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Be an Italian Gourmet on a Budget

Italian cuisine is a popular favorite, but simple spaghetti and meatballs can leave your dinner guests less than impressed. Fortunately, a few fresh ideas can have you creating Italian gourmet meals that satisfy your cravings while keeping your budget under control.

Create Great Italian Budget Gourmet Meals In a Snap

If you’re idea of going Italian for dinner means a little spaghetti and meatballs, you haven’t scratched the surface of what Italian gourmet meals are possible on a tight budget. By approaching this type of cuisine from a slightly different perspective, we’ve found a few things you can do to experience authentic Italian meals that create variety in your diet without emptying your wallet. Let’s take a look.

Take the time to cook

Making gourmet Italian meals from scratch is something women in Italy do every day, often in under thirty minutes. You can too, and we’re not talking about meals that come out of a microwave in ten minutes with an all too familiar sound - “ding.” Taking the time to create fresh meals from scratch makes all the difference for those who enjoy your tasty creativity in the kitchen. Traditionally, that’s how they do in Italy.

You can certainly notice a difference in flavor between flash cooked meals in a microwave and those that develop over time through careful preparation. In a tomato sauce, the natural acidity of the tomato breaks down spices to enhance their flavor. Later, the oils in the sauce infuse the dishes you make with an aroma and taste that is beyond compare. New flavors like this are well worth the extra effort to nurse the process along.

Learn about the culture

How does learning about Italian culture enhance the originality of Italian gourmet cooking? That’s a complex question that requires a little thought.

In reality, learning about Italian culture makes no difference in your ability to create fabulous Italian dishes. The education you’ll learn could just as well produce the same end result. However, studies show that people who throw themselves into other cultures pick up on variations and derivations in the cuisine of the native country. In other words, learning about Italian culture effectively changes the taste of the dish in your mind.

An appreciation for cultural differences will help you understand why certain ingredients are used more often than those you may be comfortable with at home. This education becomes a learning experience that forces you to consider these ingredients for your own cooking in the future.

Learn which ingredients you can skimp on

Some ingredients have the power to transform regular dishes to an outstanding level of gourmet cuisine. Others are used in situations where quality matters most. The key to budget gourmet cooking is learning what ingredients are worth paying extra for and which ones allow opportunities for savings by purchasing generic or store brands.

Using this philosophy, you’ll be able to produce superb dishes even after you’ve saved considerable cash buying sensible ingredients that meet the needs of both your palate and your budget.

Some basic ingredients that provide opportunities for bargains include grains, dried spices, and frozen or canned vegetables as a substitute for fresh produce. Conversely, most Italians buy quality pasta, breads, dough ingredients, and olive oil. Spend money where it matters most, and enjoy authentic Italian dishes more like those in authentic bistros and less like ones in your local grocer’s frozen food section.

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