want it will just double your mixing time. Mix until dough is all incorporated and together which will be about 3-5 minutes, and then add a little Olive Oil, just about 3-4 tsp. Then you will continue to mix the dough about an additional 1-2 minutes. You will remove the dough and add to a clean bowl. First you will coat the bowl first with about 1 tsp of Olive Oil, and then you will place the dough ball into the coated bowl. You will the let the dough rest for about 10-15 minutes at room temperature. Then you will punch/push/knead the dough down with your hands in a folded fist manner. You will not actually be punching the bread, it is just the name of the technique. After you do this process for around 1-2 minutes you will do the same thing over. Coat the bowl with about 1 tsp of oil, and this time you will cover with saran wrap and let the dough double in size. You want to keep an eye on the dough so it does not over ferment.
After it has double in size you will preheat your over to 400 if it is gas and 425 if it is electric. You are going to get your Focaccia bread prepped to bake. You will need a half sheet baking tray, and you will need to use some olive oil on the bottom of the pan to prevent sticking, and to help achieve a firm bottom crust. Transfer the dough to the greased sheet pan, do this gently, so it will not start to work the dough. Use your fingertips to start spreading the dough but do not puncture it while spreading. You will eventually work the dough out to the corners of the sheet pan. At this time you will let the dough rest for about 5-10 minutes. Make sure that your dough has not shrunk in, if it has punch it back out at this time. Add your Herb Oil and generously cover the bread. Next you will add the ingredients below.
Ingredients for the bread before baking:
- 1/2 - 1 cup of Sun Dried Tomatoes julienne strips
- 1 cup Parmesan Cheese shredded
- 1/2 cup of Olives that you prefer, I like the Kalamata Olives, but use your favorite
Your bread is almost ready to go in the oven, and this is the last step. Add these final ingredients, or ones you choose, and then put Focaccia Bread into the preheated oven. You will bake for around 8-10 minutes and turn 1/2 way or 180 degrees through the baking process and then cook until done, which could be an additional 10-15 minutes depending on your over. The top and bottom will be crisp, and it will have a slight golden or very light brown color. You will need to remove the bread at this time and add to a cooling rack to keep the bottom of the bread from getting soggy. Cool for about 15- 20 minutes before serving.
Cooking with these ingredients in a perfectly well manner style to bring out the richness of the ingredient is like learning a new language by normal interaction. The more you interact with others, the more you will get better at speaking. The same method can be applied here, learning Italian cuisine is a lot like learning a new language. And each ingredient becomes the grammar and the vocabulary for your final dish, which can be seen as a sentence in this metaphor.
Why Italian Cuisine Is So Popular
The first thing to do before starting to cook with the ingredients you have is to limit them. Almost all Italian dishes use a finite amount of ingredients to make the dish, overloading with unnecessary spices will put out the subtle taste of the natural ingredients. Learning the value of each of the ingredients will help you know their weaknesses and strength, finding a better ingredient to fill the weakness of another is the step to become a great Italian restaurant in Tanjong Pagar.
The second thing to do is to make sure every ingredient in the pantry is fresh and well-seasoned. This process really helps to bring the dish closer to the authentic Italian dish that we know and love.
When cooking pasta, make sure to leave it a little undercooked, so the pasta can still have the bite factor. Otherwise, everything on the plate would be soggy and wet. Frequent tasting the pasta before serving will help you get to know the dish better and understand the time management of the sogginess of the pasta.
Most people's idea of Italian cuisine is a combination of tortellini, minestrone, spaghetti, and lasagna. If you visit Italy with such an narrow view of Italian cuisine, you will be pleasantly surprised at the variety of food that the Italians eat.
The reason for this variety is simple. Italy has nineteen regions, each with its distinct cuisine. In addition, Italian cuisine changes according to the seasons. Fresh ingredients are of utmost importance in an Italian kitchen. As a result, you will discover that the summer cuisine is different from the winter cuisine.
