CATEGORY Tips And Techniques | August 2013 | PERMALINK POSTED BY Valentina Bertazzoni
Typical produce of the Mediterranean area, extra-virgin olive oil - obtained from the mechanical pressing of olives - is a key ingredient of the Mediterranean diet, with its high content of monounsaturated fats, facilitating the replacement of LDL (bad) cholesterol, with HDL “good” cholesterol in our blood. Extra-virgin olive oil is very digestible and therefore also recommended in the daily diet of those who have digestive problems. Its acidity reaches maximum 1%. Eighteen out of twenty Italian regions produce olive oil and several consortia are now issuing the PDO (Protected Designation of Origin) and PGI (Protected Geographical Indication) labels. Each region can boast at least one brand of extra-vergin olive oil.
We asked Roberto Carcangiu – a famous chef consultant - to help us choose the right type of extra-virgin olive oil, when preparing a dish. Here's what he suggested!
Lombardy, Veneto and Trentino
The typical cultivars of Lombardy, Veneto and Trentino are extensively grown mainly on the shores of Lake Garda and the hills of Veneto. The olive oil they yield has a floral fragrance and tastes of ripe apple and musk, sweet almond, olive and vegetable. I recommend to use it to dress up pasta salad, vinaigrette, freshwater fish and desserts such as carrot cakes.
Liguria main varieties of olive trees are grown on the Riviera di Ponente and on the Riviera di Levante: the coastline to the west and east of Genoa. The oil smells and tastes of olive, almond and vegetable. Great for cooking and frying, this type of oil is ideal in the preparation of mayonnaise, to flavour rice and boiled fish, and for the preparation of desserts, such as olive oil cakes and gruel.
This region can boast a great gastronomic tradition and that has to include olive oil, whose producion is small and mainly limited to the hills of Romagna and the provinces of Ravenna, Forlì and Rimini. There are many cultivars in this area. Among them a native variety of olive tree is grown in Brisighella - near Ravenna - known as Nostrana di Brisighella. This oil is ideal for the preparation of roasts and sauces.
In Tuscany, side by side with the famous vineyards, there are important cultivars that taste of olive, artichoke, fresh grass, almond, vegetable and spices. Tuscan olive oil can be paired with grilled meat, bruschetta made with fresh tomatoes, vegetable soup, fettunta - garlic bread, the typical local unsalted bread, panzanella – a Tuscan salad of bread and tomatoes. It is also used in the preparation of the so-called salsa verde - a savoury sauce made with parsley, anchovies, onion, olive oil and garlic - and for the seasoning of boiled cannellini beans.
Important cultivars have been grown on the hills of Umbria for centuries. The oil produced in this area is spicy and tastes of vegetal. It has the flavour of apple, olive, artichoke and almond. It can be paired with many dishes, such as red meat, legumes, fresh or steamed vegetables. It is at its best for the seasoning of spaghetti with garlic, olive oil and chilli, for the dressing up of the typical local unsalted bread, of pumpkin pie and, finally, of grilled lobsters.
Marche is another region in central Italy worth mentioning for the delicacy of its oil. Cultivars grown in this region yield an oil smelling and tasting of olive, almond and vegetable. Due to its delicacy, this oil is perfectly paired with beef and fish carpaccios. It can also be used for desserts, for fried food, especially fish and as an ingredient for a delicious mayonnaise. Abruzzo
Overlooking the Adriatic Sea, we find the lands of Abruzzo, whose cultivars stand out for their pungent scent of olive, sour almond, apple and vegetable. The oil they yield is very versatile. You can use it on the typical unsalted bread to make it tasty, on egg pasta, on savoury fish and on swordfish tartare, for the preparation of mayonnaise and vinaigrette. It is excellent raw on bitter tasting food, but also as an ingredient in desserts, such as lemon cake and short pastry.
Getting back to the opposite shores of the Mediterranean sea, we find the typical varieties of Latium cultivars. The oil smells and tastes of olive, almond, artichoke and vegetable. This oil is very delicate. It goes well with several dishes and is therefore classified as an all-round oil. It is perfectly paired with rabbit meat and pasta with clams.
Further south, in a warmer climate, we find the famous shores of Campania. The oil grown there has the scent and taste of olive, almond, dried fruit and vegetable. The oil from Campania is best served on fresh vegetables and used in vegetable pies, homemade pasta and white meat.
