Italian Food: Most Popular Articles
It seems like one of the easiest things in the world to cook: You boil some water, throw in some pasta, set the timer for the minutes indicated on the package,
Italy has many traditional pizza toppings, for example the quattro stagioni, which I have never come across in pizzerias elsewhere. Here's a quick rundown. Page 3.
Pumpkin gnocchi in browned butter and sage sauce
Cooking pasta is easy, but there are rules to pasta cooking that will lead to perfectly cooked pasta every time.
Making a good risotto is rather like riding a bicycle: It takes a little bit of practice to begin with, and a certain amount of concentration thereafter. But making risotto is easy, and quite satisfying
Josephine Caravetta's Pickled Eggplant: Anne has very kindly replied to another person's request with her Grandmother's pickled eggplant.
The dish more people probably associate with Sicily than any other is caponata, a (generally) eggplanty delight that has now spread throughout the Peninsula -- a zesty summer dish that's ideal for perking up an indolent appetite on a hot day.
How to Boil Octopus so as to make it Tender, or Lessatura del Polpo per Ridurlo Tenero: Octopus is delightful, but it can be devilish to cook, going from soft and tender to rubbery and back as it sits in the pot; the trick is to either remove it before it goes rubbery or have the patience to wait until it passes through that phase. Here's a trick for boiling it that will yield tender octopus every time.
Many in the English-speaking world would call this a Porterhouse and wonder what the fuss is about. And they'd be right in most cases; though Bistecca alla Fiorentina is featured prominently on the menus of almost all the restaurants in Florence, finding a good one isn't at all easy. But when you do it's heaven on earth, delightfully rich, flavorful rare meat so tender it can be cut with a spoon. Much of the secret is the breed of cattle, Chianina beef...
Pasta ai Quattro Formaggi, or Four Cheese Sauce for Pasta: I was recently asked for a four cheeses sauce for pasta. Here are a couple variations on four cheese sauce.
When most Americans think of Italian food, I'm willing to bet that many (if not all) of the items on
Funghi Porcini "Every year come September, the price of mushrooms drops and I stock up on porcini," wrote
Almost every region of Italy has some form of stuffed pasta. A quick overview and many recipes.
Cavolo nero, black leaf kale, is a leafy cabbage that doesn't form heads, but rather resembles palm fronds, with deep greenish black leaves that can be up to a yard (a meter) long, have pronounced ribs, and whose surfaces have a distinctive bubbly appearance. It's quite tasty and perfect in hearty soups or over (or in) polenta.
Larry asked, much too long ago, if I had a recipe for sopressata. Like many other Italian words, sopressata's meaning varies considerably from place to place. In much of the Peninsula it's a raw, pork-based salami that's been squashed slightly during the curing phase and is thus flat; the spicing varies from place to place according to local tradition. In Tuscany, on the other hand...
Porcini are Italy's most valued wild mushrooms by far, and when fresh are a great treat: you can grill them, stew them, make sauce with them, and more.
Pesto Sauce is a classic garlicky basil sauce from Liguria. Pesto sauce is also one of one of the finest summer pasta sauces.
Recipe for a traditional Carnival-time lemon-ricotta cake from Naples.
Baccalà is salt cod sold by the slab, and you might think it an unlikely food to get excited over. But you'd be wrong, because well-cooked baccalà is a delight: Firm, slightly chewy, and not at all fishy in flavor. But very good, and easy to prepare too.
Squid ink is just what it sounds like -- the ink of the squid, and it adds both a sea tang and a deep black glow to this recipe. You will likely have to go to a fishmonger who has very fresh fish to obtain it, but it's worth the trip.
Pasta need not be pale yellow or cream colored. If you add puréed vegetables, chocolate, or other ingredients to your dough you can obtain a wide range of delightful hues. Here we have green, orange, black, red, brown,and speckled. Page 2.
In addition to being fine snacks, these golden filled rice balls make excellent antipasti at parties, and if you make several small batches with different fillings they'll work very well with other fried foods as part of a fritto misto (mixed fried foods). Or you may want a lighter meal, and just serve them with a tossed salad.
