Italian food recipes
Bruschette rustiche: A tasty starter of grilled sesame bread with
diced tomatoes and olive oil.
Risotto with zucchini and Asiago cheese: Classic rice dish with
fresh zucchini and local cheese.
Pollo alla pizzaiola: Simple chicken dish cooked in tomato sauce
with Parmesan or goat cheese.
Insalata fantasia: Bob's secret salad recipe with lots of fresh
veggies and a killer salad dressing.
Italian food recipes are quite varied depending on which region of Italy
you live in. Recipes here in Vicenza have been strongly influenced
by Northern European dishes (Baccalā for example), while Southern Italy
has more of a Mediterranean flavor to its cuisine. Local cheeses
often dictate the character of a particular region, like Buffalo
mozzarella in Napoli and Asiago in the Veneto region.
What follows is a personalized "taste" of some Italian food recipes we
have enjoyed here in Italy.
Bruschette rustiche -
For starters a real simple and tasty treat is bruschette, quick and easy
to make and sure to please. We prefer to grill the bread rather
than bake it in the oven, using a sesame baguette which is easily found
here but has its roots from the southern regions of Italy.
Slice the baguette from end to end into small pieces
about 2cm thick each. Heat up a grill in the meantime (we prefer
the grooved type which we place directly on a gas range) at medium fire.
Dice up some ripe tomatoes, the meatier the better.
We find that "Marinda" tomatoes from Sicily work best but any type is
fine as long as they are tasty and not too watery.
Grill the bread making sure to turn it only once.
By keeping a careful eye trained on each slice you'll know when it's
time to turn them at the first whispers of smoke. Lower the flame
For Garlic lovers all you need is to peel a clove and
rub it directly on the hot bread, provided of course it's been grilled
correctly and is crispy enough to hold its own without breaking up.
Put a dab of extra virgin olive oil on each slice (a
spoonful or so depending on how big the slice is) and sprinkle lightly
with salt and oregano. Add the diced tomato and you're good to go!
Risotto with zucchini and
Asiago cheese - A great "primo piatto" which is really
risotto takes about 25 minutes to cook and requires constant stirring
but is well worth the wait. Risotto can be done in any combination
of ingredients, we like it with zucchini and Asiago cheese.
Fill a saucepan with water and bring to a boil,
adding your favorite bouillan cubes for flavor. We use a purely
vegetable bouillan in powder form which is strictly without MSG.
While the water is heating up dice up a fresh white
onion and fry slowly in olive oil until it begins to brown. It's
important to slow fry the onions and be as generous with the olive oil
as you like.
While the onions are slow-frying dice up some fresh
baby zucchini, a red bell pepper and some Asiago cheese (mezzano - aged
about 6 months), we like Piave which works quite well too.
Prepare the amount of rice you'll need (a small glass
is generally enough for one person), be sure to use only rice which is
specifically recommended for risotto otherwise it'll be mushy!
Once the onions have begun to brown stir in the
vegetables for a minute and then add the rice. Slowly add broth,
stirring constantly so it "bubbles" (you don't want it to "boil" in the
It's important to stir constantly, scraping the
bottom of the pot so it doesn't stick. After 20 minutes or so the
rice will be nearly ready, add the cheese and stir in a bit of milk for
Risotto is best eaten "al dente", firm but chewable
so to speak. The last thing you want is soft mushy rice!
Turning up the flame and stirring quickly the last minute adds texture,
Risotto with zucchini
Pollo alla pizzaiola - Chicken cooked the Pizza man's way, using
fresh tomatoes and Parmesan. Sliced veal can be substituted for
the chicken if you like, and goat cheese for the Parmesan.
Dice up some juicy red tomatoes and place into a
frying pan, adding olive oil, parsley and capers. Let the tomatoes
boil a bit while you prepare the chicken breast with salt and pepper.
Add the chicken to the tomato sauce along with some
grated Parmesan cheese and let it cook slowly for 10 minutes on each
side, add water if necessary. Sprinkle with oregano at the end.
Goat cheese yields a stronger taste, and olives can
be added too for extra flavoring. Make sure you cook the chicken
slowly and thoroughly, veal may require a bit more time. Ummm...
Chicken in tomato sauce
Insalata fantasia - A salad dish which is a meal in itself, any
number of vegetables works well.
One basic principle of the kitchen which is good to
remember is that the more color you have the better it will taste.
Key ingredients stand out by themselves and make for a great salad.
We like to use a mixture of both red and green
radicchio, crisp and somewhat bitter. Arugula also works quite
well as do many other base salad ingredients like lettuce.
For a good mix add scallions (spring onions),
carrots, radish, cucumber, capers, dried tomatoes, bell peppers, diced
tomatoes, diced asiago and tuna. Grate some Parmesan on top.
A good salad dressing starts with aged balsamic
vinegar (from Modena), add teriyaki sauce (Kikoman), soy sauce, sesame
seeds, olive oil and spices like oregano and pepper. EAT!
Mixed green salad
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