Cooking Italian recipes depends upon one basic fact: the freshness of the ingredients. No processed foods are used in the creation of these delightful, elegant, yet deceptively simple meals.
Olive oil and garlic:
Staples of an Italian kitchen are olio d'oliva (olive oil) and aglio (garlic). Always choose extra virgin olive oil and fresh garlic. You will not see any garlic powder or garlic salt in a traditional Italian kitchen. Another common ingredient when in many Italian dishes is pomodori (tomatoes), which are used fresh in sauces, served in the antipasti or starter as a garnish over toasted bread, or in salads. Olive oil is used when Cooking Italian recipes for frying, sautéing, dressing on salads, and every other place where we would usually use shortening or vegetable oil.
Italians love their mealtime, and they take a long time to get through the entire meal. Dinner typically starts around 8:00 PM and is over around 10:00 PM. Family is key to Italians and you will often find children in the kitchen, learning to cook right along with the adults. The family comes together over the meal and large, boisterous meal times are not uncommon in an Italian household, with lots of shouting, laughter and good natured teasing accompanying the pasta. Cooking Italian recipes is something the Italians take very seriously.
The courses in an Italian meal:
The antipasti, or starter course mentioned earlier comes to the table on platters family style. It can be something as simple as a bruschetta (toasted garlic bread) with a variety of toppings to a more sophisticated dish made with zucchini flowers and grated parmesan cheese. By the way, when pronouncing Italian words, the ‘ch’ sounds like a ‘k, ’ so the word bruschetta is pronounced bru-sketta. To get the ‘ch’ sound in Italian, put two c's together as in Gucci.
Following the antipasti, the primi piatti, or first course is served. This is usually a pasta course, but can also be a soup, crepe, polenta, rice, or gnocchi. Pasta is also a staple in Italian recipes, and you will usually find a pasta dish set on the table for every evening meal. Explore the Italian cookbooks for your favorite pasta or other starchy dish for your primi piatti.
The next course is the main course, or the secondi piatti. This is a meat course, served with a contorni or side dish. Beef, pork, veal, fish and poultry are all served and eaten with relish in Italy. Side dishes, or contorni, are sometimes salads, but often are starchy dishes like potatoes or beans.
Desert is not to be forgotten as a sweet, but not too sweet, end to your cooking Italian recipes experience. One of my favorite Italian deserts is contuccini. Contuccini is a small version of the popular Italian cookie called biscotti. These sweet, but hard, little almond cookies are served after a typical Italian meal with a sweet desert wine. Set shot glasses in front of your guests, fill each one with the desert wine and instruct them to dunk the contuccini in the wine before eating it. Delicicio!
Wendy Pan is an accomplished niche website developer and author. To learn more about cooking italian food , please visit Italian Cooking Recipes for current articles and discussions.