Giardiniera, or mixed pickled vegetables, is what most Italians think of when they hear the words Sotto Aceti, a collection of mixed pickled vegetables. The standard Italian antipasto misto wouldn't be quite right without these, and they also work very well with boiled meats in the winter months.
Lasagna is as regional as everything else in Italian cooking. If you ask for it in Emilia Romagna or Tuscany, you'll get lasagna alla bolognese: pasta smothered with Bolognese sauce, béchamel sauce, and lots of grated cheese. In short, classic winter comfort food.
Lambrusco is the perfect wine for a picnic, cookout, or light meal.
Arrabbiata means angry, and if made right this pasta is spicy. Though the versions offered by the really cheap eateries in Rome rely primarily on garlic and hot pepper for their punch, some of the versions printed in cookbooks also call for onions.
Culatello, the most prized cold cut of Parma. Page 36.
Northern Italy comprises eight regions: Liguria, Valle D'Aosta, Piemonte, Lombardia, Trentino-Alto Adige, Veneto, Friuli Venezia-Giulia, and Emilia Romagna. Quick overviews of the cuisines, and links to regional recipes.
A recipe for pasta with prosciutto and porcini mushrooms.
Pasta: Sauce or Gravy? Or Ragú? No matter what you call it, it's satisfying.
Mushroom risotto is wonderful, especially in the fall when the mushrooms are freshly dried.
These "bones of the dead" (ossa di morti) cookies are traditionally made to commemorate Day of the Dead,
How to Dry Orange or Lemon Peel at Home: It's quite easy.
Though slow-cooking pomarola is quite tasty, there are times you'll want something quicker -- that's when this classic Neapolitan tomato sauce, known in the US as Marinara Sauce, comes into play. It's perfect for pasta, but will also work well with rice or pizza.
There are a great many kinds of pasta in Italy. Here's an expanding list of the most popular kinds, with suggested recipes, possible substitutions, and alternate names for them.
Spaghetti with Tuna has a boring reputation. However, I first had this sauce during a geological field trip in the Apuan Alps: It had been raining for a week, and we were wet, cold, and miserable. When Marco was done feeding us, we were still wet, still cold, but satisfied. And I still make it when I'm out camping.
Spaghetti Aio Oio, with garlic and olive oil, is the one dish that all Italian men know how to make. It's also quite popular as a late night snack among friends, say after a night out at the theater.
Recipe for Sicilian-style stuffed eggplants (melanzane a barchetta).
Almost every Italian city and town has its specialties, and there are regional trends too; the end result is a huge number of local cuisines rather than a single national cuisine. However, there are some dishes that you will find almost everywhere, and that are now standards among the many Italian communities scattered across the globe. Enjoy!
Frutta e Verdura: Photos of Italian fruit and vegetables, from local produce markets.
A recipe for ciambelle al vino, traditional ring-shaped Italian cookies made with wine and anise seeds.
Cappelletti The word cappelletto means little hat, which is what this pasta should resemble; they're
Cauliflower: One of the most classic winter vegetables, which is both tasty and healthful, and quite capable of taking center stage.
Though the Italian Mostarda does contain mustard, it's only distantly related to the yellow stuff in the squeeze bottle. Rather, it's fruit preserved in syrup that gains quite a kick from a healthy jolt of powdered mustard seed or essence, and is one of the standard condiments served with boiled meats in northern Italy. It's easy to make at home, and also makes an excellent gift.
Pizza toppings and Calzone Fillings.: cup tomato sauce pizza ovens calzone pizza shredded mozzarella pizza pizza
Polenta is easy to make, and the home made variety does taste better than what you can buy in a store. Never made it? Here's how. Page 2.
Farro: Grain of the Legions Grano Farro has a long and glorious history: it is the original grain from
A recipe for traditional Tuscan wild boar stew in a dolceforte sauce made with dark chocolate.
Home-Made Ricotta Though ricotta is often referred to as a cheese, it is actually a cheese byproduct,
When I was younger, a friend of mine's mom would make prosciutto in the back room of their apartment under the eves in downtown Siena, and I remember how good that room smelled as I watched her scoop handfuls of salt over the ham one day. I haven't ever tried making it myself for want of space, but here is how.
