Exceptionally rich in taste across a wide range of flavours, churning up authentic Italian cuisine is considered an art form.
Conjured out of the simplest ingredients, the staples would typically include olive oil, garlic, balsamic vinegar, tomatoes, various kinds of pastas, and of course, cheese. Parmesan, mozzarella, and ricotta are some of the more familiar additions to further enhance the depth of flavours, while herbs are often used as a condiment to accompany the dish.
An authentic Italian dining experience traditionally consists of four courses – antipasti /anTEE-pasTEE/, first course (primo piatto) /PREE-mo PYAT-to/, second course (secondo piatto) /se-KON-do PYAT-to/, and dessert. Translating to “before the meal”, antipasti acts as appetisers and varies from salad, soup, or a meat and cheese platter.
The first course is primarily carbohydrate-heavy, such as pastas, risotto, or gnocchi. Some of the more popular choices include Spaghetti Carbonara /spa-GHET-tee kar-bo-nara/, Risotto alla Milanese /REE-soto alla mi-la-NEH-se/, and Gnocchi di Semolino /NYO-ki di se-mo-LI-no/.
Reportedly came about after WWII when American soldiers rationed ingredients and the creative Italians came up with the simple recipe of Spaghetti Carbonara.
Risotto alla Milanese
Gnocchi di Semolino
Gnocchi is often mistaken as a type of pasta. It is actually a form of dumpling, most commonly made from potatoes and flour.
Fairly small in portion, the second course focuses more towards protein intake that involves steak, chicken, fish, or lamb. Braised Beef, Involtini Di Manzo (Beef Rolls) /EEN-vol-tini di MAHN-zo/, and Pesce al Cartoccio (Baked Fish in Foil) /PEH-sheh al KAR-toch-cho/ are often well favoured among Italians.
Involtini Di Manzo
Pesce al Cartoccio
Italian desserts often vary in presentation from a simple bowl of cut fruits to more elaborate plating of sweet treats. Panna cotta /PA-nah KOT-tah/, tiramisu /TEE-rah-mee-su/, and tartufo /TAR-too-foh/ are popular choices to cap off an excellent meal.
The modern tiramisu recipe is said to be accredited to Le Beccherie restaurant in Treviso, Italy, where the owner spent two years perfecting the recipe.
Said to originate in 1952, when a pastry chef ran out of cups to serve dessert and ingeniously invented a hardened chocolate ball filled with ice cream as a substitute.