Mat Beausoleil is an Ottawa-based TV Personality, Home Cook and Creator. He is the Executive Producer and Host of the television series Takin’ a Bite (now available on Bell Fibe TV1 & YouTube). Check out his article on Summerlicious 2019, and especially his take on the Blu Ristorante menu!
No matter what time of day it is, Italian cuisine offers a wide variety of recipes you might want to indulge in with friends, family or even by yourself. Pasta is one of the most popular choices to order in an Italian restaurant, since it is a straightforward dish to prepare. Layered with various ingredients, you can enjoy a quick delicious meal for the afternoon.
However, pasta isn’t your only option. There are many other delicious lunch dishes depending on your preference at the time. Prepare your taste buds as we discuss a few delicious Italian lunch ideas:
1. White Pizza with Tomato and Basil
This is a perfect Italian lunch or dinner idea when you need to prepare a quick meal for a few people. The main trick with this recipe is to preheat the baking sheet before placing the crust to give it a crispier taste. Preparing this meal is quite simple, since all you need is to spread the pesto evenly over the crust and then sprinkle the mozzarella on the pesto.
Once you are satisfied with the spread, link and then slide the crust onto the preheated baking sheet. Remove the crust from the oven within 5 minutes, or when the cheese starts to melt. Evenly add tomatoes on the cheese, black pepper, and basil. Cut it into 8 slices and add a little red pepper, if you wish, to add an extra kick to the pizza.
2. Filet Mignon with Arugula Salad
If you are looking for a meaty lunch, this would be the best dish to prepare. If the steak is good, minimal preparation is needed to get it done to your liking. A little salt and pepper over the steak are enough to cook the meat for about 8 minutes until it gets nice and juicy. The spicy taste of the arugula is an excellent complement to the steak.
Add a bit of mushroom, and the steak will be complete, all in less than half an hour. Serve with garlic bread or small portions of pasta for a much fuller meal.
3. Onion-Smothered Italian Burgers
Nothing screams American Food like a good old cheeseburger. However, you can give the burgers a sweet, distinct Italian flavour by adding a bit of balsamic-caramelized onions, herbs, and Parmesan. If you love cheese and would like to add it to your burger, melt half an ounce of mozzarella over the patties to give your meal a beautiful cheesy finish. This can be perfect for a meal of a few people, and you don’t have to spend too much time preparing them.
4. Chicken Panini with Fig Jam
This is a quick meal to prepare and can feed up to four people. The sandwich makes excellent use of leftover chicken. All you need is to spread the top half of the bread with the fig jam, while spreading the other half with a mixture of cheese and butter.
Add your chicken slices onto the bottom half of the bread and then cover the sandwich. Put the sandwich in a Panini press for about five minutes depending on how crunchy you like your bread. Next, take the top half off and add a bit of arugula to the sandwich. You have a finger-licking Italian dish to enjoy afterwards.
5. Pasta with Prosciutto and Spinach
Pasta is an easy meal to make. It is also quick to prepare. Besides, you can add cheese tortellini for that rich creaminess and flavour to make it stand out. Adding some little spinach to this pasta, or any type of greens for that matter, and a mixture of cheese, makes it a complete meal. The prosciutto can be substituted with pancetta or bacon, but one would have to cook them until they are crisp before adding them to the pasta.
6. Pesto Caesar Salad
This is quite an interesting take to a classic meal popular with many people all over the world. It is light and quick to assemble, not to mention that it packs an impressive, nutritious value. This can be good for lunch at the office as it is straightforward and quick to prepare. The creaminess of the dressing is blended in with the basil punch of pesto. The lemon pungency of the Caesar dressing can give it an exciting flavour ideal for a quick lunch.
7. Italian Sausage Soup
This is one way of making the already-delicious Italian sausage even tastier. Simmering the sausage in the soup gives it more flavour as the soup seeps into the sausage, making you crave every bite. It is also a very versatile recipe and easy to make. Short pasta can be used as substitutes for the shells, as well as other greens to replace the spinach. Whatever you can add to make your soup tastier, be bold and throw it in.
Italian cuisine is loved around the world for its innovative use of simple ingredients and traditional cooking methods. These authentic Italian recipes are based on a mix of ingredients coming together in perfect harmony, allowing the flavours to truly shine. With a range of delicious Italian appetizers, main dishes, and desserts to choose from, they are the perfect type of cuisine to serve at parties.
Most Italian food lovers dream of going to Italy to try the dish from where it originated. If you get to live this dream, great! However, you don’t have to travel to Italy to enjoy the authentic taste of Italian cuisine. In fact, you can simply visit the nearest restaurant for a delightful variety of authentic Italian food. Many Italian restaurants offer private dining events, allowing you to host parties and special gatherings in an intimate setting with the dedicated staff at your service.