Crema pasticcera, pastry cream, is one of the basic ingredients used in Italian pastries and cakes: it's the creamy custardy filling of the layer cake, or the cream you find in your morning pastry, or the creamy base of your pudding. In short, Italian desserts wouldn't be quite the same without it.
To use a wood-fired pizza oven you must have two things: A hot oven and pizza dough (toppings aren't essential, as there are also focaccia and other flat breads). We'll begin with the dough. Page 2.
Clearing up the top 10 myths about pasta and how to cook it.
Lasagna is a huge and varied universe. This lasagna with mozzarella recipe is easy, quick to put together, and also quick to cook if you use sheets of lasagna that need not be preboiled.
You may grow old, even doddering, but if you know how to make a good meat sauce for pasta people will still beat a path to your door.
Italians have only recently begun to celebrate Halloween. However, the Italian Memorial day is November 2, and almost every region has some sort of sweet to celebrate it.
Pearà, Veronese Pepper Sauce for Boiled Meats: You may be wondering, "What does one eat with an Amarone?"
Some say Tiramisu was invented in Siena, in the late 1600s, to satisfy Grand Duke Cosimo's sweet tooth, and that it subsequently became a hit with the courtesans. Others say it was invented much later by a restaurant next door to a House of Ill Repute in Treviso, and became popular in the 70s. Who's right?
Five ways to use prosciutto in your kitchen, plus ideas for more.
Brasato al Barolo, beef braised in Barolo wine, is one of the classic, elegant Piemontese dishes, and really does require a hearty red wine, ideally Barolo, to come out right. Save it for a special occasion, and you'll be quite pleased with the results.
Southern Italy comprises 6 regions: Abruzzo, Basilicata, Calabria, Campania, Molise and Puglia. Quick overviews of the cuisines, and links to recipes.
DOC, VdT, DOCG: What does it mean? Reading an Italian label is usually straight forward: there's the
Lasagna with Ricotta: When I was growing up, I was always rather taken back by the ricotta that I found in lasagna in the US -- there wasn't any in what I had in Tuscany. This is because putting ricotta in lasagna is southern tradition that reaches its apex with the glorious Neapolitan Lasagne con la Ricotta that are made for Carnival...
As temperatures fall off in Autumn, warm, and even hot foods become welcome again. Risotto is quick to cook, brings warmth to the table, and is ideally suited to all sorts of fall ingredients, from mushrooms to apples to sausages. Much to choose from!
Orecchiette Orecchiette are a distinctive Puglian type of pasta shaped roughly like small ears, hence
Mostarda is a classic North Italian fruit condiment that gains a healthy kick from powdered mustard or mustard essence. It's wonderful with boiled meats, or cheeses, and is quite easy to make. It's also an excellent gift.
Olive oil is quite healthy: It lowers bad cholesterol, has antioxidants that can prevent cancer and improve organ function, and may even protect from age-related dementia. In short, a food that could be sold in the pharmacy.
Recipe requests come in waves. In winter, people write for instructions on making cold cuts from pork: Salami, prosciutto, salsiccia, finocchiona, pancetta, and so on, which are collectively referred to as salumi. In the past these were all made when hogs were butchered in late fall or early winter, and set aside to guarantee a supply of meat during the warmer months when uncured meats would spoil rapidly.
Saltimbocca is one of the most classic Roman dishes. The name literally translates as hopinthemouth and is singularly appropriate -- you can never have too many of these veal cutlets with prosciutto and sage.
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Almost every town in Italy has some sort of Christmas cake, cookie, or pie. Here's a quick rundown of some of the best known, in order (roughly) of popularity. After all, all Christmas sweets are treats.
Bones of the Dead (For Chewing), or Ossa di Morto (Ossa da Mordere): There are many variations on Bones of the Dead, the cookies Italians enjoy on November 2. These Bones of the Dead are Piemontese, and more specifically from the cities of Biella, Vercelli and Novara.
Zucchini and squash blossoms are (I think) one of the most delightful summer vegetables. They're good stuffed, but divine when fried.
La Piadina, Romagna's flatbread, is extremely popular. Little wonder; it's tasty to bite into, wonderful when spread with cheese, and it's easy to make!
