If you are aiming to reproduce the most authentic Italian cooking, you need to keep the following in mind.
Freshness of the ingredients is the first and most important requirement of authentic Italian cooking. Use high quality fresh produce. You will not need to use many ingredients; so do not settle for less than the best for the few which you do have to buy. For ingredients like tomatoes, garlic, lettuce etc always use fresh products and do not put them in refrigerator.
Pasta is the base of most Italian menus. So you need to be familiar with it. There are more than 120 different varieties of pasta. You should know how and where to use it. The most important trick is to combine the pasta with the right sauce. For example, fine spaghetti has to be combined with light sauce. Thicker the sauce, thicker should be the pasta. Full flavor sauces need to be combined with penne or shell like pasta. If the texture of the sauce is chunky, use pasta with large diameters so that they can be flavored inside out. Heavier pasta like ziti are ideal for baking.
You have a choice between fresh and dried pasta. If you are really going for the most authentic Italian cooking, you should make your own pasta at home. Otherwise, you can buy from stores where both types are available. However, fresh pasta spoils easily and should be used at once. Frozen pasta can also be used.
If you do not find a particular ingredient, use the nearest substitute. Here are some common examples
Use chicken broth instead of beer
Margarine instead of salted butter
Combination of white sugar and molasses in place of brown sugar
Bouillon cube in place of broth
Unsweetened chocolate instead of cocoa
Cottage cheese in absence of cream cheese
Agar instead of gelatin
Macadamia nuts in place of Hazel nuts
Sour cream instead of mayonnaise
And many more
Finally, combine your Italian cooking with the correct beverage to round off the experience. Different types of coffees will be highly appreciated. Choose your wine correctly.
If you want to enjoy the true flavors of Italian meals, you will have to take your time over it. Then only will you be able to appreciate its myriad tastes, textures and flavors. This style of eating is not only conducive to digestion, but also the total quantity eaten will be less if you take time to savor your food.
The emphasis on fresh ingredients in Italian cooking ensures that you eat food high in nutrient contents.
In a typical Italian menu, the emphasis is on vegetables. Italian cuisine will open your eyes to the vast number of ways in which veggies can be prepared. This will address the health issue of all members of the family, regardless what their age is.