If you are planning a party, there are certain fan favourites that you should include in your menu. Here are eight authentic Italian recipes for parties and special occasions:
1. Classic Margherita Pizza
This is one of the most famous Italian pizza recipes out there. It is simple to make and very authentic to the Italian culture. It does not have or require a lot of toppings. With this pizza, less is more. The pizza ingredients include marinara sauce, which is spread on the dough with garlic, mozzarella slices, and tomatoes.
After ten minutes in a pre-heated oven, the pizza should be ready. Garnish with fresh basil and a couple of grinds of fresh black pepper and then serve.
These small pizzas are perfect for small buffets and they are a hit with kids at a party. Their small size makes it easier to serve many people. They can also be eaten when warm or at room temperatures. The pizzettes are mainly made using ham. However, some recipes include green olives, which is ideal for vegetarians.
Shredded mozzarella is preferred as it gives the pizzette an original flavour. These small cheesy treats can make one munch on and on since each bite leaves you craving for more.
Among one of the most popular Italian soups, minestrone has undoubtedly worked its way into North American cuisine and shows up on menus across the country. Allowing for plenty of variation, this soup is all about pairing different kinds of seasonal chopped vegetables with potatoes, beans, mushrooms, or pasta.
The trick to a successful minestrone is not to overcook the vegetables, so that they maintain a bit of crunch while contributing to the richness of the broth. Generally, you’ll see minestrone enhanced with olive oil or plenty of grated Parmigiano cheese.
4. Minestra Maritata
Literally meaning “married soup,” this Campania classic gets its name from the fact that meat and vegetables are brought together in delicious harmony. Traditionally prepared during the winter months, it usually contains plenty of winter greens such as cabbage, wild endive, chicory, and kale.
The vegetables are boiled lightly then plunged into a rich meat broth. Once the vegetables are done, small pieces of meat are added for a light boiling to blend the flavous. In some parts of Italy, this comforting soup is served with a sort of pizza or flatbread made of cornmeal and water.
This unique bread, reminiscent of a cracker or pretzel, can be flavoured to be either sweet or savoury. Although the base ingredients remain the same, sweet taralli is commonly flavoured with sugar, while savoury taralli is flavoured with garlic, poppy seeds, sesame, chili, onion, or salt.
Taralli usually come in the form of a ring or oval of around 11 centimetres, but they can be made into rings of about half that size called tarallini. Originating from the southernmost region of Italy, this type of bread is often used as table bread in Italian restaurants or a snack at party events.
6. Blue Cheese Prosciutto Pizza
This is a special delicacy made from slightly different toppings compared to other pizzas. In addition to the mozzarella cheese, blue cheese is also added to make this pizza extra cheesy and tasty. Prosciutto Crudo (uncooked) is preferred to prosciutto Cotto (cooked) for that authentic, unprocessed taste and feel. Most people like to add their own ingredients to give this pizza a personal taste. You get to have a pizza that’s prepared to your liking.
7. Sicilian Style Pepperoni Pizza
This is not the typical round, thin crust pie you are all used to. The Sicilian style pizza has a very thick crust and is made in a rectangle or square form depending on the shape of the baking tin. The dough is spread on the baking sheet. You can make it as thick as you want. The result is a crispy bottom, which is chewy and light on the inside.
You will need to spread slices of mozzarella cheese to your preference and then evenly spread pepperoni slices over the surface before sprinkling on Romano cheese. Bake until the pepperoni is crisp, and the bottom of the pizza is golden brown.
8. Tuna and Onion Pizza
This is one of the most common pizza topping combinations in Italy. The simplicity of the pizza makes it even more delicious and authentic. As with most pizzas, it is easy to prepare. After adding sauce, spread the mozzarella cheese evenly on the dough. Then, add tuna and freshly-cut onions to the mixture. Next, put it in a pre-heated oven for about ten minutes until the cheese melts. Sprinkle some fresh basil on the pizza and serve at your next party.
In Italy, the cattle (commonly known as Chianina) tend to be of a different breed from other cattle that you would find in North America. For this reason, Italian steak have a different taste in terms of the flavours, textures, and juiciness.
While it is up for debate whether Italian steak tastes better than other regions, it remains a very popular type of cuisine among many restaurants. Here are the top ten Italian steak and meat dishes that you should try out:
1. Italian Ribeye Steak
This popular Italian steak is rather spicy. The dish is made with ingredients such as rosemary, garlic, fresh oregano, basil, parsley, balsamic vinegar and white pepper. While grilling, always remember to preheat the grill, cook the steaks for about 7 minutes, turn over and coat with your preferred mixture.
2. Barbecued Beef Steak with Bruscansi Sprouts
This barbecued beef steak has minimal ingredients and takes only a short time to prepare. All you need is the beef steak, olive oil, salt, pepper and bruscansi sprouts, which are popular risotto ingredients in some parts of Italy. The sprouts could be replaced by wild asparagus as they hail from the same family.
