Italian cuisine is recognized not only as one of the best in the world, but also one of the most fashionable at present. She uses a wide variety of foods: vegetables, fish, seafood, beef and lean pork, poultry, fruits and berries, cheese, legumes, rice. Italian chefs use a wide variety of spices and seasonings to prepare their dishes. Moreover, they prefer not to boil the products, but to stew them in their own juice or with the addition of olive oil and wine, in order to convey the aroma and specific taste of a particular product as best as possible. The favorite ingredients of Italian dishes are garlic, nutmeg and capers, olives and nuts give a delicious flavor to many dishes.
Speaking of Italian cooking, one cannot pass by the world-famous olive oil, one of the most important ingredients.
In the production of oil in Tuscany, the emphasis is on the production of unrefined oil of the first cold mechanical pressing, which has a strong smell and is best suited for salads, meat and pasta. For fish, according to experts, oil produced in Liguria or Sicily is more appropriate.
In most dishes, oil is added quite a bit to give the food a special flavor. One cannot but agree with the justice of the judgment that good oil, like wine, emphasizes the merits of the dish, while bad oil kills.
First of all, Italian cuisine is thousands of dough products, each with its own unique taste. The national dish is pasta – various pasta.
So pasta “angelotti” is similar to dumplings, but with a very thin layer of filling (meat, cottage cheese or spinach). “Canelloni” – similar to spring rolls (liver with mushrooms, ham with peas, etc.), served with different sauces. “Capeletti romagnoli” is a medium-sized pasta in the form of “little hats”. “Lasagna” is a meat or mushroom filling baked between several thin plates of noodles with cheese. “Gnocchi” – flour dumplings with butter, potatoes, cheese, eggs and other ingredients. “Papparelle” is such noodles, cut into wide strips, about 2×4 cm. “Penne” is called thick short pasta, cut into pieces at an acute angle and similar to feathers. “Ravioli” – a type of dumplings made from thin dough. “Rigatoni” – thick pasta 4 – 5 cm long with longitudinal lines applied. “Tagliatelle” – flat noodles, cut into long strips about 1 cm wide. “Tortellini” – pasta in the form of “rosebuds” stuffed with spinach and homemade ricotta cheese. Spaghetti is very long thin pasta and fettuccine is thin noodles.
In addition to the numerous forms, there is also a variety of colors! Green (thanks to chopped spinach), orange (with carrot juice), pink (with the addition of tomatoes), black (stained with cuttlefish ink), combined skeins of green and yellow egg noodles, which are called (hay-straw).
And yet the main thing for spaghetti is the sauce. There is even a rule for pairing sauces with pasta – the shorter and thicker the pasta, the thicker the sauce.
Especially Italians love tomato sauce – salsa di pomodoro. According to some recipes, it is boiled for a very long time over low heat, so that the salsa barely boils. Spicy herbs are added to the sauce – basil or marjoram.
Among other dough products, ravioli are popular – small square dumplings served in the same tomato sauces and with grated cheeses.
According to TOP-MEDICAL-SCHOOLS, Cheese, like pasta, is a favorite food of Italians. Cheese enhances the flavor of dishes, is perfect for making sauces, mixes well with other ingredients. In addition, cheese contains a lot of protein, which gives a balanced diet of high-carbohydrate pasta. There are many cheeses in Italy, and each serves its own purpose. Mozzarella is used for pizza, gorgonzola is added to a creamy sauce, desserts are made from tender ricotta. But parmesan is considered the king of cheeses; almost all dishes are sprinkled with it – pasta, omelettes, salads and thinly sliced marinated meat – carpaccio.
Italians have great respect for soups, both clear, broth-based, and creamy. The most famous soup is minestrone. It is prepared from seven ingredients – seven types of vegetables, seven types of meat and seven types of spices, which, according to legend, symbolize the seven virtues of the cardinal.
The favorite meat dish of Italians is stew, which is a large piece of meat, first fried until golden brown, and then stewed in tomato sauce. Separately, it is customary to serve a vegetable salad with meat.
Speaking of salad, Italian folk wisdom says that salad must be prepared by four chefs. The first cook must be stingy – he seasons the salad with vinegar. The cook-philosopher must add salt. The cook-mot must pour in the oil. And the chef-artist is trusted to mix the salad and finally prepare the dish.
Another traditional Italian dish is risotto. According to legend, it appeared in the 16th century thanks to a young restorer who added saffron, the rarest in those days, to rice.
To prepare a real “risotto” you need some experience. An indispensable condition is good quality rice. Before pouring it with water or broth, rice is pre-fried in olive oil. However, it is often enough to add a piece of butter and grated cheese to rice to improve its taste. You can greatly expand the recipes to your liking, using mushrooms, poultry, oysters, crabs, tomatoes and capsicum.
All these gastronomic delights, of course, are accompanied by an inalienable companion – Italian wine. Italy is a wine-producing country where the choice of wines is huge. Each province competes for priority in the art of winemaking; however, it is believed that the wines of the northern provinces are softer and thinner than the ripe wines of the south (with the exception of Sicily). Of the Tuscan wines, the most popular, of course, is Chianti and its best brand is Classico. Neapolitan wines are known for “Tears of Christ” and Capri, and it is recommended to taste both red and white varieties of them. The most famous brand of Sicily is Marsala, a strong wine with a velvety fruity bouquet and a unique accent, given by a drop of melted ship’s resin. The taste for the wonderful Amaretto was beaten off from the Russians by Polish bootleggers. A real, world-famous liquor with this name is produced in Verona, in the homeland of Romeo and Juliet, and it has nothing to do with sugary drink from a commercial stall. Poetic winemakers say that almond bitterness is reminiscent of the tragedy of true love.
For the sweet tooth of all ages, Italian chefs prepare a dessert – an incomparable airy Tiramisu cake prepared on the basis of mascarpone cheese, which means “lift me up”. Many consider it more popular than pizza.
In addition to “Tiramisu”, they also eat cheese for dessert, which is served in the form of small broken pieces, as well as various fruits and berries. Italians prefer flour and confectionery: pies stuffed with chestnuts, airy cookies, tartlets and cakes. And they also like to drink strong and sweet Vin Santo after eating, dipping special cookies in it – “cantucci”.
With special warmth, Italians treat ice cream. It is believed that it was invented in the 15th century by the Florentine architect Bernardo Buontalenti. Now in Italy there are hundreds of varieties of ice cream – from fruit sherbet to garlic ice cream or ice cream flavored with parmesan cheese. The latter are served as “antipasti”, appetizers before the main meal. And between courses of a hearty meal, Italians often use sherbet – to refresh the taste.
Dessert necessarily ends with coffee. Italians believe that the best coffee is brewed in Naples. It is there that the best water for coffee and, importantly, the best air.
“Cappuccino” (or monk’s hood) is morning coffee, after 12 o’clock it is not customary to drink it, while “espresso” is drunk all day and night. Moreover, it is cooked not only in special devices,
The coffee that completes the meal is served with one of the Italians’ favorite fruit liqueurs, limoncello.