Calabria and Basilicata
Having reached the southern regions of Calabria and Basilicata, located between the Ionian and the Tyrrhenian seas, we find olive groves of great suggestion, with ancient and tall trees. Next to the regional production of dense and full-bodied oil, perfectly paired with the strong flavours of the local cuisine, there is an equally robust oil, yet fresher and more fluid, to be used for a more delicate and lighter cuisine.
Back to the Adriatic coast, among Molise olive groves, we find an oil that combines the smell and taste of olive, almond and vegetable. It is a well-rounded oil, best served on homemade pasta and fresh vegetables, for the seasoning of white meat, boiled fish and for the preparation of sweets.
In Puglia, one of the Italian regions with the longest-lasting tradition of olive oil production, oil has a typically pungent smell of olive oil, fresh herbs, artichoke and vegetable, while tasting pleasantly spicy, with notes of fresh grass, artichoke and olive. It is excellent on bruschetta, for the preparation of salsa verde for boiled meat and of pesto sauce, as seasoning for pasta and beans and of red meat.
The sun shining on this island makes its olive trees yield a quality of oil that smells pungent and tastes spicy. It has the flavour of olive, artichoke, sour tomato and fresh grass. It is best matched with bruschetta or with bread, grilled meat, fresh vegetables, caprese - a salad of mozzarella cheese, tomatoes, and fresh basil – and with salmoriglio: a sauce made of oil for the seasoning of grilled fish.
The typical cultivars of Sardinia, the other major Italian island, produce oil which has a pungent aroma and a spicy taste. It has a characteristic flavour of olive, artichoke and fresh grass, as is the case with the oils produced in Puglia and Sicily.
CATEGORY Tips And Techniques | June 2013 | PERMALINK POSTED BY Elisabetta Bertazzoni
Among the functions of Bertazzoni new generation electric and hybrid ovens we can find dehydration, a method of long term food storage consisting in removing water from food, to prevent the proliferation of mold and bacteria that would find in water the suitable environment to develop. This method has been known and practiced since ancient times: people dried vegetables, fruits and mushrooms in the sun, during the warmer months, to make provisions for the winter. Nowadays it is possible to dehydrate food using other heat sources. Dehydration is preferable to other natural methods of storage, such as salting and cooking, as it allows you to preserve food for a long time, without significantly altering its organoleptic characteristics. In particular, dehydration allows you to maintain minerals and proteins. It is an alternative technique to storage in glass jars, or in the freezer.
The flavour of dehydrated foods is generally stronger than that of fresh foods. Among the foods that are commonly dehydrated or dried we find legumes, fruit, tea, vegetables, aromatic plants and herbs such as basil, parsley, rosemary and sage. The ideal dehydration temperature varies depending on the amount of water contained in the food, but the temperature of 104 ° F can be considered as a reference value. A low dehydration temperature requires a longer process, but the nutritive properties of food will be better preserved. You can also leave the thermostat set to zero degrees and let the lamps in the oven be the only heating source. The foods you intend to dehydrate must be perfectly clean, mature and not bruised. Once dehydrated, they must be hermetically sealed in sterilized containers, to prevent them from reabsorbing water from the air.
Keep in mind, as a rule, that fruit requires much longer average dehydration times (24-36 hours) than vegetables (4-8 hours) or aromatic plants and herbs (3-5 hours). Food should be subject to dehydration in the oven for several hours - up to 8 hours per day - for 3-4 days. Then you should let it rest each time for 12 hours. Dehydration times are greatly reduced if fruits and vegetables are cut into slices or small pieces. For best results, cut the food in halves, or to pieces, or slice it up into thin slices, 0.39 inch thick at most. If your oven is not provided with the dehydration function, use an electric oven, preferably in fan-assisted mode. If your oven operates only in conventional, static mode, open the oven door to let the air circulate. You can also dehydrate food in a gas oven, but since it is unprovided with low temperatures, the oven lights and fan must be switched on only. Do not use a microwave oven, which does not have fan-assisted modes, except for the dehydration of herbs. Keep containers of dehydrated food in a cool, dark, dry place. You can eat dehydrated fruit for a whole year, while vegetables should be consumed within six months.