3. Raw Beef Cooked with Mozzarella and Tomatoes
If you are looking for a recipe that allow ingredients such as mozzarella and tomatoes to stand out, you will enjoy this pared reverse version of steak tartare. One thing to remember is that your beef should be of high quality to make this Italian steak dish come alive. For the best flavours, it is recommended that you use beef from a heifer that is not older than twenty months.
4. Mustard Marinated Beef
This Italian steak dish is easy to prepare. However, do not let its simplicity fool you. The texture and flavour of the resultant dish is way beyond the sum total of its various parts.
5. Meat Balls with Tomato Sauce
This is by far one of the easiest Italian meat dishes to prepare, perfect for those looking for a quick fix. You can add some mozzarella topping once the meal is ready and serve it with spaghetti. It takes just about 30 minutes to prepare and is also said to have nutritional value. Each serving provides a bit of protein, carbohydrates and fibre.
6. Stracci di Antrodoco
As you get into the colder months of the year, this dish comes in handy. It is a rich veal mince ragu, which is stuffed into thin frittatas, rolled and baked in the oven in a creamy tomato sauce. It is best served with salad leaves and fresh basil.
7. Beef Carpaccio with Pink Pepper, Rocket and Sundried Tomatoes
Dating back to the 1950s, carpaccio was traditionally a dish of thinly sliced meat or fish served with salad and sauce. This refreshing beef carpaccio is ideal for summer. The secret to making the perfect beef carpaccio lies in how you treat the meat. If you are unable to cut the meat into proper thin slices, get a butcher to do it for you instead. The accompaniments for this dish come together beautifully, since the sweetness of the sundried tomatoes balances out the bitterness of the rocket.
8. Baked Eggplant Alla Romana
This is a sweet, silky and absolutely delicious Italian dish! Other than the common ingredients in most Italian dishes, it also contains parmesan cheese, oregano, and the all-time favourite, spaghetti sauce. The key to preparing this dish is to allow for a 10-minute rest after baking, so the eggplant can absorb any extra liquid and become increasingly tender.
9. Supplì al Telefono
This Italian appetizer has an exciting story behind it. If you think the recipe title sounds like a telephone, you are right. The name “al telefono” is derived from the appearance of the rice croquettes. When pulled apart, they create stretches of stringed mozzarella that look like the old-school telephone. First created as a basic snack that used risotto leftovers as ingredients, they are now served before dinner as palatable appetizers.
10. Coda Alla Vaccinanara
Coda alla vaccinanara, also known as the Roman oxtail stew, is prepared by parboiling and simmering with generous amounts of celery, aromatic herbs, and carrots. You can also add red wine and tomatoes to the dish. Re-cook with garlic, pancetta, onions, prosciutto, among other ingredients. On the final cooking phase, add cloves, celery stalks and bay leaves. Then, cook until you can effortlessly separate meat from the bone. For seasoning, use nutmeg, black pepper, cinnamon before garnishing with pine nuts.
Italian cuisine is popular all around the world, particularly because there is so much diversity in the selection of foods. From pastries and desserts to pasta and pizza, you will find an abundance of delicious foods with different tastes and flavours. No matter what you order from the restaurant menu, you are sure to discover some exciting dishes that will suit your preferences.
Before you get to the main course, you might be interested in sampling several of the iconic Italian appetizers. These delicious delicacies are wonderful for kicking off your meal and get you in the mood to enjoy the other Italian food.
Here are the 11 best Italian appetizers ever:
1. Carbonara Arancini
These authentic Italian appetizers are essentially crisp rice balls with creamy pancetta, parsley and pecorino filling. Other ingredients needed to prepare this delicacy include all-purpose flour, milk, red pepper, plain dry breadcrumbs and chopped mint, which can be accompanied by coarse sea salt for garnishing.
The preparation required for this dish is an easy 6-step process. Upon completion, you can enjoy your carbonara arancini with a lively, full-bodied chardonnay.
2. Chopped Italian Salad
This salad is delicious, especially if you are a fan of vegetables. Antipasto ingredients are sliced and mixed with the dressing ingredients in a bowl to make a tasty chopped salad.
When preparing this dish, go for prosciutto instead of pepperoni. You may use drained and rinsed canned chickpeas instead of the artichoke hearts. Diced provolone cheese would also make a great addition!
3. Pan-fried Scamorza with Arugula Salad
If you loved the chopped Italian salad, this Italian appetizer would not disappoint. Scamorza, an Italian cow’s milk, is put to give it that irresistible crust. The arugula salad, on the other hand, is composed of plum tomatoes, oregano sprigs, arugula leaves, white and red vinegar and vegetable oil.
You may also include two pestos, which can either be covered or refrigerated and then brought to room temperature right before serving.