North Italian Cuisine
Usually, Americans are familiar with the part of Italian cuisine that is typical of north Italy. All the heavy dishes loaded with cheese and rich sauce comes from this reason. You will enjoy a stay in north Italy if you enjoy the Italian food available in America.
Although you will be familiar with north Italian cuisine, you will still be surprised by the wonderful differences in authentic north Italian food and the Italian fare available in America.
South Italian Cuisine
The cuisine of south Italy is different. The people of south Italy use more fish in their diet. This variant of Italian cuisine is named "Mediterranean food."
In general, south Italian dishes are lighter and healthier. Due to their food habits, south Italians are the healthiest people in the world. One of the factors that makes south Italian diet so healthy is the use of olive oil in most of their dishes.
Spices in Italian Cuisine
Don't limit your ideas of Italian cuisine to a few dishes of spaghetti and meatball. Italian cuisine is rich, complex, and diverse. More spices find their way into an Italian dish than just garlic.
Many people are under the misconception that the Italians use an over abundance of spices in their food. This is because, in America, people who have neither been to Italy nor tasting Italian cuisine cook Italian food.
Italians use spices only to enhance the natural flavor of particular dishes. Moreover, the nature of Italian food depends on the seasons, and due to this, Italians do not depend heavily on the use of spices. Their meats, pastas, and sauces usually have a fresh flavor of their own. Travelers, however, has discovered that north Italians use more spices in their food than south Italians.
When considering Italian cuisine, it is of great importance to realize that there isn't any standard Italian cuisine. With nineteen region, there are nineteen variants of the Italian cuisine. Each region has its unique style of cooking, its dishes featuring local vegetables and animal products. In spite of the variations, a traveler in any part of Italy will find that something about Italian cuisine is familiar, and this comforting feeling of familiarity is what makes Italian cuisine a hot favorite in most of the world.
You can follow all the rules in the textbook to create a perfect Italian dish but you won’t reach the final stage of an Italian dish without putting your heart in it. It is never about pleasing the crowd with Italian dishes, it has always been sticking to the original recipe, you can have all the ingredients but it won’t be complete without putting the heart and soul in cooking. Knowing who you are cooking for, what do they like the most, then creating the dish made especially for them will taste better.
Why Italian Cuisine Is So Popular
Italian cuisine is as varied as the regions of Italy. Although Italy was officially unified in 1861, the food reflects the cultural variety of the country's regions with culinary influences from Greece, Roman, Gallic, Germany, Turkish, Hebrew, Slavic, Arab, Chinese and other civilizations. In this sense, there really is no one Italian cuisine because each area boasts of its own specialties. Not only is the food of Italy highly regionalized, but a high priority is also placed on the use of fresh available produce.
Although traditional Italian dishes vary by region, they also do not follow strictly to a North/South pattern either. The north tends to use more butter, creams, polenta, mascarpone, grana padano and Parmigiano cheeses, risotto, lasagna and fresh egg pasta, while the south is more tomato and olive oil based cooking, along with mozzarella, caciocavallo and peconrino cheeses, and dried pasta. Coastal and central regions often use tortellini, ravioli and prosciutto in their cooking. Even pizza varies across the country. In Rome the crusts are thin and cracker-like, while Neapolitan and Sicilian pizzas have a thicker crust.
For most Italians, pasta is the first course in a meal with the exception of the far north where risotto or polenta is the norm. Vegetables, grains and legumes play a regular part of many Italian diets with meat often not being a regular part of everyday meals, Olive oil is usually seen in its dark green state (from its first pressing) in the south, where in the north a more refined, golden oil is seen.
Basically, Italian cuisine consists of a combination of vegetables, grains, fruits, fish, cheeses and a some meats, with fowl and game usually seasoned or cooked with olive oil (with the exception of the far north). La cucina povera, the food of the poorer Italian people of the southern coastal area, has shaped a diet popular for centuries but now there is a resurgence of this "poor people's food", the Mediterranean diet, which is now being touted as the model around which we should restructure our eating habits.