CATEGORY Tips And Techniques | May 2013 | PERMALINK POSTED BY Nicola Bertazzoni
Many last generation Bertazzoni ovens have a pyrolytic self-cleaning function. It is therefore extremely easy to keep the oven in perfect conditions of hygiene and cleanliness. The special coating makes it possible for the oven to reach a very high temperature, removing dirt and food scraps. It is a perfectly ecological system, which does not require the use of detergents, but is based on high-temperature cleaning and sterilising. A thorough cleaning of the oven, in Bertazzoni most recent series, is also made possible by the removable inner glass. This operation is to be performed with a soft, damp cloth, when the oven is cold, taking care not to use abrasive products. Use neither an abrasive sponge nor steel wool, nor products containing chlorine, such as bleach, when cleaning the stainless steel oven cavity and wire grids. Use only neutral detergents and lukewarm water, or even a mild grease remover. The best cleaning products contain ammonia. After using the oven, take care not to let any solid or liquid residues deposit, because the steel may become permanently stained. It is adviseable to clean the oven after each use, especially after cooking a roast or after using the grill. Once heated, the dirt would burn and stick, so it would become very difficult to remove it. Before cleaning the oven, it is essential to remember disconnecting power to your range and turning your gas valve off. If the oven is not too dirty, clean it when it is still warm with a solution of hot water and detergent and leave it open to dry. Polish up the oven coating and the wire parts with a cloth. If the dirt is particularly resistant, put a baking tray or pan on the bottom of the oven and fill it with water, then let it evaporate to soften the dirt. Proceed to remove the dirt as shown above. Never use steam cleaners or high pressure water cleaners.
CATEGORY Tips And Techniques | March 2013 | PERMALINK POSTED BY Valentina Bertazzoni
Here are a few tips to obtain an excellent meat dish. First and foremost it is essential to know how to choose the suitable cutting. I have listed for you, below, the main types of cooking, next to the recommended cuts of meat, both in British English and American English, when the words differed:
1. BOILED MEAT: plate, brisket, thick rib.
2. BRAISED MEAT: plate, shank, shin, leg.
3. BROTHS: brisket, shank, foreshank, shin, leg, tail.
4. CASSEROLES: round, topside, silverside, shank, foreshank, shin, leg.
5. ESCALOPES: rump.
6. FILETS: tenderloin.
7. GOULASH: brisket.
8. HAMBURGERS: flank, plate.
9. MEAT SAUCE: flank, plate.
10. MINCED MEAT: flank, plate.
11. POT ROASTS: shank, round, thick flank.
12. ROAST BEEF: ribs, rump, sirloin.
13. ROAST MEAT: plate, brisket, round, round steak, topside, chuck, brisket, thick rib.
14. SIRLOIN STEAKS: sirloin.
15. SLICED VEAL SHANK: shank.
16. STEAKS: sirloin, short loin, rib.
17. STEWS: plate, round, topside, silverside, thick flank.
18. STUFFED VEAL ROLL: plate, flank.
CATEGORY Tips And Techniques | October 2012 | PERMALINK POSTED BY NICOLA BERTAZZONI
When you buy a pot or a pan, you should consider carefully the type of use you want to make of it. Not all materials, in fact, are suitable for the same function!
Stainless steel, for example, has many advantages: it is durable, it is hygienic and easy to clean. It is particularly fit for boiling, while food tends to "stick" to the pot easily. It has low conductivity.
Aluminum is light and has high conductivity. It is suitable for all types of cooking, with the exception of frying. However it buckles, it is porous and it tends to stain light-colour sauces.
Teflon non-stick coatings allow you to cook without fats and do not stick to food. However, the coating is easily scratched. These types of coating are particularly suitable for the preparation of omelettes and sautés.
Ceramic, as a coating material for pots and pans, has lower non-stick properties and it is more fragile than an ordinary non-stick pan. On the other hand, it is healthier and it is ideal for golden brown and crisp cooking.
Tinned copper has high conductivity, it is hard-wearing and it does not stick, but it oxidizes easily. It is suitable for all types of cooking, but it is used primarily by "professionals", because of its high cost.
Iron is non-stick and thermostatic. It is used for cooking on a high flame and for frying, but it rusts easily.
Cast iron has good thermo-regulating capacity and it is non-stick. On the other hand, it is very heavy and fragile. It is ideal for stewing and casseroling.
Clay is fit for all heat sources, but it heats up slowly. It is ideal for cooking stews, on a low flame, but it is fragile and it absorbs odours.
Pyrex glass is not a good thermal conductor. It is used almost exclusively for cooking in a traditional oven or in a microwave. Excellent material when it comes to food, it is fragile and not very resistant to sudden temperature changes.
