At Ipsum Vinoteca we don’t just love Italian food, but we are advocate of good and healthy food. Andrea, the owner, has put together 10 tips to prepare your food like Ipsum do.
1. Keep it seasonal
We have said it many times and it is all over on our menu, only use seasonal and fresh ingredients, not only they will give plenty of flavour to all of your dishes, but also full of nutrients and vitamins, and by doing so, you will be able to discover plenty of new ingredients and will enjoy your food even more. This is one of the basis of Italian cooking
2. Pasta and sauces
When cooking pasta, there are 2 basic principles to bear in mind. The first one is to cook the pasta al dente, if you are not familiar with the concept, bite one and if you still see a white line inside, then the pasta is “al dente”, not only is like Italian eats it but it is also healthier, it has a lower glycemia index. Secondly, each shape of pasta has its own sauce, without going too much into detail, the rule of thumb is the thicker and bigger the pasta, the richer should be the sauce. Lastly, a good pasta keeps its “cottura”, cooking, it does not start breaking as soon it is served. A special mention for homemade pasta, making pasta is not difficult and homemade pasta can be kept on the freezer, so you can abound, and does not need defrosting. This is the pasta we use at Ipsum and our chefs run masterclasses.
3. Use extra virgin olive oil
Italians love extra virgin olive oil, we use it everywhere, from salad to cooking, we only have extra virgin olive oil. Olives are grown everywhere in Italy and extra virgin olive oils are different, like grapes, depending on where they are grown, have a different taste, northern olive oils are more delicate, southern’s richer. Virgin olive oil is high in good fats and omega 3 as well as containing anti-oxidants and should give you that peppery taste on the back of your throat, if it doesnt, then it is not 100% extra virgin olive oil
4. Vary your dishes
This is very easy if you follow tip number 1, follow the seasonality, and your food will never be the same again
5. Make eating an occasion
Whether a full meal or just a snack, Italians take their time, they are never on the go. Food is not about being fed, but about appreciating and enjoying what we have on the plate, eating is sitting around a table all together and talk, talk and talk. This is one of life’s and Italian’s pleasure.
6. Cook from scratch
If you cook from scratch not only you will appreciate your food much more, but you will know exactly what is in it and you’ll be able to vary and make your daily food more interesting, and once you have done it a few times, it come easily and naturally, and you wonder why you never did it before, like going to the gym, after the first few sessions, you can’t live without. We also think, please note that there is no research to backup this, but simply looking at Italians in general, that if you cook, you tend to eat less and healthier
7. Watch your sauces
Italian don’t flood their dishes with sauces or creams, not only they increase substantially the number of calories count, but change the flavour of the dishes all together and too often spoil it covering all flavours. Always remember that you want to taste the food you cooked, whether pasta or fish or meat, and not just the sauce unless it did not come out as you wanted and need to cover it up.
Italians, more or less, love desserts, from ice cream to panettone, we have something for every season and time. Yes Italy also grows a lot of fruit, so, Italians tend to love their fruit as well, which is healthy, but if you do love desserts like we do, just make them yourself so you know exactly what on them and make it a treat
9. Salad dressing
In Italy there is no such a thing as salad dressing, Cesar dressing or similar, for Italian salad dressing is plenty of olive oil and vinegar, and depending on what in the salad, it could be a good balsamic vinegar, you only need a few drops and want it to be thick and not watery, or a good wine vinegar, tastier and healthier
10. Buon appetito
Finally enjoy your meal, if you have followed the other tips, be proud of what you have done and enjoy your full of flavour, healthy meal, bite after bite and share it with the people you love, and if you can, if you are not driving and can afford a “siesta”, do like Italians always do, have a glass or two of good Italian wine during their meal