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Fresh Herbs to Use in Italian Cooking

There are several different types of herbs that can be used for cooking in general. Some of these herbs are also excellent choices for use in Italian cooking. Herbs can provide flavor and often have added health benefits, so it is always a good idea to consider adding herbs, no matter what Italian dish you may be preparing. Herbs are, in fact, an essential part of Italian cooking, with many recipes calling for herbs to be added in.

The More Popular Herbs

Some of the most popular herbs used in Italian cooking include rosemary, parsley, oregano, basil, bay leaves, thyme and sage. You can also add hot pepper and garlic to dishes. What is also great is that a person can grow many of these herbs quite easily which means you can use your own fresh herbs. Fresh herbs are always better to use than dry herbs, as you gain the most flavor and any health benefits from freshly added herbs.

Basil is a great herb to use in Italian cooking and it goes well when used along with thyme, garlic, lemon, rosemary and tomatoes. It is often used on zucchini, eggplant and pasta dishes. Rosemary is an herb with a strong flavor and fragrance that is most often used when flavoring grilled or roasted poultry and other meat. It is also very often added to roasted mushrooms and potatoes.

Thyme is often used in dishes that are prepared in the south of Italy. It is frequently added to flavor pasta sauces which contain eggplant and peppers. The thyme can also be included in dishes with roasted and grilled fish, such as bass. It can even be used with roasted potatoes and roasted tomatoes and is also added in stock for stews.

A commonly found herb in pizza, especially in southern regions of Italy, is oregano. It is also used with grilled fish and potatoes. Parsley is another herb that can be included to flavor seafood in Italian dishes. In fact, parsley can be used to add flavor and texture to a wide variety of dishes. It can be used in soups and in several vegetable dishes, such as where zucchini and eggplant are used.

Other Herbs

Sage is important in Italian cooking. It can be added to flavor butter and is used in a famous Tuscan bean dish. Sage can be chosen for risotto and pasta and it also is commonly used with pork meats and sausages. Garlic can be added to dishes as well, but not in huge amounts. It is used in moderation to a variety of dishes to flesh out the flavor.

Bay leaves are commonly used to flavor meat and fish dishes. It can be added to stews and soups. The bay leaves are spicy and can be steamed with seafood, chicken or vegetables. You need to steam for a while so as to release the flavor and then remove the leaves before serving as the leaves themselves are hard to eat.  Inclusion of these herbs can really add that extra flavor to your dishes.