ITALIAN COOKING AND RECIPES   Authentic And Traditional  Italian Food Recipes
VEGETABLES AND PULSES ARTICHOKES Globe    artichokes    are    cultivated    throughout    Italy    and    grow    wild    on Sicily.   Naples   is   credited   with   the   first   cultivation   and,   nowadays,   they are   regarded   as   a   Roman   speciality,   being   served   twice   deep-fried. Tiny   plants   may   be   eaten   raw   with   olive   oil   and   fresh   herbs.   Larger artichokes are boiled and served with a dressing or stuffed. AUBERGINES (EGGPLANTS) Originally   regarded   with   great   suspicion,   aubergines   (eggplants)   are now   integral   to   Italian   cooking,   especially   in   the   southern   part   of   the country.   They   may   be   cooked   in   a   wide   of   variety   of   ways   and   add depth of flavour and colour to many dishes. BEANS Haricot     (navy),     cannellini,     borlotti,     black-eyed     (known     as     fagioli coll'occhio),   broad   beans,chick   peas   and   other   pulses   are   eaten   all over    Italy,    although    Tuscans    are    renowned    for    being    bean-eaters. They    are    incorporated    in    substantial    stews    and    soups    or    may    be served as a simple side dish dressed with a little olive oil. COURGETTE'S  (ZUCCHINI) Widely     used     in     northern     Italian     cooking,     courgettes     (zucchini) combine    well    with    many    other    typically    Mediterranean    ingredients, such   as   tomatoes   and   aubergines   (eggplants).   They   may   be   served cold   as   an   antipasto,   stuffed   or   deep-fried.   They   are   often   sold   with their flowers still attached. FENNEL Also   known   as   Florence   fennel,   this   aniseed-   flavoured   bulb   is   one   the most   important   ingredients   in   Italian   cooking.   It   is   served   raw   with   a vinaigrette   or   with   cheese   at   the   end   of   a   meal   and   may   be   cooked   in a variety of ways, including sauteing, braising and baking. ONIONS Sweet   red onions are delicious raw and add colour to cooked dishes. White     onions   have   a   stronger   flavour   and   yellow   onions   are   mild- tasting.   Baby   white   onions   are   traditionally   cooked   in   a   sour-sweet sauce — agrodolce — and usually served as an antipasto. (BELL) PEPPERS Capsicums   or   sweet   (bell)   peppers   are   invariably   sun-ripened   in   Italy and,   while   they   do   not   always   have   the   uniform   shape   of   greenhouse- grown     (bell)     peppers,     they     have     a     depth     of     flavour     that     is unsurpassed.    They    are    served    raw    or    roasted    as    an    antipasto    and roasted   or   stuffed   as   a   hot   dish.   They   are   classically   partnered   with anchovies, aubergines (eggplants), capers, olives or tomatoes. RADICCHIO This   bitter-tasting,   red-leafed   member   of   the   chicory   family   is   nearly always   cooked   in   Italy,   rather   than   being   included   in   salads.   It   may   be grilled   (broiled)   or   stuffed   and   baked   and   is   quite   often   used   as   a pizza topping. ROCKET Now   enjoying   a   rediscovered   popularity   in   Britain   and   America,   rocket has   never   lost   favour   in   Italy,   where   it   grows   wild.   It   is   also   cultivated, but   the   home-grown   variety   has   a   better   flavour.   It   is   usually   served in   salads   or   on   its   own   with   a   dressing   of   balsamic   vinegar   and   olive oil.    It    is    sometimes    cooked    like    spinach,    but    tends    to    lose    its pungency. SPINACH Spinach   and   its   close   relatives   Swiss   chard   and   spinach   beet   are   used in     a     wide     variety     of     Italian     dishes.     Anything     described     as     alla fiorentina   is   likely   to   contain   it.   Young   leaves   are   eaten   raw   in   salads and    spinach    is    typically    paired    with    ricotta    in    pasta    and    pancake fillings. It is also classically combined with eggs, fish, chicken and veal. SQUASH A     huge     variety     of     squashes,     from     tiny     butternuts     to     massive pumpkins,   are   used   in   northern   Italian   cooking   for   both   savoury   and sweet    dishes,    including    soups,    risottos,    stuffed    pasta    and    dessert tarts. Deep-fried pumpkin flowers in batter are also served. TOMATOES Many    different    varieties    of    tomatoes    have    been    grown    throughout Italy   since   the   sixteenth   century   and   it   is   difficult   to   imagine   an   Italian kitchen without them. Plum   tomatoes   are   probably   the   most   familiar   and   they   have   a   firm texture   that   is   less   watery   than   other   varieties,   which   makes   them ideal for cooking. They   may   be   served   raw,   typically   partnering   mozzarella   cheese   and fresh   basil   in   an   insalata   tricolore,   and   are   used   to   add   both   colour and    flavour    to    a    range    of    dishes.    Italian    tomatoes    are    always    sun ripened and have a truly unmistakable flavour. Sun-dried    tomatoes    have    an    intense    flavour    and    are    sold    dry    in packets or preserved in oil. These   days,   commercially   produced   sun-dried   tomatoes   have,   in   fact, been    air-dried    by    machine,    although    sometimes    it    is    possible    to obtain   the   genuine   article.   If   they   are   to   be   used   for   cooking,   they should be soaked in hot water first. PASSATA Is   a   pulp   made   from   sieved   tomatoes.   It   has   a   strong   flavour   and   may be   fine   or   coarse.   It   is   useful   for   soups   and   sauces   and   can   be   used   as substitute   for   fresh   tomatoes   in   slow-cooked   dishes.   Tomato   puree   is a   paste   made   from   tomatoes   which   has   a   less   intense   flavour   than passata. GARLIC Garlic   has   a   long   history   in   Italian   cuisine,   but   its   use   is   not   as   abundant as   Italian   restaurants   outside   of   Italy   might   lead   you   to   believe.   In   Italy, mostly   in   the   South,   garlic   is   used   but   always   in   moderation.   It   adds   flavor to   a   dish,   but   it   is   mostly   subtle   and   well   integrated   with   the   rest   of   the ingredients,   never   overpowering   the   dish.   It   can   be   used   raw,   sauteed   (in sauces),   or   cooked   for   a   long   time   in   stews,   where   it   becomes   sweet   and mild.   Garlic   is   also   used   as   a   preservative   and   flavoring   in   many   cured meats.
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