Some common cooking methods in Italy are al forno, alla Bolognese, alla Genovese, alla Caprese and al mattone. Al forno means cooking in the oven, commonly used with pasta. For instance, a pasta al forno recipe starts by cooking pasta in boiling water and then finishing it by baking it along with other ingredients in an oven.
Alla caprese is another common cooking method that uses olive oil, mozzarella, tomatoes and basil as the basis of the dish, made popular in Capri, Italy. The four ingredients are eaten together in a caprese salad or added to other ingredients. Alla Bolognese comes from the Bologna region of Italy in which a meat and tomato sauce cooks on low for several hours before being added to pasta or infused with cream.
Alla Genovese also comes from a specific region, Genoa, that focuses on dishes made from herbs, oil and garlic. Pesto is alla Genovese cooking. Al mattone is the cooking under a brick method, a type of cooking that uses pressure to cook food. Traditional items include chicken under a brick and paninis pressed in a grill.
Make an easy pesto using alla Genovese Italian cooking by blending together 2 cups of fresh basil, 2 tablespoons of pine nuts and 2 garlic cloves in a food processor and then slowly adding 1/2 cup of extra-virgin olive oil. Finish by blending in 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese until everything is just combined.