Italian Food 101
There’s a reason Italian food is among the most popular in the world. It’s because Italian cuisine is rich with tradition, taste and freshness. If you’ve always wanted to try this type of food but want to look beyond typical Italian-American offerings, you don’t have to pack your bags for Rome.
Here are some things to keep in mind when looking for quality Italian dining options:
- Rigatoni alla Carbonara (aka Spaghetti Carbonara). This common dish includes a sauce made from cheese, bacon, eggs and cracked pepper. This is one of the most popular pasta dishes in Italian cooking and well worth trying if you’ve never had it.
- Other pastas. From handmade penne to linguine and other pastas, Italy is well known for its semolina-based pasta recipes. Try gnocchi or other delicious kinds! Look for pasta that is freshly made and appears yellow with additional egg yolk. You can even get a simple recipe and try making your own to appreciate the delicious flavors and complex texture of this fresh product. If you are too nervous making fresh pasta on your own, try taking a local pasta making class under the watchful eye of an expert chef.
- Risotto. Risotto is a well-known Italian comfort food which is based on Arborio rice. The rice is blended with white wine or stock, as well as finely chopped ingredients such as tomato, basil or seafood. Risotto is rich, creamy and delicious with a soft texture.
- Seafood. Right on the coast, Italy is known for its wonderful seafood dishes. From big scallops to delicious fish, Italians serve up fresh seafood, often with only a few additional herbs and some olive oil, which allows the flavors to really shine through.
- Pizza. Pizza in Italy is not what you may be used to. Instead of the thick crust loaded down with toppings, Italians prefer a thin crust baked at extremely high temperatures and topped with minimal ingredients. The simplicity of a Margherita pizza allows the eater to savor each individual flavor. Italy takes pizza so seriously that there is a Neapolitan pizza association which regulates which pizzas can be served in the region and which can bear the Neapolitan name. If you’ve never tried a non-conglomerate pizza, you’re in for a treat.
- Soups. Minestrone and other soups (such as Italian wedding soup) highlight the fresh vegetables and herbs that are integral to Italian cooking. These soups provide a wonderful way to warm up in the winter, as well as to eat more vegetables.
- Olive Oil. In Italy, olive oil is taken very seriously. Not only is it strictly regulated, but there are many businesses that allow you to bring in your own olives to produce your personal brand of olive oil. If you want to dine Italian at home, go to a store specializing in olive oil and sample to find the right combination of flavors. Be sure to pick up a bottle of quality balsamic vinegar, too, for dipping bread.
- Tiramisu. Spongy cake, mascarpone cheese and coffee flavors blend to create this wonderful dessert.
Of course, Italy is also well-known for its cheeses, wines and more. If you want to experience all of these without traveling to Tuscany or another area of the country, visit Bricco! Make a reservation to eat delicious Mediterranean inspired foods in a stunning Pennsylvania atmosphere.