The simplest focaccia topping is olive oil and coarse salt. But you can top a focaccia with many other things. Page 6.
Finocchiona is a variation on regular Tuscan salami that is flavored with fennel seeds. A fine sandwich meat.
Finocchiona is a Tuscan salami made with fennel. Page 37.
This recipe for baked Royal Dorade (or bass) was kindly given me by Prince Philippe Poniatowski, who makes superb Vouvray at Le Clos Baudoin.
Millefoglie, which the French call Mille-Feuille, is one of the most delightful cakes around: Flaky puff pastry interlayered with rich crema chantilly (or chocolate, or both). Libidenous! Wonderful! The perfect birthday cake!
Lemon Ice: Aggie, who has kindly shared several recipes, says:
Making Vinegar From Wine If you make wine (as oppesed to apple) vinegar, you can dispense with the apples
Milano's classic Christmas Cake!: christmas desserts purpose flour panettone italianfood panet
A Sformato is similar to a soufflé, though not as airy. Sformati are amazingly versatile, ranging from hearty comfort food to light vegetarian delights to tasty desserts.
This is one of the most classic Roman pasta sauces, and though it is very simple -- just 4 ingredients -- it does require care. Though some people add a few drops of olive oil, Roman purists frown at this practice, and I tend to agree with them. Just pasta, cheese, and pepper, and the creaminess of the sauce comes from a few tablespoons of starchy pasta water. The recipe will serve 6.
Pasta with smoked salmon is one of the standard Italian Valentine’s Day recipes (the versions printed are often aimed at men). This particular pasta with smoked salmon recipe is based on a dish of pasta I enjoyed many years ago at Il Pantheon, a restaurant in Rome.
Selecting and roasting Chestnuts: steep mountain slopes roasting chestnuts fire font chestnut groves food crops
Eggplant Parmesan, or Melanzane alla Parmigiana, is one of the great Neapolitan dishes that has spread across the globe. Eggplant Parmesan is a superb Neapolitan combination of tomatoes, eggplant, and cheese.
True Limoncello is made in Sorrento, from lemons whose trees overlook the Mediterranean. However, if you have good lemons where you live (I'd want organically grown here), you can get pretty close. And it's easy.
Bucatini all'Amatriciana: This zesty pancetta and tomato sauce is commonly associated with Lazio and Rome, but is actually from the town of Amatrice, a part of the Abruzzo before Mussolini redrew the maps.
Crespelle are the Italian equivalent of crepes. Though the preparation now has a certain ring of elegance to it, and crespelle appear often on upscale menus, in the past crespelle were considered poor people's food.
Classic Italian dishes : classic italian dishes grilled pork chops recipe for spare ribs pork dishes layer cakes
The Italian equivalent of peasant foods would be cucina povera. Frugal recipes that were once belt tigthening, but that cooks are now revisiting in a slightly richer modern key. Fine eating!
Italian Regional Cuisines North Italian Cuisines | Central Italian Cuisines South Italian Cuisines |
Pecorino Roamno is an anciant cheese, enjoyed by the Romans and still very popular even now.
Leaonard's version of a Roman classic: veal saltimbocca dry white wine veal chops extra virgin olive oil virgin olive oil
Chopped beef, or Carne Cruda: In other parts of the world finely minced raw beef is called steak tartare, and they crack an egg into it. In Piemonte they don't, preferring lemon juice and olive oil, and you should try this even if you think you don't like raw meat, as it can be a rare treat indeed.
Risi e bisi (rice and peas) is a classic Venetian dish. In the past it was prepared only on the feast days decreed by the Doge (Venice's ruler), and though one can now prepare risi e bisi at any time, the dish really shines only when freshly harvested baby peas are available.
There's no dish quite so refreshing on a hot day as a bowl of pasta seasoned with lots of freshly made pomarola (Marinara in the US) and a handful of grated cheese. This recipe expands well, and most households make gallons of it when the flood of tomatoes reaches its peak in August, forcing the prices down. It can also be adapted to canned plum tomatoes.
A Rustic Peperonata, or Peperonata Rustica: Peperonata is stewed peppers, and there are innumerable variations on the theme.