Breakfast is considered a minor meal in Italy, often consisting of nothing more than a bread roll and milky coffee (café latte). Traditional lunches tend to be larger, have several courses and are eaten slowly. Italian children don't go to school in the afternoon, and because of the heat, many small businesses close from midday until about 4pm which makes lunch the social meal of the day.
The traditional menu structure in Italy consists of basically eight courses, but the long traditional Italian menu is typically kept for special occasions such as weddings, with everyday fare including only the first and second courses, with the side dish being served with the second course. As an exception to this order, a unique course, Piatto unico, can replace the first or second course with, for example, pizza.
The traditional menu consists of:
1. ANTIPASTO - which are hot or cold appetizers, literally it means "before the pasta"; consists of a varied combination of colorful foods. The most popular ingredients are melon or tomatoes served with prosciutto cut into very thin slices. Lettuce, such as the slightly bitter endives or rocket, or other green leaves, such as the aniseed-tasting fennel, are typically used as a garnish, placed around the edges of the serving dish. Salami, mortadella, coppa and zampone, manufactured meat products, are common in antipasti. The artistry of the food is as important to Italians as the taste. For example the reddish colour of salami provides a good contrast to the green lettuce. Fish and other seafood may also be used in the antipasti course and, of course, olives and artichokes are also common servings, as are mushrooms (fungi) seasoned with salt, pepper and lemon juice.
2. PRIMO (first course) - which usually consists of a hot dish such as pasta, risotto, gnocchi, polenta or soup, with many vegetarian options. There are many types of pasta, each type usually named after its shape with common types including spirali (spirals), farfalle (butterflies; sometimes described as 'bow-tie-shaped'). Penne (hollow tubes) and conchiglie (shells). Different shapes are supposed to be better with the different types of sauces. Spirals are two strips of pasta twirled around each other and are used with the heavier sauces, such as those containing minced meat and vegetables. Rigatoni is cylinders or tubes, with a wide diameter and grooves (or lines) on the outside. The grooves are supposed to hold the sauce onto the pasta, meaning that this pasta is good with runnier sauces. Then there is the group of pasta made up of long thin strands, which includes the most common type of pasta, spaghetti. Typically you eat this type of pasta by coiling its long thin strands around a fork. Other long thin pastas are tagliatelle, fettuccine and linguini, which are all varieties of flattened spaghetti. Extremely thin strands of pasta are called vermicelli (meaning 'little worms'). Yet another group of pasta is made of flat sheets (lasagna) or tubes (cannelloni), which are either layered or stuffed with meat and cheese fillings. Some pastas have 'pockets' to hold the sauce inside them instead of outside like ravioli or tortellini, which are soft sheets of pasta rolled around meat or cheese. Italians cook pasta of all kinds, whether fresh or dried, in boiling water until al dente ('to the teeth', meaning still a tiny bit hard in the centre. It is then served immediately in a bowl with sauce or cheese.
3. SECONDO (second course) - this is usually the main dish of fish or meat. Veal, pork and chicken are traditionally the most common and are often pan-fried or casseroled. Beef is used as steaks (bistecca), while lamb (agnello) is roasted on special occasions, such as Easter and Christmas. Fish and other seafood are often used as main courses.
4. CONTORNO (side dish) - this may be a salad or cooked vegetable. Salad is traditionally served with the main course. Common vegetables are beans (greens and pulses), potatoes (often sautéed), and carrots as well as salads.
5. FORMAGIIO AND FRUTTA (cheese and fruit) - this is the first dessert course and the fruit and cheese are usually served together. Grapes, peaches, apricots and citrus fruits are a major product of Italy's agricultural industry and are common.
6. DOLCE (dessert) - the cakes and cookies course Italians produce many sweet desserts and 'sweet treats', including Amaretti, almond-flavoured meringues, which Australians call macaroons, Panforte, a sweet semi-hard 'strong bread' based on nuts and containing dried fruit (a classic Christmas treat from Siena), and. Pannettone, a very rich bread-cake (another Christmas treat).
