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Nikko Jacino, Toronto chef and founder of The Chef Cartel, demonstrates the techniques to making this authentic dish
Chef Giuseppe Posteraro, of Cioppino's Mediterranean Grill in Vancouver, on using Italian pantry essentials to take the ordinary to the extraordinary
What key Italian ingredients should every home cook have on hand?
Parmigiano-Reggiano and Grana Padano, extra-virgin olive oil, artisanal pasta, coarse sea salt and Tomato San Marzano produce nella piana di Nocera Inferiore.
Why is it so important to use Italian extra-virgin olive oil?
Oil that comes from Italy is low in acidity and is obtained only through mechanical means, almost always harvested on the plant. Use it at the last minute for the perfect finish. When you’re making sauce, cook it at low heat with whole garlic (no onions or chopped garlic) to let it infuse in the oil, then remove it and add a little basil.
What are some of the biggest mistakes people make when preparing Italian dishes?
Cooking pasta for too long – you need to take two minutes away for what the packaging time indicates. And don’t cook the tomatoes for a long time, either. It’s a myth that tomatoes have to be cooked slowly in order to extract their full flavour.
What are the common mistakes home cooks should know to avoid?
Grate Parmigiano-Reggiano or Grana Padano just before serving – that way you can taste the true greatness of the cheese, with no oxidation and loss of flavour. And when you’re making sauce, use coarse Italian sea salt from Sicily – it releases its crystals slowly and saturates the sauce with flavour.