If you want the word on authentic Italian cooking, where better to find it than in Italy? Today’s guest post is contributed by that modern-day Renaissance Man best known as Guilherme Zo’C — and I think you’ll enjoy his joyful approach to cooking! ~ Jen
How to cook original Italian style
Sun dried tomatoes, just as most other dried food, were invented mostly to overcome food shortage on winter. In southern Italy, people dried the tomatoes in the sun and, to make them last even more, they conserved them into olive oil, a mix that could easily last for a long winter.
These days, anyone can have dried tomatoes just because is delicious, and just because of this, about a month ago I decided to make my own conserve of Sun Dried Tomatoes.
Because I had never done one, I found it appropriate to google a bit before I start. I found many pages with similar, although different, procedures. After a bit of reading I put my thoughts in order and my hands into it.
You can dry the tomatoes yourself by cutting them into halves, cover them with a mix of sugar and salt and let them dry in the sun for a couple of days, but I decided to buy them already dried because it was the conserve I was actually interested in.
For the conserve, pick a clean and preferably sterilized glass pot and pour some Extra Virgin Olive Oil nto it. Put a layer of sun-dried tomatoes, then cover them with olive oil, then another layer of tomatoes and so on.
Be sure the olive oil covers entirely the tomatoes. Cover and let them rest for 2 weeks before using it. If the oil properly covers the tomatoes and you keep the jar from dust, they can last for the whole winter as in the old days before the refrigerator and canned food.
So far, so good, but what is so interesting in this conserve, why didn’t I just buy the conserve, once I have bought the tomatoes already?
Well, the fun part is that you can chose your favorite oil other things to go into the jar with the tomatoes and oil. Among the recipes I read, I found suggestions to add garlic, basil, oregano, peppers… but I also found a warning:
Sorry, I must disagree!
A good part of original Italian cuisine was developed by housewives, little local restaurant cooks and even the poor and the people in general trying to survive to winters, wars and misery. What makes it so good is the intimate cultural relationship they have with food, that naturally becomes a cooking instinct.
I think the only way to really cook Italian style, is to develop an instinct and invent your own dishes on a daily basis, even if your first attempts are so bad that Italians themselves would laugh at it.
Guilherme is a Web Designer and works freelance in northern Italy.
His past work life includes also developing software prototypes for Sony Ericsson mobiles, teaching Photoshop, compiler design and photography.
He is happily married to Anna, and in his free time he enjoys cinema, traveling, cooking and eating.