4. Bruschetta of Spring Vegetables
The biggest huddle most people face when preparing dishes containing vegetables is how to preserve their colour, texture and sweetness. In most cases, the vegetables are usually overcooked, and this may happen to you just at the exact moment when you are trying to showcase your prowess in the kitchen. Fortunately, there is a solution. All you need to do is simply stew the vegetables with garlic, onions and olive oil. Then, allow these ingredients to cook in their own water gradually.
Since different vegetables require different cooking durations, you should add the next vegetable after the previous one has cooked just enough. This method allows the vegetables to soften slightly while maintaining its crunchiness. It also ensures the flavours remain distinct and still blend harmoniously with other flavours in your dish. They are best served when lukewarm.
5. Bruschetta with Pickled Okra
This Italian appetizer is ideal during summer and is quite easy to prepare. Simply combine okra, onions, garlic, tomatoes, olive oil, basil and balsamic vinegar in a bowl. Then, add salt and pepper to the mix. Cover and refrigerate the mixture for at least 30 minutes as you prepare the baguette by slicing it diagonally.
Apply olive oil on each piece and toasting the bread for about five minutes until it begins to brown. Once done, serve the okra mixture on the freshly toasted baguette and you are good to go.
6. White-bean and Prosciutto Bruschetta
With this appetizer, each strip of prosciutto is toasted and topped with creamy white beans and crisp red onions. You might also consider serving it with the bruschetta duet to make a tasty trio.
7. Ricotta and Roasted Tomato Bruschetta with Pancetta
This is a colourful mixture made up of multicoloured cherry tomatoes, bruschetta, garlic cloves, pepper, sage leaves, pancetta slices, fresh ricotta cheese and country bread.
8. Autumn Fritto Misto
As the name suggests, this appetizer is prepared during the autumn season, but can also be prepared with whatever produce is available during any other season. In the fall, it can be made using mushrooms, zucchini and apples that are fried to a crispy extra-light. The crispy and light feel can be created by adding whipped egg white and sparkling wine. It is best served when hot wrapped in a paper cone.
9. Potato Focaccia Rolls
These yummy Italian appetizers are made from dough. They can have different toppings according to the seasons, including potatoes, rosemary, tomatoes or even feta. While the dish may take up to an hour to prepare, it is worth the effort. Best of all, the potato focaccia rolls complement well with almost every Italian dish.
10. Grilled Antipasto with Garlicky Bean Dip
Most people are suckers for grilled meat. Now, imagine all that juiciness on vegetables accompanied by grilled marinated mozzarella balls, otherwise known as bocconcini. The vegetables are wrapped in fillets and white beans dipped in a garlicky paste.
Ensure you eat the bocconcini hot-off-the-grill, so it easily spreads on the bread and oil the grate lightly before grilling the bocconcini.
11. Double-Grilled Antipasto Sandwiches
You can never go wrong with this type of sandwich. It is prepared by first grilling the provolone wrapped with prosciutto, and later sandwiching the provolone on a double-grilled baguette. It is an easy two-step process.
Italian vegetable dishes are savoury and healthy alternatives to meat-filled dishes. Many of these vegetarian recipes are flexible, since you can add a few extra elements to improve the dishes and make them more distinct. In some cases, you can even take an original recipe and give it a vegetarian spin, such as vegetarian pizzas, vegetarian pastas, or vegetarian spaghetti.
There are numerous delicious vegetable dishes found in your local Italian restaurant. Some flavourful dishes may even inspire you to travel to Italy and experience the food from its native home.
If you are looking for meat alternatives, here are ten delicious Italian vegetable dishes that you will love:
1. Mushroom Risotto
Made from Arborio Rice, this classic Italian dinner dish is made with the savoury flavours of dried and fresh mushrooms. You can add some parmesan and butter to make this dish a more wholesome meal. As you are cooking the dish, you can add a little wine to add flavour and prevent it from getting too dry.
2. Caprese Salad with Pesto Sauce
This is an easy-to-make salad, which has the colours of the Italian flag when plated. It includes a fantastic combination of flavours, freshness and textures with tomatoes, mozzarella and basil, and sweet balsamic reduction of pesto. This salad is easy to prepare and can be served at any time of day. It is a light and healthy vegetable dish to consume.
3. Grilled Vegetable Lasagna
The grilled vegetable lasagna features white sauce, crisp vegetables, layers of lasagna sheets, and lots of cheese. This delicious Italian vegetable dish is a filling treat to indulge in with friends and family. Its preparation is not tedious if you have all the ingredients needed and follow the recipes step by step.
4. Panzanella (Italian Bread Salad)
This is probably one of the easiest Italian vegetable dishes to make. Panzanella consists mainly of bread and tomatoes. However, one can add a few more optional foods to boost the flavours if they wish. Cut up your bread into pieces before mixing them with chunks of freshly cut juicy tomatoes. Then let it sit for half an hour to allow the flavours to soak in.