Pasta e fagioli, also known as pasta fazool (and many other variations on the spelling) is a universal comfort soup that almost everyone has come up with, and there are a tremendous number of local variations on the theme in Italy. This particular pasta e fagioli recipe is Tuscan.
Italy has a vibrant wild boar population, and many recipes for preparing wild boar.
Spaghetti with clams is the quintessential summer dish, and is amazingly refreshing on a hot day. Though you can use canned shellfish packed in their juice to make spaghetti alle vongole, live clams are far better. I prefer them in a white (tomato free) sauce because I find that tomatoes overshadow the flavor of the clams.
Recipe for a traditional Sicilian fava-bean and fennel soup.
Bresaola, the air-cured beef of the Valtellina, is now available in the US! About it, and serving suggestions.
Eel is an oily fish, consequently ideally suited to the grill. This grilled eel recipe is an indispensable part of the Neapolitan Christmas Eve dinner. Grilled eel for the Seven Fishes! Fried eel is also good.
Step by step instructions for making crema pasticcera, or pastry cream, one of the basic ingredients used in Italian and French pastries and cakes.
According to Pellegrino Artusi, a good béchamel sauce, also known as white sauce, and a properly cooked meat sauce are the principal secrets of refined cooking.
Pappardelle alla Boscaiola: Pasta with a mushroom sauce is one of the most common Italian restaurant dishes, and you will encounter it throughout the Peninsula. This recipe calls for porcini, boletus edilis, and they are necessary to do it justice. Ideally, fresh porcini, but if you cannot find them you will have to make do: Purchase cultivated mushrooms and a 20-gram (1-ounce) packet of dried porcini...
Spaghetti alla Carbonara is breathtakingly simple: Eggs, mixed into cooked, crumbled pancetta and stirred into pasta, whose heat cooks them. Very tasty and very simple.
Marrons Glacés: People occasionally ask for candied chestnuts. Here we go; an easy recipe for home use that calls for marroni, which are the largest, tastiest, and most voluptuous chestnuts. While you can use smaller chestnuts (those Italians call castagne, a word that also means chestnuts) the visual effect won't be quite the same.
Bruschetta is one of the simplest things in the world to make, and can be very satisfying if you have good extravirgin olive oil.
Hi, Kyle. Thought I'd contribute this wedding soup recipe. This is the one I grew up with, so it's of course the only one I can eat! I don't know if you need this at all, but I felt compelled to send it in. Best, Chris Castellani
Zampone and Cotechino, stuffed pig's trotter and a sausage made from the same filling: both from Modena. Page 4.
Alba & its Truffle Festival Alba has a tremendous amount to offer: Castles, fine wines, magnificent scenery,
Cannoli Carnival, otherwise known as Martedì Grasso (Mardigras), means different things in different
Gnocchi, Potato and Otherwise: Gnocchi are little dumplings, and though gocchi di patata -- potato gnocchi -- are the best known, there are many other tasty varieties of gnocchi.
In much of Italy a farinata is a thick porridge made with vegetables, broth, and finely ground flour of one sort or another. Liguria's farinata is a bit different: It's made with chick pea flour and enough water to make a fairly liquid batter, and baked in the oven: What emerges is a very tasty chickpea flapjack (for want of a better term) that you slice up and serve. Expect it to go fast, and for people to demand more.
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Tagliolini, also known as taglierini or tajarin, are the finest and quickest cooking egg noodels. They work best with fairly liquid, creamy sauces. Page 2.
Bulb fennel is one of the great treats of winter.: bulb fennel anise oil de agostini winter vegetables raw vegetables
Cacciucco is a fish stew made in the Tuscan port of Livorno, from whatever the fishmonger has that's fresh and inexpensive. It should have a healthy jolt of red pepper, and will sell you on fish if you don't like fish already.
Vitello tonnato, chilled veal in a tuna sauce, is one of the classic summer dishes, and is the traditional centerpiece of the Ferragosto dinner in Milano.
Steak with a tasty, zesty, tomatoey pizzaiola sauce, which Don kindly posted to the Italian cuisine forum.
Grapefruit, Pineapples, Grapes and More. Page 7.
