Saturday, May 2, 2009

Aromatic Herbs in Italian Cooking 1 :Rosemary

Use of herbs and spices is basic in Italian cooking. Let’s start talk about the most important ones we cannot miss in our herb garden or in the kitchen. We’ll forget how to cultivate them or how to use them for medical uses as it would be too long ,only the cooking use.
"An herb is the friend of physicians and the praise of cooks."
- Charlemagne
Besides helping flavor foods when cutting back on salt, fat and sugar, herbs may offer additional benefits of their own. Researchers are finding many culinary herbs (both fresh and dried) have antioxidants that may help protect against diseases .
Pick herbs close to the time you use them to get the best flavor .To extend their freshness, place them in a vase with water, like cut flowers.
For most recipes mince herbs into tiny pieces ,chop with a mezzaluna
A blender would reduce herbs to a paste.

At first we talk about :
ROSEMARY better to be used fresh as desiccated leaves loose flavor. To strip the leaves from a woody sprig, simply hold the stem in one hand and remove the leaves using the finger and thumb of the other hand, pushing against the direction of the growth.
Rosemary's pungent flavor complements fatty meats particularly well, When grilling, toss a sprig or two of fresh rosemary onto the coals to add a wonderfully intense smokiness to your meats.You can use a woodier branch from the plant as to brush oil on grilling meat.
On grilling a lamb it’s compulsory as its aromatic smells eliminates the characteristic sheep smell.
Rosemary in marinades, or as an accent for Mediterranean vegetables.
Great in some tomato sauces. Pay attention not to use too much especially in summer when it can be too pungent .Half a branch is usually enough. In Tuscany it is used even in certain breads and dessert just slightly cooking it in oil and the n using the oil. With oil we mean :Extra Vergin Olive Oil !!!!

And now a Pasta sauce with rosemary:

Penne agli Aromi
Penne with Aromatic Herbs

2 cloves of garlic
1 onion
1 sprig of rosemary
1 sprig of sage
1 bunch of parsley
½ teaspoonful of oregano
½ glass of olive oil
500g peeled plum tomatoes
30g grated Parmigiano

Finely chop the garlic,the onion and all the herbs.In a wide frying pan lightly brown the garlic and the onion in the oil for a few minutes. Then add the chopped herbs and the oregano. Stir the ingredients for a few seconds over a low flame, then add the tomatoes. Mix everything together well, add salt and pepper and cook the sauce for approx. 15 minutes. Add the cream, continuing to mix and let the sauce thicken slightly: then add the pasta and sprinkle with grated parmigiano Stir everything for a few minutes in the frying pan over a medium flame. Serve immediately hot.
Suggestion: do not add the cream and add a peperoncino

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