Quick Recipes and Easy

Italian Recipes and Cuisine

Italy has a well-established and deserved reputation for producing high-quality food and tasty cuisine. Best known for pizza and pasta, Italian food also includes many brilliant meat and seafood dishes, as well as brilliant cheeses, and fabulous desserts.

It has often been noted that Italy is a country of fantastic regional variations – and that is certainly right, indeed the country was only unified in 1861 – and this fact is reflected in the diversity of Italy’s regional cuisine. It should also be noted that Italy has been invaded many times over the centuries, as well as trading with many other countries, and this too is reflected in the national cuisine.

Some of the regional variations that you may encounter in Italian food include:

- Northern Italy’s native products include balsamic vinegar, bolognese sauce (ragu), lasagna, mortadella (a heat-cured pork sausage, served as a cold cut) parmigiano (parmesan cheese) polenta (a dish made from boiled cornmeal), prosciutto (dry cured ham) and tortellini (stuffed pasta). Rice is grown in both Lombardy and Piedmont (although different types in these two regions), which is used to make risotto.

- Tuscan cuisine often features meat, white beans and unsalted bread.

- Mozzarella and pizza, not to mention sfogliatelle (Italian filled pastries) originate from Naples.

- Roman cuisine often uses pecorino (cheese made from sheep’s milk) and offal. Rome is also known for its ultra-thin pizzas.

- Calabria (the region corresponding to the “toe” of Italy) is known for its spicy variety of salami.

- Sardinia is well-known for its lamb and pecorino (cheese made from sheep’s milk).

- Sicilian cuisine is noted for its Arab influences in its cooking (with the use of lemon and pistachio), as well as for its seafood (including tuna and swordfish). Sicily is also the home of gelato (ice cream) and granita (a tasty semi-frozen dessert made using sugar, water and flavorings).

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