Methods of Cooking in Italy

Risotto image by Yvonne Bogdanski from

If you'd like to create more authentic, savoury Italian cooking, your cooking method may be just as important as your ingredients and recipe. Incorporating some cooking techniques and methods commonly used in Italy can bring out more complex flavours in your dishes.


Battuto means beaten in Italian. It's a finely minced combination of one fourth-part salt fat, bacon or pancetta, one half-part onion and one fourth-part garlic. Occasionally the cook adds carrots, fennel, bell pepper or chillies. Everything mixes together in a food processor as if it's been beaten or mashed. This serves as the base for a variety of Italian sauces, soups and casseroles. The mixture is sautéed in olive oil to yellow the onions. Any additional ingredients like tomato or wine stock are added.

Crudo and Trito

Crudo involves adding fresh herbs and veggies to a dish about to be served. Choices typically include fennel, bell peppers, chives, tomato and/or garlic. Dishes that feature this method well are Rice and Peas, or Risi e Bisi and Pasta Primavera. Trito is the particular combination of celery, carrots, onions and parsley that's added to many dishes.


Dishes in Italy are commonly browned in hot fat, then cooked in liquid mixture containing wine stock or broth. Flavour enhancing herbs, such as garlic, bell peppers, chives or fennel, are commonly added. The veal shank recipe, Osso Buco, requires braising. Risotto also requires a cooking method similar to braising.

Pan Roasting

Like braising, food in Italy, may be quickly cooked in a bit of extremely hot fat , such as butter or olive oil. This is also known as sautéing, though sometimes larger amounts of fat are used for deep frying. Pan roasting is like braising. A cook browns the food in hot fat, then cooks it in a very small amount of liquid, enough so it won't dry out. This method is common of chicken, veal and rabbit dishes.

Oil Simmering

In Sicily, cooks simmer raw veggies in a mixture of olive oil and oregano. It gives the veggies a crisp texture and golden-brown hue. Broccoli and cauliflower are commonly featured in this method.


This minimalistic sauce hails from Sicily and accents many a seafood dish there. The juice of at least two lemons, plenty of chopped oregano, parsley, and olive oil infused with garlic are mixed to create a vinaigrette to be splashed over grilled swordfish.

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