Nothing can match the unique taste of authentic Italian cuisine in Raffles Place. 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 Raffles Place. 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 Raffles Place 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.
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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 Raffles Place 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.
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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 Raffles Place.
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.
When most people think about dining in an Italian restaurant, they get ready to order pizza or ravioli. Although these menu items can be delicious, they are not authentic cuisine from this region. Learn about foods that did not originate from this country to enable you to revise your selections accordingly.
Spaghetti and Meatballs
Although long spaghetti pasta, tomato sauce, and seasoned meatballs top the list of Italian cuisine, this menu item did not originate in this country. In actuality, this entre was likely born in a New York Italian restaurant in the early 1900s. Overseas in Rome, people are fond of meatballs smothered in tomato sauce. The catch - they never eat this combination on pasta.
For a dish with a lighter flair, many people choose fettuccine Alfredo. This dish features a light and tasty cheese sauce that smothers long fettuccine noodles. In a Roman restaurant in 1920, the chef created this dish to appeal to the tastes of American visitors. In contrast, people of this region do not typically combine cream and pasta in their dishes.
Veal Parmesan involves layering veal, melted cheese, and pasta in a tantalizing dish. The reality is that authentic restaurants in Europe do not serve this dish. Combining melted cheese and meat is not a standard menu item for people in this region. It's common to eat these foods in the same meal, but never combined together in the same dish. The same goes for chicken - people from Italy simply never combine poultry with pasta. However, you might find seafood pasta in an authentic restaurant in Sicily, thanks to the local catches coming in off the water.
While garlic seems to be a major ingredient in these foods, authentic dishes are not garlic-heavy. It's the American fare that tends to feature prevalent amounts of garlic. Spreading slices of bread with olive oil or butter and garlic is not an authentic menu item, either. Garlic bread likely surfaced in America during the 1940s.
An Italian restaurant without cheesecake on the menu might seem out of place. In reality, the connection between cheesecake and Italy likely began in the United States. In southern regions of this European country, locals are partial to sweetened ricotta cheese. Chefs pipe this lightly sweetened cheese into cannolis or other delectable pastries. You might find cassata Sicilian in an authentic eatery, which is a sponge cake soaked in liquor with a layer of ricotta on top. Over the ricotta, you will find a layer of green almond paste and icing.
Look for Italian restaurants that feature menu items that do not cater to American palates. Remember, meats and pastas do not combine traditionally. If you find a dish that features both meat and pasta, this is food created for the American consumer. Italian food tends to be regional, according to the unique tastes and preferences of people in each region. To sample authentic cuisine of the entire country, you would need to travel to each individual city.
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.
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It seems as if there are so many terms denoting Italian and you can hardly tell which from which. For instance, there are Sicilian restaurants. They are still Italian but somehow, they are called differently. You also have Venezian restaurants which are as Italian as the former, but most of the time both restaurants have very different dishes. This is because although we know all these restaurants as Italian, Italy has a number of regions. For every region, they have developed a certain way of cooking their food and they prefer their dishes in a different way that their neighboring regions. This numerous regional cuisines make up for a diverse Italian cuisine which can be both fun but confusing at the same time.
One of the famous regional cuisines is Tuscan cuisine. No doubt you have actually seen yourself staring at a restaurant that included the word Tuscan. From this region comes the city of Florence or Firenze in Italian. This city, aside from being the site of the world renowned Leaning Tower of Pisa, is also known for its local cuisine. Just like the general theme of the region's cuisine, Firenze cuisine is very simple. In the city, there is no prize waiting for experimentation. The Florentines like their food just the way their forefathers did.
If you enter a Firenze restaurant, you probably will see the word "ribollita" on the menu. This dish is a local variation of the dish called minestrone. The soup includes the freshest produce like carrots, potatoes, black cabbage and the Italian Cannellini beans (white kidney beans). This is soup is boiled twice to make it thicker and more flavorful, and is usually served with croutons or Tuscan bread. A nice drizzle of Olive Oil on top completes the very hearty soup.
Another Tuscan specialty is the "bistecca alla florentina" or the Florentine style beefsteak. This dish is made with either a T-bone or porterhouse steak which was traditionally obtained from the cattle of Chianina or Meremmana. This large piece of steak is seasoned with nothing else but salt, black pepper and olive oil, and then grilled using either wood or charcoal. Because this steak is too big for one person, with its standard weight being 1200 grams, this dish is usually shared among two people. The steak is traditionally served rare with a side dish of Tuscan beans and enjoyed with red wine.
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 food is more than a form of nourishment; it's a way of life in a country where family, friendship and feasts are all indelibly linked. Italian food is simple, vibrant and good for you. From roasts to risotto, pasta to preserves, soups to sauces, Italian food is popular all year round. Italian food is highly famed: greatly loved and tirelessly imitated the world over, it has been a source of endless pleasure and joie-de-vivre in countries far and wide. Italian food is not just for Italians, but for everyone.
For hundreds of years Italian cooking has followed a very simple principle: food is best when it's cooked fresh and in season. I am a great fan of Italian cuisine, and a firm believer that cooking is an art, not a task. Most traditional Italian dishes as we know today, are on the whole derived from simple peasant cookery, for example the Pizza, which could be found a couple of centuries ago on the streets of Naples being sold by street vendors to those that had no cooking facilities of their own at home. The regional cooking depends on a number of factors, not only as to what ingredients are most abundant each region, but also historical factors. The recipes of Northern and Southern Italian dishes are quite different and use different methods of cooking. With the exception of a few areas near lakes that exert a moderating influence, Northern Italy is too cold for olive trees to grow, and as a result much of the population used butter for cooking.
Pasta, no doubt, plays a large part in most traditional Italian food, and few cultures know how to employ a tomato the way that Italians can. Pasta and olive oil are considered the characteristics of southern Italian food, while northern food focuses on rice and butter (although today there are many exceptions). Italian food is all about combinations of delicious local flavours, a simple sauce, a sprinkling of Parmesan and of course real Italian pasta.
Ingredients used in Italian cooking, such as pasta, olive oil, garlic, tomatoes and red wine have proved to be contributory factors to a healthier lifestyle. Finding the right balance of ingredients is vital in creating vibrant good food. Although there are essential ingredients that every Italian kitchen should have, basil, garlic and olive oil, the most important ingredient is creativity. Italian cookery is exceptionally varied, nutritious and healthy; traditions have been handed down from one family to the next over the centuries, and are associated mainly with country life in that dishes are directly linked to what the Earth produces over the changing seasons: in other words, wholesome cooking whose goodness depends on all-natural ingredients.
Somebody once said "The trouble with eating Italian food is that 5 or 6 days later you're hungry again". Italian food is not just for Italians, but for everyone. Did you know that Italian food is the most popular cuisine for eating out throughout the world? I think the success of Italian food is that it's the food that is easiest to live with.