Italy is abundant in distinctive differences. Southern Italy is practically a different planet from northern Italy. In addition to this mesmerizing chaos Italy is ‘organized’ into twenty regions, so basically twenty little countries. Each region has its own soil and climate, producing its own specialty foods and signature way to do anything and everything. From what to eat, to how to speak, and even when to arrive.
During a tasting you ought to start from the lightest or softest ingredient and work your way up to avoid over-powering your palette, thus enjoying each and every flavor.
It’s a big world out there.
‘Salume’ is a big umbrella word, and must not be confused with ‘salami’ which is a type of ‘salume’. We’ve got cooked ‘cotto’ and cured ‘crudo’ (the literal translation is ‘raw’). Cured meat, the most symbolic, is an age-old craft of salt, climate, and time. This process kills the bacteria and renders is full of flavor depending on the animal and its location, curing time and spices.
Italy’s most typical, best and well known ingredient. A universe of recipes, shapes, flour, dough, aromas and flavors. It is no walk in the park to keep up with the different types of pasta, not even by focusing on a single Italian region. At the end of the day, this entire universe has a common enemy: overcooked pasta.
When pasta boils longer than it should it becomes soggy, the starch tends to stick the various spaghetti or other types of pasta together. Overall the absorption of water is too much and the pasta has grown excessively in volume, diluting the flavour and rendering it tasteless! Once the pasta is overcooked there is not much you can do, there is no reverse process and the most you can do is limit it by adding cold water as a way to interrupt the cooking process – which in fact continues even after we’ve drained the pasta.
How does one prevent this catastrophe? The secrets and tricks do exist and must be followed.
The easiest of them all, though rarely utilized, is to use a timer – the one on your phone is perfect . Set it for two minutes before the suggested cooking time an viola. Another way to avoid overcooked pasta is by using high quality pasta because low quality pasta after overcooks before the predefined time. In most cases the flour and the quality of the dough determine an excessive water storage effect which in turn renders our first plate too soft and basically flavourless. Choosing pasta of high quality or of hard grain flour will make it more difficult to have over cooked pasta.
Truffles are a fungi similar to mushrooms but unlike mushrooms truffles never emerge on the surface. They are formed below the soil and found near the roots of Oak Willow and Linden trees. Once the fungus attaches to the root it will produce a singular truffle each year and the flavor depends on which type of tree is was attached to.
In Italy the Lagotto Romagnola that comes from the region of Romagna in Italy is trained to find and dig up these babies without harming them. This dog is worth about 10K and Buddy happen to look like an XL version according to half the population, and the other half say he ate 10 toy poodles.
In Italy there are white and black truffles. White truffles come from the Piedmont region, the Alba area. Out of the truffles species, this is the most precious. It is said noted that a truffle weighing in at 3.3lbs was sold for 330,000 euros.
Black truffles are found in PIedmont and Umbria and CAN withstand cooking. Great for ‘bruscetta’ sauces and many other recpies. Black truffles go for about 95 bucks for an ounce.