This is how I used to execute a simple pesto recipe in the days I was a poor college-student.
Mix ground beef, eggs, breadcrumbs, milk, salt, pepper and cheese blend together. Shape meatballs, brown in skillet with some of the olive oil; turn to brown all sides. Remove from skillet. In a large pan brown onions and garlic in a small amount of olive oil. Add jars of pasta sauce and tomatoes. Add meatballs to sauce and simmer on low 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cook spaghetti. Serve spaghetti and meatballs with sauce and top with shredded mozzarella or parmesan cheese.
Sometimes if I have a busy day I just make the meatballs and stick everything in a crock pot for the day. No need to brown the meatballs.
Savoring the Taste of Italian Cuisine
by Alesha Wilson
Italian cooking offers wide-ranging types of appetizing food, making it among the world’s richest cuisine. This is attributed to the domination of the Italian peninsula by many tribes and empires, each contributing to its cuisine throughout history. Italian cooking has been influenced by the Greek, Roman, Norman and Arab civilizations.
The dishes are intensely flavorful so that the preparation appears to be very intricate. It is so confusing to select from variants, however, each dish seems to be perfect for every occasion. Digging among Italian recipes is worth the find, be it a snack of a full meal.
The influence of other cultures in Italian cooking resulted to the inclusion of various cooking methods used by other countries while other techniques originate from Italy and are specific to their cuisine. Here are some basic terms in Italian cooking that starters need to know:
• Al dente – an Italian expression for rightly cooked pasta felt by the tooth.
• Aromatics – herbs and spices
• Bain-marie – a pan of water that is used to protect delicate foods from the direct heat of the oven during baking.
• Battuto – a combination of chopped raw vegetables for sautéing
• Besamella (Béchamel) – a classic white sauce made with milk
• Beurre Blanc – a rich butter and wine sauce
• Cioppino – a fish stew usually made with white wine and tomatoes
• Deglaze – to add liquid to a pan to dissolve stuck food or juices
• Frittata – an Italian baked omelet.
• Gnocchi – a starchy dumpling usually made from potatoes.
• Gratin – a casserole baked in a shallow dish
• Mandoline – a slicer with diverse cutting blades
• Mirepoix – a mixture of diced vegetables
• Roux – a mixture of flour and butter used to thicken sauces, soups, and gravies
• Vinaigrette – classic French salad dressing made of one part vinegar and three parts oil.
• Zest – thin, brightly colored rind of citrus fruits containing aromatic oils.
Given basic directions and little practice coupled with knowledge of these basic cooking terms, Italian dishes come really quite easy to prepare though seemingly complicated.
"We had some amazing Italian food when we traveled to Italy during the summer of 2008 for our honeymoon! One of our best meals was grilled fish (which was very fresh!) and vegetables. I took a picture of the vegetables, because they were so pretty! Certainly they were not the same old soggy vegetables one gets in the U.S. when ordering a mixture of vegetables!"
Note from Maria: Thanks Holly for your submission and photo. It's true, side dishes in Italy can easily become the best part of the meal! Grilled vegetables are very popular, as are steamed and baked. My favorite thing to order I see in the photo above - grilled eggplant! I also love potatoes tossed in olive oil and baked. YUM. There is nothing tastier than that!