They call them nonna, or the beloved Italian grandma. As in Bulgaria, they are an invaluable source of culinary advice and craftsmanship. For most Italians, the Sunday lunch at nonna’s is a tradition – the whole family gathers at the grandmother’s house and has a great meal.

We have compiled for you some of the traditions, tricks and secrets of Italian grandma chefs! We found some of them with great astonishment and pleasure in the video series (Granny Pasta). These are a series of authentic interviews with old Italian women – some even at 100! – each of whom tells and demonstrates her culinary secrets, how she makes pasta, as well as interesting stories from her life.

Choose local products

Sicilian grannies like to use locally sourced produce – traditionally grown in Sicily – so that everything is fresh! This definitely predetermines the great taste of the pasta dish.

Scissors instead of a knife

Whenever possible, Italian grandmothers use scissors instead of a knife to cut a bundle of spices or herbs, thin tomatoes or peppers. This way they don’t need to wash cutting boards and are faster. 

Trick for well-cleaned vegetables

If you do not have a lot of time and want to quickly and safely clear cauliflower or broccoli, for example, dip them in a solution of water with vinegar for a little while, as the older Italians do. All insects or bugs leave the cauliflower immediately!

Wine, wine, wine 

Whatever they cook, the Italian granny-masters are always pouring a little wine into the pasta sauce. It enhances and enriches the taste of the whole dish. It’s just a tradition!

Mom is always right!

Even if an Italian is a famous chef, he does not cook or give advice when he is in Mom’s kitchen. Italian grandmothers always love to make and prepare the pasta in their own way, which, of course, is always delicious.

Pasta against stress

Pasta grandmothers like to say that their culinary tradition is not just a “Mediterranean diet” (as it is often called around the world), but a whole Mediterranean lifestyle. To make a pasta meal, according to grandmothers, requires time and love, two “ingredients” that slow down our hectic lifestyles and soothe us. That’s why Italian grandmothers are long-lived!

Pasta soup when you are sick 

As a grandchild tells his Italian grandmother, “I’m sick!”, she immediately starts making him a soup with a pasta called “frascarelli”. Especially in cold weather, when the flu is raging, you can follow the pasta soup tips of traditional culinary masters from Italy. And one more thing, Italian grandmothers say that pasta soup is very useful for breastfeeding women. Just add some grated parmesan and it gets super yummy!

An easy trick

It is often the case that Italian grandmothers do not cut the herbs and spices, but simply throw a whole bouquet into the pan or pot. Then – after the bouquet has released the juice and the aroma – you just remove it. Another important thing is that pasta grannies are in love with herbs and spices – they always use them when cooking: parsley, oregano, salvia, thyme…