CATEGORY Tips And Techniques | September 2012 | PERMALINK POSTED BY Valentina Bertazzoni
Native of China, but nowadays used all over the world, a wok is a dome-shaped pan, once made only of iron or cast iron, now also of stainless steel or teflon.
It allows you to cook by dipping the food in little oil, as the central point is in direct contact with the flame. It is used for any type of cooking, from deep frying to steaming, casseroling, or stewing. A typical characteristic of wok cooking is its speed. This type of cooking allows you to maintain the nutritive value of food unaltered, while its flavour remains unchanged.
rinse your wok under running water, with little or no detergent and a soft sponge. Dry it on the fire and put it away after having spread a few drops of oil on its surface.
CATEGORY Tips And Techniques | May 2012 | PERMALINK POSTED BY Valentina Bertazzoni
In the Bertazzoni family tradition, baking and roasting have always been considered as healthy alternatives to cooking on a burner. The baking, in fact, is excellent both to cook foods and to warm them up. For each type of use and for each type of food there is an ideal type of oven and an ideal cooking function/setting. Gas ovens, for example, are ideal for fish and roasting meat. Gas reaches a high temperature in a short time, which helps to seal the food, making it crispy outside, but keeping it juicy inside. Electric ovens, on the other hand, are ideal for mid-to low-temperature cooking, such as baking or recipes that require slow cooking, such as casseroles. Moreover, the non-convection mode is excellent for baking cakes, while the fan-assisted mode ensures an even heat distribution, for single and multi-level roasting and baking, without flavour crossover.
Steam ovens, designed for professional chefs, employ water vapour for fast and healthy cooking. Keep that seals in flavour and vitamins. Steam ovens are ideal for vegetables, fish, meat and they allow you not to use added fats. The quality of the food remains excellent, while you save on time and energy, up to 15-20%, compared to traditional baking. It is also ideal for the warming of food.
To finish with, microwave ovens, heat up very fast. In fact, the heat is produced without heating the oven and the pan, as is the case for traditional baking. Microwave ovens preserve the nutritional value of foods and produce a lower fat oxidation. It is not, however, suitable for reaching high temperatures or for cooking thick food. They are unsuitable, for example, for the preparation of cakes and roasts. They are ideal for the defrosting and for the warming up of food. Remember to use glass or porcelain pots and no lid.
The Bertazzoni family recipe book includes many easy ways of cooking vegetables in the oven. Here is a simple and tasty one: put sliced tomatoes, aubergines, courgettes and onions (or leeks) into an oiled tray and cover them with a mixture of bread crumbs, garlic, parsley, basil, salt and oil. Bake at 180 ° C for about 20 minutes. Turn the grill on for the last 5 minutes. Enjoy your meal!
CATEGORY Tips And Techniques | April 2012 | PERMALINK POSTED BY Nicola Bertazzoni
Created by renowned Italian chef consultant Roberto Carcangiu for Bertazzoni Professional and Design Series, the Bertazzoni Assistant has been designed so that you, the cook, remain in control, without being obliged to monitor the cooking all the time. It consists of a specially-developed micro-processor control system, with exclusive settings. To use the Assistant, you decide on the main ingredient and its size/weight. You also select the type of cooking, including slow cooking, and the desired finish. At this point the Assistant takes over and continuously adjusts functions, temperature and time. Once the manual cooking of a particular dish has been completed, you can save it to the oven’s memory for future automatic use. The retrieve function allows you to repeat automatically the cooking method of any dish you have previously saved. There are no pre-loaded recipes, only suggested cooking methods organized in food categories and desired results. Simple, versatile, useful, the Bertazzoni Assistant lets you build up your own bank of cooking methods that are yours only.
CATEGORY Tips And Techniques | February 2012 | PERMALINK POSTED BY Valentina Bertazzoni
Human beings have eaten pasta for over 7,000 years and it is therefore very difficult to determine who invented it. The term pasta derives from the Greek πάστα and it means “dough”. One hundred years before Christ, Cicero and Horace already loved pasta, and, in A.D.1154, the Arab geographer Al-Idrin celebrated "a delicacy made of flour, in the shape of cords". It was called triyah, and it was manufactured in Palermo. Here is the first evidence of the existence of spaghetti nine hundred years ago!
