Traditionally, Italian meals are crammed with courses. Sitting down at an Italian table, you might be served an antipasto, a primo and a secondo, plus a formaggio and a frutta, along with a contorno and a dolce. The cuisine in Italy varies depending on the different regions, but some classics have grown to transcend those boundaries, although regional flavor is still certainly a factor. Can you recognize your favorite dishes?
This soup is typically tomato-based with either beef or chicken stock. You might find anything from pasta to potatoes and beans or barley floating around in there, along with a wide assortment of vegetables.
The ingredients found in a good old-fashioned minestrone will vary greatly, simply because the soup is typically filled with whatever fresh local produce is currently in season. Potential ingredients -- apart from pasta, potatoes, beans and barley -- could include vegetables such as zucchini, spinach, cabbage, carrots, celery, onions, cauliflower, asparagus and peas. You might also detect hints of garlic, parsley, basil, chives or ground pepper.
This bread is traditionally grill-charred with olive oil and garlic, and it may be topped with other goodies like tomatoes and basil as well.
Bruschetta is commonly served topped with tomatoes and basil, but it may include any number of tasty extras such as onions, mushrooms, mozzarella or parmesan cheese.
If you're eating an authentic slice of this pizza, you're biting into San Marzano tomatoes and buffalo mozzarella cheese.
Pizza Neapoletana -- or Neapolitan pizza as it's known in the United States -- is only authentic if it has San Marzano tomatoes and buffalo mozzarella cheese. Pizzerias have to be certified before they can claim to be making the real thing as of early 2010.
This rice dish is infused with saffron threads and can include beef marrow among other ingredients.
Risotto alla Milanese is the one we're looking for here. The definitive taste of saffron should be evident in every bite of Risotto alla Milanese, although you may also detect flavors from ingredients such as beef marrow, onion and parmesan.
This staple dish is made by combining ground corn and water with a dash of salt, often in a ratio of 2 quarts (2 liters) of water per every 1 pound (0.5 kilogram) of coarsely ground corn meal.
When making polenta, that's the typical ratio, although sometimes the situation might call for a slightly different consistency.
This simple salad features ripe tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, basil, olive oil and a pinch of salt to taste.
However you choose to arrange it, insalata Caprese consists of mozzarella and tomatoes drizzled in olive oil and garnished with basil leaves. There are a few variations, but that's the standard.
This dish contains ribbon-shaped pasta smothered in lots of creamy sauce.
Butter, cream and cheese are typically blended together to make the sauce that accompanies the pasta in fettuccine Alfredo. Other ingredients can serve as substitutes, however, and some spices may be added.
This hearty meat sauce usually contains ground beef, veal or pork, along with vegetables like onions, garlic, carrots, celery and tomato paste.
Ragu alla Bolognese is your standard meat sauce. It often includes all those ingredients mentioned, plus spices, olive oil, cooking wine, milk, butter and a bit of broth.
This after-dinner treat starts with a ladyfingers and also often includes mascarpone, espresso and brandy.
This is tiramisu, of course. Meaning "pick me up" in Italian, this dessert typically contains ingredients such as mascarpone, espresso, eggs, sugar, cocoa and some type of liquor like brandy, amaretto or rum.
This desert comes in a fried shell that's commonly filled with ricotta cheese which has been blended with ingredients like chocolate and powdered sugar.
Cannoli consist of fried shells stuffed with a mixture of ingredients such as ricotta cheese, chocolate and powdered sugar. They might also contain various other ingredients such as candied oranges or chopped pistachios.
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