It comes in different shapes, sizes and names and is among the world's favourite foods, but Italian chef Angelo Maria Franchini cautions that all that is passed off as pasta is not really pasta. He was here to educate the people about the basics, ingredients and techniques to prepare pasta and other Italian food during a three-day EAT (European Art of Taste) event.
"The best pasta is penne with arrabbiata sauce," he told IANS, adding: "I have a suggestion. If you want to eat pasta at one O'clock for lunch, don't prepare it two hours in advance. It should be made and consumed fresh. It shouldn't be stored. You can only store pasta salads in the fridge."EAT, funded by the European Union and the Italian government, ended Wednesday.
It stressed on four products which are the basis of Italian cooking - pasta made of 100 percent durum wheat; olive oil of certified origin; Provolone Valpadana PDO cheese; and wines of certified origin from different Italian Regions.
Franchini also shot off some quick-fire tips.
"Boil 100 gms of pasta in one litre of water and don't over cook it. Capellini is not good for the sauce, it is meant for for soup. Spaghetti is for sauce," informed Franchini, who relishes tandoori chicken, fish and vegetable when it comes to Indian cuisine and says he can even "roll out chapatis".
Known for opening Italian restaurants in many countries, Franchine was quite positive about starting one in India too. "Maybe in Mumbai and Delhi," he said.
Speaking on behalf of EAT, Nina Saxena, director of Eloquenza that conducts Italian language classes and organises cultural events, the thrust of the programme was on cooking the Italian way.
"The basic aim was to educate people about what is authentic the importance of where the ingredients are coming from. They should understand how to differentiate from a lot of Italian-sounding food products in the market. Everyone calls everything pasta. But everything is not pasta.
"The idea was to educate people to eat Italian food the Italian way. People are now reaching a level where they can differentiate and this is one point this programme focused on. That is why we got chef Angelo here so that consumers can have first-hand training and use first-hand products in the manner the Italians do."
Well-versed in Italian culture, food and fluent in the Italian language, Saxena said that just like in India where "we have multitudes of dishes in each region, this is also true for Italy. We would like remove the misconceptions and mystery behind Italian food. It is not so difficult. You need a few basic ingredients and techniques - and if you follow the techniques you can actually have a really nice spread which is easy to prepare and easy on your budget."