In Italy, dry pasta - the one commonly on sale, not to be mistaken with handmade fresh pasta - is prepared only with durum wheat. According to the Italian law, it can be made exclusively with durum semolina or durum wheat and water. Durum wheat allows pasta to hold up to cooking, unlike soft wheat.
When you have to choose the right type of pasta, remember that smooth surface pasta is appreciated for its lightness, while the ridged type of pasta is usually preferred for its ability to retain the sauce.
when you want to cook pasta, fill a large pan with salted water, so that pasta does not stick. If you find out at the very last moment that the pan you have chosen is too small and you can do nothing about it, you can always add a little oil to the cooking water!
CATEGORY Tips And Techniques | July 2011 | PERMALINK POSTED BY Elisabetta Bertazzoni
If you are a “green” person and you are looking for some energy saving tips you can turn the oven off a few minutes before your food is ready. Cooking will continue by inertia allowing you to save up to 40% of energy.
CATEGORY Tips And Techniques | April 2011 | PERMALINK POSTED BY Valentina Bertazzoni
When grilling pay attention to how long it takes to the food to become crusty. If it’s too slow your food is sweatting and evaporating is getting colder. The grilling function is also used just to color your food: the golden brown finish makes your dish look better and more tasteful... appearence matters also in cooking.
CATEGORY Tips And Techniques | February 2011 | PERMALINK POSTED BY Valentina Bertazzoni
There are two reasons to do this: the first one is that you can really save your pasta if you have dried it too much, for example if you are tossing it in a hot pan with other ingredients or simply if your time management is not so perfect, as sometimes happens when cooking.
The second reason has to do with chemistry: the water in which you boil the pasta collects starch. Once heated again it expands and mixes very well with the gravy and the pasta. Get a sumptuous presentation and a pleasant creamy feel to the palate, not an oily one, but much lighter!
CATEGORY Tips And Techniques | November 2010 | PERMALINK POSTED BY Nicola Bertazzoni
For your home cooking needs it might take some getting used to using a gas oven, however the difference in results in very noticeable.
When using a gas oven remember that the temperature rises very fast and that pre-heating the oven is a must. Observing those basic ground rules is definitely worth it, as the moist heat generated by natural and LP gas does wonders to the food.
During combustion humidity is released and envelopes the food, resulting in tender and juicy roasts or plump patisseries coming out of your gas oven.
The Bertazzoni obsession with precision engineering has optimized the gas oven to prevent the drying out of foods and can be depended on to give you tasty results every single time.
CATEGORY Tips And Techniques | September 2010 | PERMALINK POSTED BY Elisabetta Bertazzoni
Did you know a roast can be made to perfection using a large roasting pot? Start on the cooktop burner, in this case from cold (yes let’s break the rules), letting it cook slowly and covered until nearly done. Then remove the cover and give it a good ten minutes roasting in a scorching hot oven, by using the grill at full power. The taste is fantastic.
And here is one more tip: make sure your pot has metal handles, not plastic! Otherwise your family and neighborhood might notice that your experiment went wrong.
CATEGORY Tips And Techniques | July 2010 | PERMALINK POSTED BY Valentina Bertazzoni
Here is a tip for a healthy alternative to deep frying. We call it “Roast Frying”.
Roast frying is very easy and applicable to low profile foods that are thin in shape, such as breadcrumb battered pork chops: just spray olive or frying oil all over the breadcrumb covered pork chops, preheat the oven to 430 F° (220° C) temperature and place the pork chops on a wire shelf or the roasting insert for the oven roasting pan. Then place the food on the wire shelf for 10 to 15 minutes. Wait until golden brown.
Your results will even be better when selecting the convection cooking mode. All Bertazzoni gas and electric ovens offer a convection cooking option as a standard feature. The resulting taste of the food might differ from traditional deep frying yet the flavors are plentiful and definitively healthier.
As an added bonus there is no oil splatter from the frying pan all over your kitchen counter and cooktop.
CATEGORY Tips And Techniques | April 2010 | PERMALINK POSTED BY Elisabetta Bertazzoni
For excellent cooking results always remember to pre-heat the oven.
Pre-heat the oven to about 35° F (20° C) above the desired cooking temperature. When opening the oven door to insert the food, some heat will escape, and in addition the food and the roasting pan/baking sheet will be cold, resulting some degrees of heat loss.
The higher pre-heat temperature will have several benefits: tastier and crisper food, shorter cooking times and some energy savings! Don’t forget however to re-set the temperature selector to the original recipe temperature setting after inserting the food.