Easy, delicious and elegant -- who could ask for more? From your Mining Co. Guide
Italy has a rich, and varied tradition of bread soups, Here is a selection of Italian bread soup recipes, some for the summer and others for the winter.
Leatrice writes, I thought I'd send you a no-fail potato gnocchi recipe that's shockingly easy.
Mostarda di Cremona is what most Italians think of when they hear the word mostarda. It's voluptuous, and though something of an acquired taste (like fine whisky, for that matter), can be addictive. Since the fruit is not finely sliced, you should select pieces that look perfect.
Fresh porcini mushrooms are wonderful, but they’re only available after a period of rains, and (usually) only in autumn or winter. During the rest of the year the only option is dried, and though you can buy a smaller packet, on the order of a half ounce (10 g), which will be sufficient for a single dish, say a risotto, I generally find the mushrooms in larger packets to be more flavorful. Page 45.
Chicken Cacciatore, or Pollo alla Cacciatora: This is one of those recipes that almost everyone has made, and almost everyone's version differs: For some it's plain chicken stewed in tomatoes with a little wine, some add olives, others shrimp, and others entirely different ingredients.
La Crostata When I was growing up, my father directed the excavation of an Etruscan sanctuary on a hill
Raisins often go into meat dishes in southern Italy, and here is a Neapolitan recipe for meatballs with raisins and pine nuts, served in a quick tomato sauce.
Luganega sausages, one with fennel and the other with hot pepper. Page 16.
Stuffed Olives Ascolana Style, or Olive all'Ascolana: These stuffed olives are from the Ascoli region, and if at all possible you should use olives of the Ascolana strain, which are large and flavorful. These stuffed olives are generally classified as an antipasto, but will also work well as a first course, or as part of a platter of mixed fried foods, and are an excellent finger food.
Nocino, or Walnut liqueur, is quite tasty and extremely delicate. It's also easy to make, and a great gift.
Trancia di Pesce Spada: Swordfish Steaks, and a simple Sicilian recipe for grilled swordfish steaks. Page 59.
Polenta, the Italian answer to cornmeal mush, is tasty, extremely versatile, and an ideal accompaniment to all sorts of things. Though it can be bought ready-made, purists are correct in saying that what one makes at home is better. In short, how to make polenta.
Milano's classic risotto offers a great chef an excellent opportunity to showcase her talents, but a home cook can do very well with care.
Don't let the appearance of these mushrooms sway you: Ovoli are perhaps the most eagerly sought out Italian mushroom. Though I have found recipes for grilled ovolo caps, which strike me as an example of wretched excess, one generally hears ovoli should be transformed into an Ovolo salad. Page 42.
Soaking will Purge Clams or Mussels of Sand and Grit. Page 3.
The summer anchovy harvest was vital to Ligurian fishermen, who salted much of the catch to carry them through less abundant times. Here is how they salted (and salt) their anchovies. It's not difficult, and the results are superb.
Branzino, or European Sea Bass. In England it's simply called bass. Also, a recipe for Filetti Di Branzino in Crosta di Patate - Sea Bass Fillets in a Mashed Potato Crust. Page 13.
Cabbage is the one of the most popular winter vegetables in Italy, and rightly so: It comes into season during the winter months, is inexpensive, is nutritious, is quite tasty, and is also versatile, working well in antipasti, soups, risotti, and main courses. Who could ask for more? Here is a quick rundown of favorite Italian cabbage recipes, starting with antipasti.
Fegato alla Venziana, finely sliced liver with gently stewed onions, is one of the most classic Venetian dishes, and even those who do not usually like liver enjoy it.
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Zabaione is one of the classic, simple desserts that one finds in many places; the French know it as sabayon.
Black Leaf Kale is the perfect winter cabbage, and the foundation of many heartwarming recipes. Page 2.
Tripe's origins are humble, but it can be quite elegant
Italy has many recipes for lasagna, and other kinds of baked pasta, which are collectively called pasta al forno in Italian. Here you will find a rundown of Italian lasagna recipes and baked pasta recipes, with timballo and timpano recipes too
Anitra All'Arancia: People often associate duck in orange sauce with the French, but it's popular in Italy too, and served as the centerpiece for Pope Giovanni Paolo II's 25th anniversary banquet.