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Italian Cuisine | CNN iReport

Italian Cuisine | CNN iReport | Italia Mia | Scoop.it

Italian cuisine is very diverse and interesting, yet strikingly simple. It’s simple in a sense that it often contains only a maximum of eight ingredients. It’s interesting due to its regional diversity, and despite that there are only a few ingredients, is there’s difference in taste and just one dish and tickle your taste buds in many ways.
The dishes, instead of created in culinary schools by chefs and experts, are created in the home, usually by grandmothers and mothers and the recipe passed on from generation to generation. Per region, there are characteristic dishes and flavors, which tell a lot about the country’s history and lifestyle. The traditional Italian meal consist of three to four courses, starting with appetizer, first course (usually pasta, soup, or any hot dish), second or main course (this is where the meat comes in), and dessert, Some meals may have two desserts, first cheese and fruit before the sweet dessert followed by coffee and then digestives or liqueurs.
Pizzas and pastas are very popular Italian dishes, some even being adapted as a fusion of other cuisines. Pizzas alone have various flavors and combinations. The simple cheese pizza can have a few more ingredients on top and it immediately turns into something different. Pasta can be simply tossed with garlic and olive oil or have the robust blend of tomatoes, anchovies, olives, and spices. Pastas also come in various forms, and not just the long stringy ones in spaghetti. There are flat, long pastas, wide pastas, pastas that can be stuffed with meat and vegetables and then topped with sauce. There are bow-shaped pastas, twists, cuts, and more pasta shaped into fun shapes for soups and also fun shapes like animals to appeal to young children.
Aside from popular dishes like pizza and pasta, there are also meats and seafood served in the main course. Fish is most popular during lent, when abstinence from meat must be observed. For dessert, there is the popular tiramisu, a cake made from layering biscuits dipped in coffee or coffee liqueur with a mixture of egg yolks and mascarpone cheese whipped together. Christmas cake also had its origins in Italy.
Espresso had its origins from Italy. It can be served as is in a demitasse cup or can be the base of other coffee drinks such as macchiato or cappuccino. Alcoholic beverages are usually wine, beer, and other liqueurs such as limoncello or grappas.

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An Infographic to Test Your Pasta Knowledge

An Infographic to Test Your Pasta Knowledge | Italia Mia | Scoop.it

Want to test your pasta knowledge? Click on here to see the full-size version. Although you probably won't hang it in your kitchen, is still a great resource for all those funky names and crazy little shapes.

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Carbonara, a new theory for its origins and name

Carbonara, a new theory for its origins and name | Italia Mia | Scoop.it

Premise - Perhaps more than any other recipe in the Italian gastronomic canon, spaghetti alla carbonara and its origins have perplexed and eluded gastronomers for more than five decades.

Most food historians group the currently and popularly accepted theories of the etymon into three groups: the origin of the dish can be ascribed to

  1. Coal miners;
  2. American soldiers who mixed “bacon and eggs” and pasta after occupying Italy in the post-war era...
  3. Ippolito Cavalcanti, the highly influential nineteenth-century Neapolitan cookery book author, whose landmark 1839 Cucina Teorico-Pratica included a recipe for pasta with eggs and cheese...
  4. Theory that points to the restaurant La Carbonara, opened in 1912 in Rome. According to its website, it was launched by “coal seller” Federico Salomone. But the authors of site do not lay claim to the invention of carbonara nor do they address the linguistic affinity (even though they mention that their carbonara was included in a top-ten classification by the Gambero Rosso).

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Carbonara, a new theory of its origin

In the course of my research to date, the earliest description of carbonara that I have identified is found in Eating in Italy; a pocket guide to Italian food and restaurants by Richard Hammond, published by Scribner in 1957.

In it, he includes carbonara...  [read more...]

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Pasta Names and Shapes… Explained!

Pasta Names and Shapes… Explained! | Italia Mia | Scoop.it

Bucatini, spaghetti, tortellini, rigatoni: There are hundreds of kinds of Italian pastas, and each one has its own, special name. That’s pretty confusing… but it’s also fun!

We’ve said many times before that Italian food is regional (in fact, there’s no such thing as “Italian food”). Pasta is a major part of that. Local kinds of pasta in Tuscany differ from those in Rome, Milan, or Puglia.

For us, though, one of the really fun things about Italian pasta—and the names of Italian pastas—are that each pasta name actually means something. Usually, in fact, the name gives away the shape of the pasta itself.

Want proof? Here are just some of our favorite pastas, and what their names mean in Italian!

  • Bucatini: One of the most popular kinds of pasta in Rome, bucatini look like thick spaghetti—but they have a tiny hole in the middle. (Think of a Twizzler!). What does bucatini mean? “Little holes!”. (Buco means hole, while adding an -ino, or -ini for plural, means “small”).
  • Cannelloni: These big tubes of pasta (usually stuffed and popped in the oven) are named after, well, “big tubes.” (Adding -one, or -oni for plural, means “big”).


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