5. Eggplant Parmigiana
This dish is so heavy that you won’t miss having meat. Layered with parmesan cheese and tomatoes, this casserole is a brilliant way to serve eggplants. It is not too complicated to prepare and can be served with crispy bread and rocket salad. The cheese makes the meal blend in well with the different layers, making it even more hearty and dense.
6. Pasta Alla Norma
The Pasta Alla Norma recipe was named after the opera Norma by the composer Vincenzo Bellini. It consists of tomato sauce, basil, fried and diced eggplant and salty ricotta shavings. The dish is mainly from Catania in Sicily. Aubergine was often used as a substitute for meat when meat was scarce.
With the help of a salt rub and fresh ewe’s milk, ricotta becomes hard, flavorful and crumbly cheese suitable for eating. You can also try dressing the dish with tomato sauce, zingy eggplant, and ricotta salatais dusted over the pasta.
7. Tortelli Di Zucca
Northern Italy boasts a large variety of egg-dough stuffed pasta, including this savoury vegetarian tortelli. It is made with cheese, crumbled amaretto biscuits, eggs, mostarda, and roasted pumpkin. This Italian vegetable dish is the most popular in Ferrara, North Italy. Combined with ricotta and spinach, and a mixture of fillings such as mushrooms, artichoke or brown butter dressed cheese, Tortelli is a perfect alternative to the meat-filled tortellini.
8. Gnocchi Alla Romana
This vegetable dish is less known compared to the potato gnocchi. Hailing from the region of Lazio, it originates from traditional Italian cuisine that makes use of ingredients like semolina.
The dish is prepared by mixing milk, butter, semolina, grated parmigiana, ground nutmeg, beaten eggs, salt and black pepper, to make a thick dough. Flat discs are cut from the dough, which are then put together on a greased oven pan dusted with substantial amounts of grated parmigiana and butter before baking.
With its roots from southern Italy, this dish is prepared with dried and crushed fava beans. The use of pureed fava beans is a tradition from the ancient Roman times. This dish is often served as a soup on its own. However, maccu can also be employed as an ingredient in other dishes, where it can be added to other legumes and chestnuts. This is used to make the Maccu di San Giuseppe, which is served on the Italian Father’s Day, especially during the festivity of Saint Joseph.
Fava bean puree is served with boiled bitter dandelion greens and a drizzle of olive oil in Puglia. The bitterness of the cicori is countered by the creamy texture and sweetness of the pureed fava beans.
10. Insalata Caprese
This Italian vegetable dish is made with buffalo mozzarella, fresh basil, ripe tomatoes, 3-ingredient caprese drizzled with olive oil and a dash of salt. It is a go-to summer dish for almost every Italian. For better results, use fresh mozzarella instead of the low-moisture product sold abroad.
Italy is home to some of the world’s favourite drinks and beverages. From pre-dinner drinks to cocktails for a night out, there is a wide selection of tasty beverages that you can enjoy. Many Italian drinks have gained international acclaim over the years. The rich, ancient history behind some of these drinks gives them an irresistible allure.
There’s no better way to indulge and experience Italian cuisine than to accompany your dish with an equally amazing Italian beverage. Here are the six most popular Italian drinks and beverages highlighted below:
Aperitivo is known to be an excellent drink that prepares the digestive system before one sits down for a delicious Italian dinner. Mostly served as a pre-dinner drink, it is often enjoyed at the local bars where people relax after a long day of work. It is a light and dry tonic, which prepares the body’s digestive metabolism better than an overly sweetened cocktail.
Many Italians think of this drink as a classic tradition before indulging in their typical four-course dinner. Be sure not to skip this famous Italian custom when you get to visit Italy.
This famous Italian drink has an interesting history. Named after Count Camillo Negroni, a frequent traveller living in Florence in the 1920s, the origin of this drink has many variations. It is commonly believed that Camillo Negroni went to his usual bar after a trip from London and asked for his regular drink to be served just a little differently. He requested that a part of gin be added to his beverage and had it garnished with a flamed orange peel instead of the usual lemon. That’s how this famous drink came to fruition.
Negroni is made from one part of gin, one part of Campari, and one part of red Vermouth, and garnished with a slice of orange. This famous Italian beverage is now one of the most common cocktails in the world. The Negroni family set up a distillery that still makes a readily mixed version called the Antico Negroni.
Originating from a small local bar in the province of Novara in the 1800s, Campari is now a widely favourite drink in Italy and across the world. Made from a mixture of herbs, spices, fruits and alcohol, Gaspare Campari formulated the bitter recipe for the drink that later took over Italy and Europe by storm. People would come to Gaspare’s bar in Milan to experience the drink. When his sons took over the business, the drink was taken to Nice and the beautiful French Riviera. From there, it didn’t take long before Campari was enjoyed all over the world.
