3 Italian Cuisine Ideas For Home Chefs
Author: Antonia Parelli
Wouldn’t it be wonderful to sample Italian cuisine from the various regions of Italy? Given the diverse climate from north to south, cuisine varies according to ingredients available. As an example, Northern Italian regional cuisine depends less on oil oil, pasta and the traditional red tomato sauce. Here, the cuisine identifies with crossover ingredients like arborio rice which is used for some of the best risotto dishes in the world. Polenta is also a staple of Northern Italian cuisine. Sauce for pastas are generally made from cream and butter. And meats tend to include rabbit, veal, especially in Osso Bucco where veal shanks are the main ingredient. Cheese is also an important feature of Northern Italian cuisine with Fontina, rather than parmesan, being a chosen favorite. Other meat dishes can include game birds. In general, a Northern Italian meal has all the characteristics of a hardy, yet simple, meal. Since truffles can also be found in this region, these delicacies are often found in many Northern Italian dishes.
If you were invited to a Northern Italian dinner, a hearty chard or escarole soup might start the meal. Platters of cheeses including Gorgonzola and fruits like figs and dried plums might be offered. The main course might be a rabbit ragu or Osso Bucco cooked until the meat falls off the bone. With this may be served, polenta or a lovely wine enhanced risotto with delicate truffles. For dessert, you might be offered a ring cake of dried fruits, perhaps, apricots, dates or figs. And, for libation, regional wines.
The Central Italian Region cuisine defines most of what the world perceives as “Italian” cuisine. Typically, red sauces, pastas like stuffed ravioli and, of course, pizzas which began as a tomato pie. However, lesser known Central Italian Regional cuisine includes smoked bacon, known as pancetta, and others like salami and mortadella, a type of smoked bologna. Fish is also an important ingredient in Central Italian cuisine. Nothing is more seductive than fresh fish sauteed in a tomato sauce with freshly grown basil, a bit of olive oil and crushed garlic. Many dishes also include shell fish, particularly clams and mussels. Central Regional desserts are spectacular: cassata, clafouti, delicate pastries like cannolli and sfogliadella, a clam shell shaped pastry filled with a delicate mascarpone cheese filling.
From the Southern Region of Italy comes Pecorino, Parmesano Reggiano, Mozzarella and Ricotta cheeses which are used in many dishes in this region. Calzone, a pizza dough stuffed with ricotta cheese and cured ham is one example. Most pastas are fresly made rather than dried. In this region, many dishes include mullet, oysters and tiny anchovy as well. Fava beans served with oil oil, garlic and freshly grown basil make a very simple Southern Italian meal. A sprinkling of Parmesano Reggiano, a loaf of freshly baked bread and a glass of wine make a hearty, satisfying dish. Zuppa de pesce, a thick fish soup, includes traditional ingredients like garlic, tomato, beans, pepper and fresh herbs like coriander and oregano.
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