Food has traditionally been a fundamental pillar of Italian social life. Infused with ancient accents adapted from the Romans, the Greeks and the Etruscans, modern Italian cooking is a national culinary pastime characterized by endless examples of unique local flair. How much do you know about the cuisine commonly served at Italian supper tables?
What was the most influential crop incorporated into Italian cuisine after Columbus returned from the New World?
Potatoes, and to an even larger extent, corn, both played pivotal roles in the evolution of the cuisine of Italy. But the introduction of the tomato revolutionized Italian cooking like no other New World crop.
When were tomatoes introduced to Italian cooking?
Cooking with tomatoes took a while to really catch hold in Europe. It wasn't until the early 1800s that tomatoes started popping up in Italian pots.
What is a key factor that distinguishes Italian cooking from that of other counties?
Italian cuisine is renowned for the wide range of ingredients that could end up included in any given dish. Those ingredients are frequently chosen based on what's fresh at the market. Personal culinary creativity is also warmly embraced.
What's the most popular type of eatery in Italy?
Pizzerias are probably the most common type of eatery in Italy. Originally pioneered in Naples, the popularity of pizza swept northward across the country and the world in the years since.
Which people are frequently credited with first delivering dried pasta as we know it today to the Italian countryside?
The initial introduction of pasta into Italian cuisine isn't established for certain, but many think it was first brought to Italy by Arab invaders.
How many pounds of pasta do Italians eat on average each year?
Italians eat approximately 60 pounds (27 kilograms) of pasta on average each year. That beats out Americans who only eat about 20 pounds (9 kilograms) annually.
How many different varieties of dried pasta are made in Italy?
Pasta comes in about 350 different shapes and sizes in Italy, although incorporating regional variations would probably push the number higher.
Why does pasta sometimes come in such complex shapes?
Pasta is often highly textured and intricately shaped because that makes it better at holding onto sauces.
What is the primary ingredient of pesto?
Although rosemary and thyme are used frequently in Italian cooking, pesto sauce is traditionally made from fresh basil.
Which oil is most common in Italian cuisine?
Olive oil is by far the most commonly used oil in Italian cuisine, especially in the form of extra virgin olive oil. The quality of extra virgin olive oil varies depending on a number of factors, including the point when the olives are harvested to the method used for processing them.
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