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Learning To Cook - Tips From My Italian Husband

Discussion in 'Italian Food and Drink' started by sallymarie, Apr 2, 2015.

  1. After being married , for almost a quarter of a century, I have learned some great recipes from my husband. Okay, I have to admit he is the chef in the family; nevertheless, I have been able to watch and observe his cooking techniques. I am quite proud of how far my spaghetti sauce has progressed through the years! I find the secret is to add a little sugar to the sauce. Well, I go a little overboard with the sugar. I just love how it balances off the sauce against the other herbs and spices. Even one of my nieces, who does not care for spaghetti, tried my sauce and exclaimed, I am the best spaghetti maker ever! :D Now making fresh pasta is another story. :(

    Anyone else have significant others who have taught you some great Italian recipes?

  2. I taught myself. My husband adores, and by adores I mean can eat it 24/7 Italian food. The cheesier and oozier the better. So while he did not teach me he certainly appreciates it
    sallymarie likes this.
  3. Oh, you are one lucky wife. My husband can not help himself from critiquing my meals. I know! It is wrong on so many levels. He is just trying to help me, but he should just say, "tastes great, thanks for the wonderful meal" ! So, actually it is kind of a good thing he enjoys cooking so much and I have the social grace to tell him how much I love his cooking! I would like to say there is a meal that I do not care for, but after being married for so long, if he is cooking something that he knows I do not care for, he makes another dish that he know I like, which I find sweet! I don't know, but it works for us. I try not to take his remarks too personal. But there have been times, I struggled over a meal and not in the mood for feedback! haha
  4. I met an Italian dude when I was in Europe, and he tells me that the secret to Italian cooking is lots of garlic, butter and cheese, lol.
    sallymarie likes this.
  5. Well... no :p
    I'm still discovering the "wonders" of the Italian cooking secrets.
    You mentioned the spaghetti sauce and sugar, I only learned about this trick about 5-6 years ago, and it wasn't even an Italian persona who told me about it :D But it really is one of the most well-known cooking secrets around here!

    And the "Italian dude" sammien met is correct! :D Garlic and grated cheese are key ingredients!
    There are some TV shows about cooking here, they come right after the midday news. It's always a person (not always a cook) who cooks some new meal, every day, on TV, and I did notice that almost every single recipe they show on TV involves frying something in a pan in just a drop of oil, but you HAVE to add a clove of garlic in it.
    sallymarie likes this.
  6. :cool: Garlic! Butter! Cheese!

    All very good ingredients and all very tricky to balance. Truthfully, as I get older, I need to watch my intake on butter and cheese. My metabolism has slowed down. I use to be one of those people that everyone would say, "you are too skinny". Although I am at a healthy weight these days, I do not want to complicate the future of my health. :mad: Trying to stay away from the deep-frying too!!!!

    When it comes to garlic... I made a batch of sauce the other day with too much! How do I know? Everyone got out the tums afterwards. :p

    Anyone else use another "secret" ingredient when preparing Italian food? That is, besides the well-know addition of sugar. ;)
  7. No unfortunately no chef husband in my kitchen. But it's great to see how much you enjoy honing your skills. I agree on the sugar in the sauce, I have found that to be absolutely true. Making fresh pasta is really not something I'd do but if you manage it, congratulations!!!
    sallymarie likes this.
  8. I never understood how people can eat stuff like Ragu, which is loaded with way too much sugar. I mean, the product has stood the test of time - there are simply a lot of people out there which prefer that kind of super sweet tomato sauce. It makes me kind of nervous when I am making sauce from scratch, because I too only put just a little to tone down the acidity, but it's nowhere near the levels of Ragu or Prego. I'm always worried they're not going to like it, even though that to me is the more authentic way to make it.

    In fact, sometimes I use even less sugar, and add some extra butter to the sauce to tone down the tartness without making it too sweet - so the sauce remains more savory overall.

    Many Asian recipes also use a little bit of sugar to balance out the other flavors in their sauces, such as the salty soy sauce and fish sauce. It's not enough to make the sauce "sweet", but just a hint to create what they refer to as an "Umami" flavor.

    In fact, the Spice Supreme blend of garlic pepper seasoning also has a small amount of sugar in it, and it works wonders for the overall flavor in addition to creating beautiful browning on the exterior of whatever you are cooking/grilling/roasting via the caramelization of the sugar. Even brines used to brine meats benefit greatly from the addition of sugar.
  9. I taught myself anything to do with Italian cooking, haha. I've been taught a lot of German and French recipes by family though.
    sallymarie likes this.
  10. Oh, adding butter. Now that sounds intriguing! A nice savory touch!

