Known for some of the tastiest dishes around, Italian cuisine is amazingly delicious. It is no wonder that Italian fair is a common choice for individuals looking to eat out or order in. However, you don’t need to visit your local Italian restaurant to enjoy these Italian delicacies. Many of the most popular dishes are simple enough to be made right at home. An advantage of cooking your own Italian-inspired meal at home is that you can control what ingredients you use and how much you use.
Whether you own a seasoned home cook or you are just starting to explore your culinary, here are 5 tips for healthy Italian cooking you can utilize when cooking at home.
1. Use High-Quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Many Italian dishes call for EVOO, you may be tempted to use your regular cooking oil or even butter as a substitute, but this will not add the flavours classic Italian dishes exuded, as well as being a less healthy alternative. When possible use high-quality extra virgin olive oil with a high content of anti-oxidants, omega 3, and monounsaturated fats that can promote your overall health.
Even when using olive oil, you should avoid using too much of it. You stick to using the minimum amount required to prepare your dish.
2. Include Fresh Ingredients
Typically, an Italian meal is prepared with fresh produce. You should consider making your meal plans based on what produce is in season. By using fresh produce versus frozen or canned you can be certain that your meal will be rich in nutrients that your body needs. Also, by including seasonally fresh ingredients, your meal will sure to be filled with natural flavours, reducing the need for seasoning such as salt.
3. Fresh Fruits for Dessert
While cookies and cakes are common desserts found at Italian restaurants, they are not the healthiest option. It is very common to have fruit served after a meal in Italy, and this is the healthier choice when preparing a meal at home as well. After all, you will still get your sweet fix from the fresh fruit, while providing a healthier menu addition.
4. Cooking Pasta in Moderation
Limit the amount of pasta you cook for each sitting. In many cases, home chefs cook much more pasta than needed. Resultantly, they will end up cooking pasta that is too much for the number of individuals that will be enjoying the meal, this normally leads to seconds and maybe even third helpings. You should rather prepare about 120g of dried pasta for each individual. Similarly, you shouldn’t overcook pasta. Cooking pasta to be soft enough to bite, but not overly soft will help fill you up and ensures you are satisfied for an extended period.
5. Reduce the Amount of Sauce Used
The best and most healthy Italian pasta is not fully immersed in sauce. In general, the pasta is lightly coated with sauce. This helps the enjoyment of the meal by incorporating just the right amount of flavour as well as helps reduce the overall calories of the meal.
These are just a few tips to help you cook delicious, yet healthy Italian-inspired meals at home. Buon Appetito!