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Italian Cooking for Dummies

These tips and more are included in my new cookbook!
Click here to get your copy!

Boiling Over: Butter or grease the rim of a pan in which you cook rice or pasta so it won't boil over.
Cooking Lasagna Noodles: Use lots of water so the pasta has plenty of room to expand. To prevent tearing, cook at a moderate yet constant boil. Use a wood or plastic spoon, or heat-resistant rubber spatula to stir occasionally while cooking. Stir gently. Always boil pasta less time (the short end of the cook time) if it will continue to cook in a baked dish or in a recipe on the stove top. This also reduces the chance of tearing. Drain pasta carefully! Slowly pour water from pan so that pasta slides gently into a colander. Rinse pasta thoroughly in cold water and drain well. Place in a covered container right away to prevent pasta from sticking together.
Cooking Perfect Pasta: To prevent pasta from sticking together use plenty of water, cook at a constant boil, and stir occasionally. There is no need to add oil to pasta while it's cooking. Once pasta has been added to boiling water, start timing when the water returns to a boil. There is no need to rinse cooked pasta. If you do, the sauce won't cling. Rinse pasta only if it will be used for a salad or will be set aside or stored for later use.
Cutting Pizza: No pastry wheel? You'll find that kitchen shears cut through pizza - stringy cheese and all - more quickly and cleanly than a knife. Besides, they won't scratch or mar your pizza pan.
Freezing Pizza Dough: Make pizza dough in double batches and freeze half. You can even roll out the extra dough, fit it into a pizza pan, and freeze it flat for a head start on a fast meal.
Making Better Pizza Sauce: Intensity of tomato sauce may be adjusted by amount of garlic and crushed peppercorn used. "Bite" of sauce may be increased by adding Balsamic vinegar. Create oil sauces using extra virgin olive oil, herbs/spices, and fresh garlic.
Making Better Pizza Crusts: Use high-gluten flour such as Pillsbury Bread Flour and Gold Medal Better for Bread. Use 1 oz. dough portion or less per 1" pizza diameter (for example, 7 oz. dough = 8" pizza). Store individual raw dough portions dusted with flour in Ziploc bags in refrigerator up to a week or in freezer up to a month. Bake on pizza stone or pizza screen for crisper crust.

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