Campari is known for its bitter taste, which can take a while for some people to get used to its unusual flavour. It functions as an excellent refreshing boost to one’s digestion. This famous Italian drink is also often served with citrus juice or soda.
Commonly known as the father of Negroni, Americano shares the same ingredients as the Negroni, only leaving out the gin. This famous Italian beverage is widely served with ice and a slice of lemon or orange.
The Americano was previously called Milano-Torino because it is made from Campari and Vermouth, which originated from Milan and Turin respectively. It was later changed to Americano in memory of the boxer, Primo Carnera’s victory in New York during the 1930s. A fun fact is that James Bond ordered Americano in the famous Ian Flemming’s novel, Casino Royale.
Bellini takes its name from the famous 15th-century artist Giovanni Bellini. This drink was made in 1948 when Guiseppe Cipriani, the owner of the famous Harry’s Bar in Venice, launched an exhibition in memory of the Giovanni Bellini. The drink was made for this occasion and soon gained traction, especially with members of the art community who would visit Harry’s Bar.
The drink has a signature pink look inspired by a pink vest on a monk in one of Bellini’s paintings. The cocktail gained recognition all over the world when other artists spread the knowledge of the drink as they travelled.
Veneziano has many variations of its name, also known as the Veneziano or more commonly the Aperol Spritz. The famous Italian drink was made by the Austrians who were occupying Venice in the 1800s. Over the years, bitter herbs were added to the drink to add it more kick.
In the 1920s, the Barbieri Brothers invented their own spritz by adding oranges, rhubarb and gentian, which resulted in the neon orange Aperol Spritz now commonly recognized all over the world. Venetian wine was too strong for them, so they would dilute it with sparkling water to make it milder.
This internationally acclaimed beverage is one of the most common pre-dinner drinks you can find in many Italian restaurants. It has become an Italian alternative to Rose wine and many other summer cocktails.
After you finished a savoury meal, you might be craving for sugar, spice, and everything nice. From the traditional cakes to a range of mouth-watering pastries, these classic Italian desserts are highly popular choices to accentuate an already fantastic dining experience. After all, who doesn’t love desserts?
In fact, there are many Italian restaurants all over the world, each offering a selection of the best Italian desserts. The only problem you may encounter is that there could be too many delicious choices in the menu. To help you sample the tastiest delicacies, here are the best Italian desserts that you will enjoy after your meal:
1. Panna Cotta with Blackberries
The panna cotta dish is one of the best Italian desserts to serve after a meal. Panna cotta or ‘cooked cream’ is basically thickened and sweetened cream, which can be topped off with coffee or vanilla to create a sweet aroma. This dessert can be found literally almost anywhere in the world and is usually served with chocolate or caramel source (depending on your preference) and wild fruit coulis.
The blackberries, in this case, can be swapped with raspberries, juicy sliced peaches, or other sweet fruits.
2. Tiramisù Cake
Some say the tiramisu cake is one of the best Italian desserts, but you can be the judge when you taste it for yourself. This coffee-flavoured dessert is made up of coffee-soaked ladyfingers, layered with a whippy mixture of mascarpone cheese, eggs, and sugar, and finished off with cocoa powder. Originally from the regions of Friuli Venezia Giulia, it has recently been absorbed into other cake and dessert varieties.
3. Italian Torte
Italian torte is a delicious cake that can be made in a 7-step process using ingredients such as softened butter, granulated sugar, egg yolks, all-purpose flour, baking soda, buttermilk, vanilla extract, and walnuts, or finely chopped pecans. If you are like most people who love cakes, the Italian torte is a must eat!
4. Corn Panna Cotta and Goat Milk
Remember the panna cotta that we talked about earlier? These Italian desserts are so delicious that they deserve to occupy another spot in this list. There are many different types of panna cotta available. One delicious variation is the corn panna cotta served with goat milk. The ingredients used to prepare this dessert recipe include: 5 ears of white shucked corn, 1 cup whole goat milk, I cup of heavy cream, ¼ cup of honey, vanilla bean paste, kosher salt, 3 thyme sprigs, gelatin, non-stick cooking spray and caramel corn for garnishing just to name a few.
Even though this dessert seems like it has too many ingredients, the preparation process is quite easy. Best of all, the taste is simply divine when every piece of the dessert melts together in your mouth.
Nothing beats a cup of strong coffee and a serving of cannoli from an Italian bakery. The good news is that many Italian restaurants also serve this classic dessert. Initially, the cannoli dish was only made during the carnival period in Messina and Palermo in Sicily. Today, they form part of the Sicilian staple foods as well as the Italian-American cuisine and can be made at any time in the year, anywhere in the world.
