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Quick, or Easy Italian Recipes

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Most Italian recipes are quick, or easy, or both. This is especially true for pasta dishes; you can often prepare the sauce in the time that it takes the pot of pasta water to boil and the pasta to cook. And in many slower recipes, especially stews, you prepare the ingredients quickly, set the pot to simmer, and let it cook, checking on it occasionally. Add to your main course a tossed salad or simple vegetable, a nice bottle of (Italian) wine, finish with a piece of fresh fruit (as Italians usually do), and you have a delicious, healthy Italian meal.
  1. Quick, Easy Soups
  2. Quick, Easy Pasta Dishes
  3. Easy Risotti
  4. Easy Stews
  5. Quick, Easy Grilled Meats
  1. Quick, Easy Cutlets, Braciole, and Scaloppine
  2. Quick, Easy Fish
  3. Quick, Easy Vegetables
  4. Quick, or Easy Italian Desserts

Quick, Easy Soups

Pasta e Fagioli

Much of Italy lived on soup in the past, and soups still play a major role in the diet, especially in the cooler winter months, when people make big pots of broth, enjoy boiled dinner, and have the wherewithal for quick, clear broth-based soups for several days. If you do not have broth, use unsalted bouillon if the recipe calls for broth.

Quick, Easy Pasta Dishes

Spaghetti alle Vongole, With Clams

A great many pasta sauce can be prepared in the time it takes a pot of water to boil and the pasta to cook. Here's a selection of some of my personal favorite quick, easy pasta dishes.

Easy Risotti

Risotto ai Porcini, Simmering

Making risotto is much easier than people think: You sauté the flavorings, and the rice, and then add boiling water or stock a bit at a time until it's delightfully creamy and the grains are cooked through. You do have to watch the pot, but rice cooks quickly so it doesn't take long.

Easy Stews

Stufato ai Fagiolini, Beef and String Bean Stew

Granted, stews aren't quick, but they are generally easy to do, and once you have the ingredients in the pot you simply turn down the heat and let them simmer until they're done, checking on them every now and then. Here are some of my favorite easy Italian Stews.

Quick, Easy Grilled Meats

Bistecche alla Fiorentina

Italians have been cooking meats over the coals since the dawn of History -- there are grilling scenes in Etruscan tombs -- and once you have the hang of it, grilling is as quick and easy a technique as one could imagine. Time? Depends upon the thickness of the meat, and a thicker cut (or a split chicken) really cannot be rushed.

Quick, Easy Cutlets, Braciole, and Scaloppine

Braciole Fritte alla Fiorentina: Enjoy!

The names applied to cutlets, chops, and scallops vary considerably from place to place in Italy. In some areas a cotoletta is a chop, with bone, and in others it is simply a thin slice of meat. Likewise, in some parts of Italy braciole are flat, and in others they're rolled up (what are called involtini where braciole are flat). In short, the names can be confusing, but the dishes are tasty, quick, and easy to prepare.

Quick, Easy Fish

Fritto Misto di Pesce, Mixed Fried Fish

Italy has thousands of miles of coastline, with all kinds of sea bottoms. As a result, the fish supply is rich and varied, and as you might expect, fish play a major role in the diet. Here's a selection of quick, easy Italian fish recipes:

Quick, Easy Vegetables

Spinaci Rifatti, Recooked Spinach

The Italian diet is extraordinarily rich in vegetables: Summers are long, winters are mild, and something's always coming into season, for example the rich leafy (and flowering) cabbages of the winter months, or the peppers and tomatoes that add a refreshing touch to so many summer dishes. In the past, the role of vegetables was even more important, because few could afford to eat meat much more than once a week, and therefore the vast majority owed their survival to vegetables, legumes (Italy has many kinds of beans and lentils), and staples one might not expect today, such as chestnuts.

Quick, or Easy Italian Desserts

Cassata alla Siciliana: A Tasty Slice

The quickest dessert, other than a bowl of ice cream, is a perfectly ripe piece of fresh fruit, and this is how Italians usually end their day-to-day meals. But if you want a little more, here are some ideas. Incidentally, the cake shown is a Cassata alla Siciliana, and is neither easy nor quick. But it is beautiful, and is the sort of dessert many Italians would stop by a pastry shop to purchase on their way to a meal at a friend or relative's house.

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