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Italian food: recipes of typical dishes and desserts

Italian food: recipes of typical dishes and desserts

. 7 min read

Italian recipes are a reflection of Italy’s regional diversity and gastronomic culture, as well as its long history. The ingredients used are included in the popular Mediterranean diet, which means that Italian dishes are imitated all over the world, mainly for their unique flavors.

Below you have an index with all the points we will deal with this article.

Antipasto

The term antipasto, whose plural is antipasti, literally means before the main course (ante means previous and pasto equals food).

Therefore, as their name suggests, antipasti are what in Spain is known as entrants, i.e., the dishes that go before the first and second course. This type of food is usually served cold, although there are also hot ones.

This custom is explained through the history of Italian food: it dates back to the Italian Renaissance (14th century) and its aim was (and still is) to whet the appetite of diners at large banquets with dishes that could be both salty and sweet. Here we show you the main antipasti.

Panzerotti

This aperitif, also known as panzerotto, originates from the region of Puglia in southern Italy. It is a dough made of wheat flour mixed with brewer’s yeast and pork fat.

It is similar to the empanadillas so popular among Spanish tapas, since this dough is filled with natural tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese. The dough is sealed and then fried with pork fat. The final texture is crunchy.

Caprese Salad

It is one of the typical Italian salads and is also known simply under the name caprese, because it comes from the region of Capri, carries the following basic ingredients: slices of tomato and fresh mozzarella balls. It is always accompanied by fresh basil leaves, specifically the variety of large leaf, and olive oil.

There are also variants that add ground black pepper and black olives or even grated cheese in addition to mozzarella balls. This dish stands out especially because the colours of its ingredients are reminiscent of the colours of the Italian flag: red, white and green.

Carpaccio

Carpaccio is a very versatile starter in the sense that it can be made with different ingredients, either meat or fish. This is another typical Italian food famous internationally.

The basic rule for making a carpaccio dish is to cut the meat or fish into thin slices and accompany it with other ingredients such as cheese, onion slices, basil leaves, and olive oil. When the meat is used, the most commonly used is veal; however, when we talk about fish, salmon is very recurrent.

Arancini

In singular ariancino, this aperitif is original from the region of Sicily, specifically from the city of Messina, where they are known by the name of arancinu or arancina.

They are a kind of spherical-shaped croquettes made of rice paste and parmesan or pecorino cheese and eggs. They are fried in very hot olive oil, although they can also be cooked in the oven. The filling may contain various ingredients, namely: tomato sauce, peas, cooked ham, mozzarella 

Its color is slightly orange because saffron is used for its preparation. There is a variant in Catania called arancini alla norma or alla catanese, whose main ingredient is eggplant. In Bronte, they are found with pistachios.

Vitello tonnato

This dish is originally from the region of Piedmont, where it is given the name vitel tonné in Piedmontese. It is also popular in those areas of Argentina, Uruguay and other countries where Italian communities coexist.

It consists of beef loins that are accompanied by a sauce made from hard-boiled egg yolks, tuna, and cream, as well as anchovies. Capers are also often added, but this ingredient is optional. Usually, it is taken cold and as a starter or antipasto.

Bresaola

This antipasto or starter consists of slices of cured veal (two or three months), which is known as dried meat or dehydrated meat. Once cured, veal takes on a purple color.

This dish originates from the Lombardy region of the Valtellina valley in northern Italy. It is seasoned with olive oil and lemon juice.

Prosciutto

The term prosciutto literally means ham and is that this dish is nothing other than the classic slices of ham that are also traditionally served in Spain as a tapa or entremés. It is characterised by the fact that it is cut into very thin, almost transparent slices.

It is served uncooked, so that in Italy it is known as prosciutto crudo; on the other hand, when it is served cooked it is called prosciutto cotto. The most valuable pieces of prosciutto and considered a gastronomic luxury are those from northern and central Italy, especially from Parma, San Daniele and Friuli-Venezia Giulia.

Salami

This sausage, which is currently very popular in other countries such as Spain, is actually native to Italy and also Hungary. It is a type of sausage that results from the mixture of several seasoned and then smoked beef and pork meats. It is similar to salami, except that in Italy it is seasoned with garlic.

In Italian, the word salami, the plural of which is salami, literally means salted sausage, because its taste is indeed salty because salt is used in its preparation.

Bruschetta

The bruschetta is another very popular and traditional antipasto from central Italy. Its preparation is very simple, as it consists of several slices of toasted bread in which garlic is rubbed and then roasted in a special oven called brustolina to make them golden.

Once this is done, olive oil, ground paprika and salt are added, although these ingredients may vary depending on the region or area where they are prepared, as it is an aperitif open to the imagination of each one.

Cheese, tomatoes and other vegetables cut into small cubes, such as peppers, carrots, sweet corn, onions, are also added… In Tuscany, this dish is called fettunta, the literal meaning of which is sliced in oil.

Aubergines with parmesan cheese

The aubergine antipasto a la parmesana or parmigiana di melanzane is a dish from the region of Campania, in southern Italy.

As its name suggests, the main ingredient of this dish are eggplants (melanzana in Italian) cut into slices about 0.5cm thick, which are fried and accompanied by grated parmesan cheese (Parmigiano-Reggiano in Italian), egg, tomato sauce and basil leaves.

Parmigiana di melanzane 

They are cooked to the plate, although if it is desired to obtain a less caloric plate they can also be cooked to the oven. The arrangement of the eggplant slices is similar to lasagna, as they are layered, just like the pasta slices.

There are different variants of this dish; for example, the Neapolitan variant replaces parmesan cheese with mozzarella cheese; in Sicily and Apulia, however, cured sheep’s cheese (pecorino cheese) is used.

Another variant is that which is made with pumpkins, a dish that is known as stuffed pumpkins and is also very popular in the cuisine of Argentina.

Burrata cheese

Burrata cheese or simply burrata is a cream of fresh cheese very typical in Italy, whose name is derived from the term donkey, which is butter in Italian language, and is that this cheese is very buttery.

It is made from fresh cow’s milk and is obtained as follows: first, the curd is separated from the whey; then the whey is heated from the milk and, once the curd has come into contact with the whey, the whey is spun, i.e. the cheese becomes elastic in texture.

This process is also carried out for the production of fresh mozzarella cheese, but the difference between the two types of cheese is that mozzarella is made with buffalo milk. The burrata looks like a sack because it is filled with a mixture called stracciatella, which is obtained by mixing the spun pasta with cream.

The texture of this cheese is creamy and is usually served with slices of tomato and toasted bread.