Recipes & Tips

Italian Cooking Tips

Recipes and Tips

Love Italian cooking? Here are some tips and tricks to help you create delicious Italian food every time.

Pizza base

If you don’t have dough, you can use a flat bread like pita for your base. Don’t forget Leggo’s Sugo Pomodoro makes the perfect tomato sauce for home-made pizza.

Olive oils

There are two you need to know – extra-virgin and pure. Extra-virgin is top quality oil from the first cold pressing of the olives. It’s also the most expensive. Use it for dressing salads, drizzling on pasta, risotto, vegetables, or as a final touch of seasoning. Pure olive oil comes from the second or third pressing of the olives. It’s a little cheaper and is used mostly for cooking and frying.

Italian Cooking Tips

Peeling garlic

Squash the unpeeled garlic with the flat side of a large knife. This loosens the skin and releases flavour. Peel the garlic, then roughly chop.

Layers of flavour

Italians build their dishes from the ground up. Start with a good olive oil. Add the onions. Release the flavour then add garlic. Bring the garlic to life then add carrots and celery. Next come the tomatoes, dried spices and for a final touch fresh herbs. Layer upon layer of flavour. 

Magic Meat

Stud your meat with rosemary, garlic and anchovies by making small incisions with your knife then inserting your favourite flavour bursts. When barbequing chicken or lamb, add Leggo’s Pesto to natural yoghurt and a little olive oil for a magic marinade in minutes.

Simmer means simmer

If an Italian recipe says ‘simmer for an hour’, don’t try to speed up things by turning the heat to high for 15 minutes. You won’t get the same result. Remember, cook with love.

Quick appetiser

For a simple start to an antipasto platter, combine Kalamata olives with Leggo’s Pesto and a little oil and refrigerate overnight to marinate.


With pasta a southern passion, risotto is a favourite from Italy’s north. Short grain arborio rice is used with stock added gradually while you stir the rice. Stirring helps release starch, giving risotto its distinctive, lustrous creamy texture. Think common long grain rice will do? It won’t. 

To cheese or not to cheese?

Not every pasta needs to be topped with cheese. For example, adding cheese to seafood pasta or pastas made with olives and capers may raise an Italian eyebrow or two. Of course, if you know you like cheese on a dish, go for it.

Best basil

For maximum flavour, tear basil. The steel of a knife actually oxidizes the basil and turns the cut edge of the basil black. Chopping it will also leave some of the flavour on the board.


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