Cannoli (plural for cannolo) is made up of tube-shaped cells of golden-brown fried pastry dough filled with goodies such as chocolate, candied fruits, and creamy ricotta. Other cannoli prepared outside Sicily are usually not of the same quality, but if you know a native Sicilian, you are in luck. When preparing cannoli, use high-quality fresh ricotta with as few ingredients as possible or make your own while for best results.
6. Cappuccino Granita
Also known as granita siciliana in Italian, it is among the most popular Italian desserts and is a semi-frozen dessert made from sugar, water and various flavourings. As the name suggests, this classic Italian dessert contains custard, which is made from the instant espresso powder that beautifully tops off the chocolate torte.
7. Maple Walnut Biscotti
In case you are thinking of getting a gift for your best friend or better half, maple walnut biscotti is the perfect Italian dessert for you. These cookies are easy to pack and to transport, and their crunchy nature coupled with a pure maple flavour makes them even sweeter. A free tip for you while preparing these cookies: use two baking sheets to get more biscotti in smaller sizes and shorten the baking time by five minutes.
8. Hazelnut Toffee Zuccotto
Did you know that ‘zuccotto’ means ‘little pumpkin’ in Italian? These Italian desserts are traditionally made in a pumpkin-shaped form, hence the name. The dessert is made of ice cream (semi-frozen whipped cream) and slices of cake, together with bits of chocolate caramel and toasted and bristly chopped hazelnut. Note that it’s important to use a shallow pan while toasting nuts and maintain an oven temperature of 350°. Cook for 5-10 minutes.
Sometimes called lobster tail in English, this is a shell-shaped Italian pastry with its origin in Napoli, Campagnia region. The name also points to the leaf-like nature of Sfogliatelle, which appears to have super thin layers of crunchy orange or cinnamon filled dough stacked together. Sounds complicated, right? A good pasta machine (useful for rolling the dough into super thin layers) and some patience can go a long way in making the best Italian pastry.
Often eaten during Christmas festivities, this is an Italian pastry that is most common in the Apulia, Abruzzo and Calabria regions. Like most Italian desserts, its fillings vary depending on the region. For example, the Abruzzo version may contain toasted almonds, cocoa powder and cinnamon. Other versions may have chicken giblets, sweetbread and truffles, almonds (toasted or otherwise), cherries, cloves, chocolate, cinnamon, honey, custard, Jam or royal jelly fillings. Regardless of the region, these Italian desserts are an irresistible delicacy for every palate. Besides, there are fillings for every type of taste bud.
When it comes to desserts you will love, Italy leads the pack with scintillating delicacies that are sure to whet your appetite. While there are too many Italian desserts to include, the few listed here are a good starting point. For all those with a sweet tooth, these Italian desserts are waiting for you at your next dining experience.
Italy is known for many things, especially the beautiful scenery and famous landmarks. The country is a lovers’ paradise where people visit to create lasting memories. However, Italy’s beauty extends beyond the breathtaking views, because the country is also known for another cultural phenomenon: the Italian cuisine. Traditional Italian food dishes are perhaps the most sought-after delicacy in the world.
While pizza and pasta are the most traditional Italian food dishes, there are so many more classic Italian cuisines you can try out. These traditional Italian food dishes vary from one region to another. For instance, the popular American-Italian dishes are believed to come from the Southern region of Campania and Sicily Island just off the southern coast, while others are believed to originate from the north. In some cases, the dishes end up being named after the region of its origins.
The ingredients used in preparing traditional Italian foods are often quite simple, affordable and locally available, such as cheese, olives, olive oil, pasta and eggplants. These Italian cuisines were designed way back when the country’s economic standing was poor, hence people had to rely on readily available foods to come up with the recipes. For them, it’s not just about the cooking technique, but how you use the ingredients can matter a great deal too.
Here are some classic and traditional Italian food dishes you will love:
1. Spaghetti Carbonara
Just from the name alone, the spaghetti carbonara already sounds like a sweet and delicious meal. The traditional Italian food dish originated in Rome. To prepare this recipe, it is made with spaghetti, guanciale (pork and beef, which can be replaced by the pancetta or bacon), cheese and black pepper. Some ingredients, such as pasta and the cheeses, can be replaced with linguine or fettuccine. The spaghetti and parmesan can also take the place of the pecorino romano.
However, there are other essential ingredients that you simply must include in the dish. Never pass up the sauce, which is created from scratch using processed cream. Carbonara, a popular Italian pasta, is easy to prepare; you can try it yourself. Simply combine cheese with raw eggs, either pecorino romano or parmesan, and add hot pasta to this mix with pork cheek, black pepper, and fried guanciale.
Lasagne is another traditional Italian food that originated from Naples or Emilia (depending on where you are). It is among the most popular Italian dishes that have been adapted in different nations all over the world. This recipe consists of vegetables and beef ragu layered between pasta sheets and béchamel sauce, topped with cheese and oven baked.