    I know everyone has their preference about sweetness. Just recently, we were back in our hometown and invited over to my husband's Uncle Johnny's house for his version of spaghetti. We were so excited to taste his personal touches to the "family" recipe.

    Unfortunately, we left a bit disappointed. Of course, we all had the social grace to rave over the meal, but we walked away feeling it was too bland and lacking that special zing of that added sugar. Goes to show you, we all have our own personal taste buds on what is good and what is just okay. lol
  11. I'm a single male and tend to not have the best cooking skills to begin with. I wish I had an Italian chef to give me lessons. American food is a lot easier to make than other cultures as well.
  12. Not all Italian recipes are all that difficult really. Even though many people have these long winded rituals of steps and ingredients they use to make something like a "Sunday Sauce", or a wedding soup, or whatever - there are also some really easy shortcuts too.

    You can make a pretty decent sauce by just slow simmering some hot and sweet fresh Italian sausages in some crushed tomatoes, perhaps along with a few other pieces of meat like some chunks of beef roast, and/or some beef/pork ribs, whatever cheap cuts of meat, for several hours uncovered. Obviously if you take the time to brown the meats, build up fonds, deglaze the pan and all that jazz, you'll get more flavor - in addition to adding other ingredients like wine, fresh herbs, and more. But in the spirit of simplicity, the sausages alone already have a lot of salt, herbs, red pepper, and garlic that will leak into the sauce and flavor it nicely.
  13. I'm also a single make and sometimes I have to force myself to cook, especially if it's just for me. I can cook, I've taught myself to cook. I wouldn't say I'm anything special though.

    It's true that English and American food is a lot easier to cook than Italian, while it might be easy to cook all the ingredients, it's definitely not as easy to make them taste good!

    That's the bit I'm still practising on...
  14. One of the tricks that's easy to operate in Italy is: cook what is growing in season. I swear, the markets being full of wonderful luscious veggies are like foreplay to a good cookout! In the places where I live (Canada and Germany), the tomatoes are not as sweet and ripe and the broccoli is sometimes more yellowish than vibrant green and tasty. It's a shame.

    Otherwise, I love garlic. :) I think a good tip is to break the rules. Try out stuff. For sweet bolognese sauce, we grate carrots. Sometimes an apple. It's fun.
  15. Oh, lol this is why my husband has been teaching our son to cook from an early age. It is kind of a joke in our family. If he turns out with a wife like me and my cooking skills, he has got to be able to cook for the family!

    Oh, very interesting explanation about the differences of taste and color of the various foods. We all love to go to the market in our family. My mom just got back from spending a month over in Germany and all she could do was talk about the markets!

    Ha ha, yes, I can cook, it is the taste part that is the issue!
  16. Honestly, it's not like there are this many markets where I live in Germany. Nothing similar to when I lived in Rome! I was just four months there, but seriously, the abundance and the temperature made me want to stay forever and grow herbs and veggies on my balcony!
  17. I wish! I am the cook in the house, my fiancée does the DIY and I do the cooking, it is our deal, but I have taught myself how to cook most things. My mother is Irish and my Dad Indian and I learned all the Indian recipes from my mother as my grandmother taught her but not my dad! I love Italian food and am really trying to branch out and make some new things I have never made before and I love experimenting with everything!
  18. Aha. Well, my mother just loved it over there and she loves markets, too. So, guess this why she raved about it. Going to see my brother and family soon, who just got back from Italy. Gonna ask them about the markets there. I am sure they are just going to rave about it, like you! Actually can't wait to hear all about their two years over there and pump them for all kind of fun information!

    Oh, it sounds like you and your better half have it all worked out and what works for you! Cool about your cooking heritage recipes being handed down! Be sure to share with us some of your latest Italian experiments! Always good to get a little more first hand insight! Not that I will probably use it first hand. lol But will share some tips with hubby! He will be surprised, like where did you hear about that idea! haha
  19. I have been trying to teach myself Italian cooking. I search for Italian recipes online I
    have even been watching cooking shows to find good Italian recipes.
  20. There's millions of articles and books devoted to Italian recipes and cooking the Italian way. I'd go as far as to say that it's probably the most searched for style of cuisine in the world.

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