While cooking I use every day many tools that help me mashing, crushing, sieving, ricing, pressing my ingredients.
Here we have some examples and tips:
Potato ricer can be used for many purposes, among whom I suggest you passatelli soup.
As in many Italian houses I own many colanders: eating pasta almost every day we are all equipped to cook amount of pasta that can go from two servings to a crowd! Personally two plastic ones, a metallic one and, listen, listen, an enamel one. An enamel colander is so charming that you will inexplicable fall in love with it. For this reason, as the enamel can easily chip, you will end not using it, so, if what do you need is a colander stay away from it, or you’ll keep needing it. If you just need to add a charming old fashion touch of style to your kitchen maybe this is the tool cut out for you.
The food mill is a very popular tool in Italy, as everybody sooner or later will need to mince tomatoes to prepare an home made tomato sauce. Food mill is more practical than the old fashioned tomato press It’s a versatile tool as you can change disk, choosing among different perforations.
There are many size and basically two materials: metallic and nylon. I prefer the sieve in nylon as metallic net can interfere with acid ingredients… the only advantage that a metallic sieve has, is that when I’m in a hurry and I want to steam a small quantity of an ingredient I use it on the top of a boing pan, as a steamer. In this case is important not to overfill the sieve, for perfect and homogenous cooking. In any case both of them will work also for small amount of pasta, as a perfect substitute od a colander.
While using a sieve, you can turn your ingredients with a spoon, but the quickest way to have your job done is using the so called mushroom: a wood tool similar to a champignon that is useful to pestle a wide amount of food, and helps a lot!
The only tool I use really rarely is the flower sifter. Instead of sifting flower, I usually process it for some seconds in my multi purpose machine: it works all the clots out. It works better when you have to sieve flower and sugar together, or flour and cocoa powder. It really works but its’ so annoying!