Earlier, it comprised of rich meat stock flavours along with red wine and was never prepared with tomatoes as it came up before the 16th century. Modern versions, however, include tomatoes.
Rice may not be as popular as other traditional dishes in the Italian culture, but it’s an equally unique cuisine, which can be prepared in various ways. One of them is risotto, a creamy rice dish prepared in a broth with butter, saffron, wine, and onion. It can be accompanied by other additives such as shrimp, cuttlefish, chicken, bacon, mushroom or chorizo depending on the region.
While cooking this meal, you should first heat the butter and oil in a pan. Then, add the onions, white wine and broth. The next step is to add the rice, while ensuring you are using low heat to cook. Afterwards, add in the toppings and final seasonings to complete your meal.
This interesting Italian dish was originally leftover risotto before it was turned into a unique snack. It has many variations depending on the region. In essence, it is stuffed rice balls coated in breadcrumbs and flour, and then fried to a golden-brown colour. The variations include Aranci con ragu, which is most common, arancini con burro with butter, arancini con Funghi, arancini con pistacchi and arancini con melanzane.
This is another pasta dish originating from the Bologna and Emilia Romagna region. This traditional Italian food dish consists of small ring-shaped pasta, complemented by a cheese or meat mixture. The tortellini dish is served in chicken, and sometimes beef broth. The larger tortelloni is typically the same shape but stuffed with spinach and ricotta, while tortellacci, the largest version, is filled with either a cheese or prosciutto meat mix.
Since this dish is served uncooked, there’s a common misconception that Prosciutto might be unsafe for human consumption. However, this traditional Italian food is actually delightful, having been made from the hind or a pig’s thigh, often wrapped around a breadstick or melon when served. This dish is a crowd favourite, popularly served among parties and casual gatherings.
Prosciutto can also be used in pasta dishes or other meat stuffing. The most famous is the parma ham, which is developed for up to 24 months in a salting and air-drying process.
This dish started out as a peasant’s meal for servants and was made from leftovers. Once the masters completed their meals, servants would collect the unfinished leftovers and boil the ingredients until the bread fell apart and eventually disappeared into a thick soup. Nowadays, the bread soup contains vegetables such as onions, celery, carrots, potatoes and cabbage. It’s a common delicacy in Tuscany.
Bottarga is a form of fish roe commonly made from tuna, swordfish and grey mullet. Much like the truffles, this food is thinly sliced over a dish. The traditional Italian food dish began its origins in the Sicily and Sardinia region, but spread out into Tuscany and the Southern Italian cuisine.
Similar to pizza, focaccia is soft flatbread. However, it’s lighter than pizza and looks more like bread. The preparation, which entails baking with a coat of olive oil and salt, is effortless. You can try making it with different herbs, onions, green olives, or a personal favourite, harvested wine grapes commonly known as Schiacciata.
When you think of Italy, you imagine its beautiful sites and landscapes, exquisite wine, exciting traditions, national holidays and the traditional delicacies that make you keep going back for more. However, there is another side to this beautiful nation: food. Italian cooking is a highly esteemed art that has been preserved and passed down from one generation to the next.
Traditional Italian food dishes are among the most authentic, rich and diverse cuisine you can ever find, with a single meal featuring up to 10 courses. So, the next time you are near an Italian restaurant, take the time to indulge in these classic mouth-watering delicacies.
Are you looking for a romantic restaurant Toronto?
When you wish to pamper that special someone in your life, nothing beats a lavish Italian fare in a romantic setting, with soft music to stir your souls. Blu Ristorante has all the ingredients to make a first date, valentines day or anniversary dinner truly unforgettable.
Whether you are looking to impress your date or remind your wife of 20 years that you are still that romantic guy from college, we can make it possible. Blu has been recognized as one of the top romantic restaurants in Toronto and voted by customers as the go-to place for special events like:
This is the time to celebrate the love and bond the two of you share. Make her feel special on this day, relive those old memories, and take the opportunity to thank her for making each day worth living.
Blu Ristorante offers the perfect ambiance coupled with great food to make wedding anniversary celebrations stay etched in your hearts forever. There cannot be a better way to sweep your partner off her feet and make her fall in love with you once again!
Have you been waiting for this special day to pop the question or slip the ring on her finger? Special moments deserve a special setting and Blu Ristorante sets the perfect stage for you. As one of the more romantic restaurants in Toronto, we try to make this day memorable for lovers looking for a place to treat their valentine in style.
First dates can make or break the relationship so it’s important to choose the right outfit, place, and time. When it comes to dinner dates, Blu Ristorante offers the perfect romantic restaurant setting to impress your date. Book a table on the weekends to enjoy LIVE music with great modern Italian cuisine.
While we cannot guarantee what happens after dinner, your date is sure to love your choice of Toronto romantic restaurants with an unforgettable evening at Blu.