Italian Cooking Quick Tips

Italia cooking quick tips

Following hot on the heels of this pasta tips page, these Italian cooking quick tips are designed to improve your Italian cooking skills, and keep you safe from kitchen harm.

These quick cooking tips span a range of topics, from cracking nuts in your hand and removing annoying garlic smells.

To find the beginner-friendly advice for you, just click the links below or scroll down the page.

(To submit your Italian cooking tip, click here!)

Burns / Cracking Nuts / Fresh Pasta / Frying / Garlic Smells / Making Pasta Sauce / Veggies


Burned yourself on a pan? Forget about running it under cold water for 10 minutes, just cover the area in toothpaste and you’ll avoid a nasty red burn mark. Bizarre yes, but it works.

Cracking Nuts

Save cash on nut crackers by simply squeezing walnuts together in your fist, two at a time.

Unless you’re particularly feeble-handed, they should smash easily. (Then grab some gorgonzola cheese and combine with these nut bits to make a lovely blue cheese pasta!)

fresh tagliatelle pastaFresh Pasta

For the very best pasta texture and consistency, when you’ve rolled out your fresh pasta, hang it over a chair back or shelf to dry out for 5 minutes.

How do you know when pasta is cooked? Grab a piece and bite it - when it is no longer white in the centre, it’s good to eat. (Although firm al dente fans might prefer just a little white.... as you like really.)

Ravioli cutters can mark wooden work surfaces. Instead use a hard marble or metal worktop if you can, or a large chopping board. (Love ravioli? Try this sumptuous sausage ravioli recipe.)


Never burn your oil. Warm it gently instead. I go for just 1 minute on a high setting to get it going, then drop down the temperate to medium. Smoking oil is too hot. Pour it away and start again.

A good tip is this: say you’re frying eggplant (like you would making eggplant parmigiana). Drop a tiny sliver of eggplant into the oil when you are heating it up. When this starts to sizzle, the oil is hot enough for the rest to go in. Easy!

Garlic Smells

Got the nasty smell of garlic stuck on your fingers? Remove it by smothering your fingers in lemon juice. Alternatively, rub your fingers over the back of a steel spoon.

(Don’t ask me to explain the science, these just work!)

fresh pasta sauce with ricottaMaking Pasta Sauce

When stirring ingredients into a sauce (such as flour into milk to make béchamel sauce), stir in an up/down (forward/back) motion, rather than in circles. This technique mixes the ingredients most effectively.

Making tomato sauce? If it still tastes sour at the end of its cooking time, throw in either a pinch of sugar or a teaspoon of milk (both of these counteract the acidity).


Never wash mushrooms - they are highly absorbent and quickly go soggy (not ideal).

(Unless we’re talking about dried mushrooms of course, which need soaking before they'll expand.)

Will you be handling chili? Use thin gloves if you can, or at least make sure you wash your hands and nails thoroughly afterwards (chili in the eyes is a recipe for serious trouble).

(Like chili pasta? Try this garlic n’ chili recipe.)

Got your own Italian cooking tip?

You can share it with everyone here!

Did you enjoy these cooking quick tips? Then try my Top 10 Pasta Tips.

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