It’s important to be aware that when referring to Italian food, the meaning behind Italian cuisine has greater depth than the ways it seems to simply cover all regions of Italy. In reality, Italian cooking differs significantly between region to region, and often the staple and preference of one area may not coincide with the staple and preference of another. It’s important to examine and understand the distinct cooking styles between different regions in Italy to recognize that Italian cooking is much more diverse than it is assumed to be.
Their character could differ as a result of distance, such as in the case of Venice and Naples. However, even without the distance, regions situated right next to each other could have significant changes in style as seen in Bologna and Florence. Food from Bologna tend to be more extravagant and costly in their nature, mixing flavours and textures that contrast one another. For instance, their dish style could feature veal stuffed in ham, covered with cheese, cooked with butter with truffles lavishly thrown on top. On the other hand, food from Florence are done simpler, with extra attention to the ways that the food flavours stay balanced. For instance, their dish style could include steak being grilled over wood fire, adorn with nothing but olive oil and pepper. The character of their food could differ as a result of their regional positioning as well, such as whether they are located in the mountain or sea. Surrounding Italy’s Alps include places like Venice, Lombardy and Piedmont. This region tends to focus on dairy product, cooking with butter and using staples like rice and cornmeal to make dishes like risotto and polenta. Below the regions of Tuscany, olive oil begins to take over butter as the source of cooking fat. Here, the soft-wheat style of home made pasta also began to dominant the hard-wheat style of the macaroni in the south. Ultimately, Italian cuisine cannot be simply distinguished by a single cuisine. Their dishes vary from region to region in their ingredients and style. It is important to be aware of the difference before moving on to some of the classic recipe one might find in different parts of Italy.
Below are three Italian Recipe, popular in central Italy, the region surrounding Rome, and in Genoa.
|Panzanella – Bread Salad|
Central Italy most traditional salad is based on the innovation of the poor in their use of bread and water. Bread that is stale is softened by water and mixed in with a variety of other ingredients found in salad. Marinated into the juices of the salad, the bread will off a grain-like texture.
Serves 10 People
3 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1 French Bread cut into cubes
1 Teaspoon Kosher Salt
2 Large Tomato cut into cubes
1 Cucumber sliced 1/2 inch thick
1 Red Bell Pepper cut into cubes
1/2 Red onion thinly sliced
20 Large Basil Leaves
3 Tablespoon Capers
1 Teaspoon minced Garlic
1/2 Teaspoon Dijon Mustard
3 Tablespoon Vinegar
1/2 Cup Olive Oil
1/2 Teaspoon Kosher Salt
1/4 Teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
1. Heat the oil in a large pan. cooking in low heat, add the bread and salt and toss regularly for 10 minutes. Add oil when needed.
2. Whisk all the ingredients found in the vinaigrette list.
3. Mix the tomatoes, cucumber, red/yellow pepper, red onion, basil and caper in a bowl. Add the bread and toss with the vinaigrette. Season with salt and pepper and allow it to sit for 1 1/2 hours.
|Shrimp Fried in Leavened Batter|
The yeast batter presented in this recipe is particularly popular among the cooks from Rome down to Palermo. It is often used for frying small shellfish and vegetables.
Serves 4 people
1 Pound small unshelled Shrimp
1/4 Teaspoon Active Dry Yeast, dissolved in 1 Cup lukewarm Water
1 Cup Flour
Vegetable Oil to fry
- Shell Shrimp and wash in cold water
2. Break two eggs in bowl. Add a pinch of salt and mix with fork. Add yeast and flour and continue to beat with a fork.
3. Turn heat to high and add oil in a pan.
4. Place the shrimp in the batter and flip once it turns golden on one side.
5. Move the fried shrimp onto a cooling rack.
6. Stir batter and repeat process.
|Baked Bluefish Fillets|
Genoese dish often rely on one product to be the main focus, with various ‘supporting’ food that remains the same. The supporting food include potatoes, garlic, olive oil and parsley while the focus could be fish, shrimp, meat, etc.
Serve 6 People
1 1/2 pounds boiling Potatoes.
1/2 cup extra virgin Olive Oil
1 Tablespoon chopped garlic
1/4 cup chopped parsley
Ground Black Pepper
2 Bluefish Fillets, one pound each
1. Preheat oven 450 degrees.
2. Peel, slice and wash the potatoes. Pat to dry.
3. Place the potatoes on the baking dish and toss in half the olive oil, half the garlic, half the parsley, pinches of salt and black pepper. Toss to coat.
4. Roast for 12-15 minutes.
5. Put the fish over the potatoes and mix the rest of the olive oil, garlic, parsley and pour over the fish evenly.
6. After ten minutes, take the dish out and baste the fish with the oil of the dish.
7. Allow dish to settle and serve.
Hazan, M. (2010). Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking. New York: Alfred A Knoff. Inc.