Sauces are semi-liquid preparations which add flavour, correct and/or enrich dishes. These are emulsions that include a fat part, such as oil or butter. Than a liquid part, such as broth, water, lemon juice, vinegar.Spices, vegetables or natural flavourings are common ingredients for sauces. All linked by some element that must give consistency, such as egg, flour or potato starch.
The technique of sauces in the kitchen is of fundamental importance, it can be equated to a real science. An example are the cooking bottoms, which are divided according to color, from brown to light. The cooking stock is, in essence, the remainder of the processing juices which can be used as a basis for other recipes. The brown sauce comes usually from the browning of the meat in the oven. Then you need to add some water to dilute it enriching it with Which is then diluted with water, enriched with vegetables. The boiling time reaches about three hours. Often the brown sauce is the starter for meat sauce. The white sauce comes from white meat stewed in a pot. The fish stock comes similarly.
Sauces and gravies give flavor and color to the dish
Nowadays the cooking style is different, more simple and quick. Anyway, for true maniacs of quality and tradition, as well as obviously for the chefs, a good base makes the dish exceptional. In fact, it is one of the first things taught in professional cooking schools. After, of course, knowing how to recognize and use raw materials. How to choose quality ingredients from which practically everything depends. So what are the most important sauces in Italian cuisine?
The béchamel sauce
Surely the bechamel is one of the most important sauces, which you must know how to prepare if you intend to cook a lasagna for example. Even if central-southern Italy with some regional differences does not use it very widely, there are recipes that cannot do without it. Meanwhile, the sauce à la bechamel belongs to the French contamination. It owes its name to Louis de Béchamel, the marquis, maitre d’hotel, for Louis XIV. Surely the recipe was even older, but the name was connected to him. Butter, flour and milk are the main ingredients, usually flavored with nutmeg. First prepare the roux (butter and flour), then dilute it with milk, add salt, nutmeg and bring it to thicken, stirring slowly. It is used for lasagna, cannelloni, and baked pasta. Or in creative haute cuisine dishes.
This very tasty sauce, Italians are crazy about it, unfortunately is, mostly, a very industrial version. Seasoning the famous sandwiches (tramezzini), much loved, or summer rice salads. But also, Italians covers french fries with mayonnaise, using it much more than ketchup. Sometimes they blend the two, creating a sort of pink sauce. We are certainly not talking about the real mayonnaise, which can be easily prepared at home. However, with a little care and attention, you get a fantastic sauce easily at home. The Mayonnaise ingredients are egg yolk and extra virgin olive oil, vinegar or lemon juice. To make a perfect one it is necessary to use strictly lukewarm ingredients. The oil should be poured drop by drop respecting the right proportions between egg and oil. If you are patient and careful, the sauce you get is fantastic.
Let’s talk about serious things: the sauce.
In Italy, the Pasta-kingdom, as you can imagine, there are thousands of sauces. In short, as many as the shapes of pasta. This is because, each shape of pasta goes perfectly with certain sauces. From the simplest ones, such as the famous cacio e pepe, the pride of Rome. Which counts few ingredients only. To more elaborate sauces such as ragù. Or recipes that require a certain dexterity in the kitchen to succeed as well as the classic carbonara. Here are the basic rules to follow, in our opinion, to make a good dish:
- Large format pasta requires a rich sauce. If the pasta that we have to season is a pacchero or a zito, or a pappardella, they are formats that require slow chewing, the optimal will be to choose a rich sauce, full of flavor and moist.
- Long pasta, such as fettuccine, tagliatelle, bucatini, spaghetti goes with meat, fish and vegetable sauces. Or with green sauces like pesto.
- Long pasta of reduced thickness such as spaghettini, linguine, tagliolini, trenette, goes well with light sauces, especially vegetable ones such as pesto or tomato, up to garlic, oil and chilli pepper or butter and Parmesan.
- Perforated or twisted pasta, such as bucatini, torciglioni, fusilli, perforated long macaroni, zite, screws, goes well with aromatic vegetable sauces, mushrooms, aubergines, capers and onions. Even with light ragouts.
- Short flat pasta such as maltagliati, lasagne, farfalle, goes well with creamy sauces, such as soups of legumes, cream and peas.
They may seem meaningless rules, in reality the main motivation lies in the pleasure of chewing and in the balance of salivation. Tactile sensations that we also take into consideration in the food-wine pairing.Pasta with tomato sauce: the heart-warming recipe
Surely one of the most popular recipes is pasta with tomato sauce, especially spaghetti with tomato sauce.
Here is our recipe:
- Spaghettoni of excellent quality, such as Senatore Cappelli or Tumminia,
- Fresh datterini tomatoes cut in half (if it’s winter you can do without them)
- Extra virgin olive oil 30 gr
- Peeled tomatoes in glass (double weight compared to pasta)
- Garlic to taste
If you want to use tomato puree, remember that it is always better to buy peeled tomatoes and then reduce them to a pulp with the help of a fork or a mincer. This is because the Italian tomato (like San Marzano), even if in a jar (better in glass) is certainly Italian tomato. On the contrary, purées, even if they bear the Made in Italy symbol on the label, tomatoes comes from unknown origin.
Fry the datterini tomatoes in a pan, cooking very well until they are very dark, these are for the decoration. So, oil in a pan, crush a clove of garlic and put it in. Then let the tomato purea cooking for a long time (the more it cooks, the better, until it comes to the half of the original volume). Let’s add a little basil (take it off before serving). In plenty of salted water, immerse the spaghetti and cook them al dente. Transfer the spaghetti to the sauce pan by adding a little water. Now salt the spaghetti for another 2 minutes. Decorate with the datterini tomatoes and basil.
This is pasta with tomato sauce that satisfies everyone, young and old, foreigners and locals. An excellent dish for the summer that requires light and digestible dishes. For those who are very sensitive to nickel, the recipe can be made using nickel-free tomatoes (grown in hydroponics).
The best wine pairing?