7. CAFFÉ (coffee) - which is usually espresso coffee
8. DIGESTIVE (liqueurs) - which may be grappa, amaro, or Limon cello. The wine industry has been important to Italy for centuries and the most common drink associated with Italy is wine. Until recently, and even now in the countryside, most Italians would make their own red or white house wine after the grape harvest. This would be drunk at every lunch and dinner. Even children are given wine to drink, but it is usually watered down with mineral water. Before dinner many Italians drink an amaro (bitter) to stimulate the digestive system, while after dinner they may drink sweet wines, such as marsala (from Sicily). Children are also sometimes given Marsala, beaten with a raw egg and sugar into zabaglione, to strengthen them.
Modern pizza has evolved from pizzas made by peasants in Naples, Italy, but more than a few Mediterranean peoples can claim to have 'invented' the pizza. In ancient times many civilizations created dishes of flat bread with various herbs and toppings. As a staple for the poor, it was a matter of necessity that food could be eaten without utensils, and that the 'plate' it was served on could be eaten as well. They made a bread crust from flour, water and yeast, topped it with olive oil, herbs, cheeses, sometimes even leftovers, and baked the whole thing in a stone oven.
Given that most pizza connoisseurs today consider the tomato sauce to be the key ingredient, it may be surprising that pizza pre-dates the introduction of tomatoes to Europe. Tomatoes reached Italy by way of Spain in the early 1500s but were thought to be poisonous. It was several decades later that tomatoes topped a flatbread in the form of a pizza.
Italian cuisine is very popular in all its forms and is imitated all over the world. Wouldn't you like to include Italian cuisine in your kitchen today?
Rushing the stages of cooking is a bad way to cook Italian food. Cooking something good takes time, if not, the dish would come off under cooked and as the dish wouldn’t have much time to fully utilize all the ingredients in it. The end result would not match the standard quality. It is recommended to savor the moment because Italian dishes are more than just average fast food.
There is a rigorous process must be followed to create a perfect Italian dish. The addition of any new ingredients might spoil the genuineness of the dish. Italian cuisines leave much more than just a taste, they offer the traditional food aroma, the very quality of taste of the ingredients, and just by being healthy. Since there is no inclusion of any chemicals to appeal to a larger audience, the food can far away from reaching for the fast-food processed taste. Authenticity adds much more value to Italian food than just being another thing to eat while hungry.
Italian cuisine has a long history. Some food historians believe it can be traced back to ancient Greece and Rome, although the collapse of the Roman Empire means that we do not have a lot of information about the eating habits of those eras.
So there is no clear evidence for the origins of Italy's most famous food, pasta. Some historians believe that it could date back to Roman times, or even earlier. However, others suggest that it may have arrived from the Orient, introduced by Marco Polo in the thirteenth century.
This remained for many years a lower class food, usually boiled and eaten with just a small garnish of cheese. However, a minor culinary revolution was launched when Christopher Columbus returned from the Americas with tomatoes, sweet peppers, green beans and much, much more.
These foods, steadily introduced around the Mediterranean region, grew readily in the hot Italian climate, and after a time they were being mixed with local ingredients and incorporated into all manner of dishes, leading to the Italian cuisine that we know today.
What are the characteristics of this cuisine? Fresh produce and high-quality ingredients are the essence of Italian cooking. Foods are generally prepared in a simple manner that emphasizes taste. Olives and olive oil feature in numerous dishes.
And why is it so healthy? Certainly the abundant use of olive oil is a key factor. Italy's long coastline is another reason -- fresh fish features prominently in local cooking. The regular use of pulses, along with a lot of fresh fruit and vegetables, is important. Meat is eaten sparingly. Wine is consumed, but together with meals and in moderation.
There is more, but those are the basics. Eat like an Italian, do regular exercise and enjoy a balanced social and family life, and you could be on the way to a much healthier lifestyle.