Italian cuisine is very regionalized and extremely refined. Olive oil and balsamic vinegar are always present and their styles of coffee are internationally famous. Wine is an essential component of meals–Italy is the largest exporter and consumer of wines. Rather than making elaborate dishes, Italian food is all about enhancing the high-quality ingredients they are made from while keeping things simple. Meals are broken down into multiple courses: aperitivo, antipasto, primo, secondo, contorno, formaggia e frutta, dolce, caffe and digestive. Italian cuisine classics include:
Sides: ragu alla bolognese, ravioli, prosciutti, cheeses (Parmigiano-Reggiano, ricotta, mozzarella, castelmagno, fontina), pesto, focaccia, risotto, polenta.
Main Dishes: pizza, pastas (penne, maccheroni, tortellini,spaghetti, rigatoni, linguine, fusilli, orecchiette and lasagna), cotechino, salami, finocchiona, Pollo alla cacciatora, ossobuco.
Desserts: cannoli, tiramisu, gelato, anisette, biscotti, strucoli.
Beverages: coffees (espresso, caffè macchiato, ristretto, cappuccino, caffè latte, latte macchiato and caffè corretto), wines (chianti, grappa, asti, frascati, gavi, prosecco, orvieto, pino grigio, soave, verdicchio, amarone, barbaresco, barolo and lambrusco.)
ITALIAN CUISINE COOKBOOKS
Marcella Hazan. Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking.
Often referred to as the Julia Child of Italian Cooking, Hazan is a foundational text for preparing Italian food. She is credited with introducing Italian cuisine to America. The book offers detailed insights into ingredients, cooking techniques and preparation.
The Silver Spoon Kitchen. The Silver Spoon New Edition.
The quintessential, best-selling Italian cookbook contains over 2000 authentic Italian recipes. The cookbook is a compendium of traditional recipes from Italian chefs divided into sections covering sauces, marinades, antipasti, appetizers and pizzas, first courses, eggs, vegetables, fish and shellfish, meat, poultry, game, cheese and desserts.
The Italian Academy of Cuisine. La Cucina: The Regional Cooking of Italy.
Compiled by The Italian Academy of Cuisine to preserve traditional Italian cuisine, this cookbook is the result of seven thousand associates who researched and documented over 2000 classic recipes from every region of Italy.
Paul Bertolli. Cooking by Hand.
Bertolli shares his personal thoughts on Italian cooking through this collection of essays and 140 recipes that delve into the philosophy behind the food.