What is the difference between pasta arrabiata and pasta agliata? Are mozzarella and burrata the same? Is Pomodoro, potato or pomegranate? Is antipasti a variety of pasta? Isn’t ice-cream and gelato the same? These are some of the names on the menu that have bewildered us for long whenever we have tried to order Italian food from a fine-dine restaurant.
The problem with these fancy restaurants is that their menu is so complex that you cannot distinguish prosciutto — a raw smoked ham, from pecorino, which is a low-yielding white wine from Italy’s Marche region. As it goes, language acts as a major barrier when we are ordering food from other cuisines. This often leads to either failed food experiments, wherein we are totally clueless about the food we are ordering, or we end up ordering the same old pizza and pasta.
But worry not dear friends as we feel your pain. So, here’s a list of some Italian dishes that you should know about before ordering food from an Italian restaurant:
1) Arancini: ‘Arancini‘ comes from the Italian word ‘aracia‘ which means ‘orange’. Arancini is an Italian dish which consists of fried rice balls with meat, tomato or mozzarella filling. It is served as an appetizer or antipasto. The main ingredient of the dish is rice, which is known as Riso in Italian.
2) Bruschetta: It is a toasted Italian bread which is served with a combination of olive oil, tomatoes, garlic and seasonal vegetables or raw pork. It is served as an antipasto. The main ingredient used here is a tomato which is known as Pomodoro.
3) Ravioli: It is a traditional Italian dish which consists of a dumpling, composed of a filling that is made with ricotta and spinach. It is served with either broth or with pasta sauce. Spinach is the main ingredient here, here’s what it is called.
4) Lasagna: It is served as secondi or main course. It consists of lasagna sheets that are baked with meat or vegetables and sauce. Interestingly, its recipe was first recorded in the 14th century. Now you know, every time you eat lasagna, you are eating a piece of history!
5) Tiramisu: It’s an Italian dessert or dolci which consists of layers of sponge cake soaked in coffee and layered with mascarpone cheese. It is topped with cocoa powder and served with fresh berries.
6) Ricotta: It’s a classic Italian cheese or formaggio which is made from sheep or goat’s milk. It’s used in popular Italian dishes like pizza, lasagna, and calzones.
7) Gnocchi: It is generally eaten as the primo or the first-course meal like soup and polenta. It consists of small dumplings made from wheat flour, potato, and semolina. It is eaten with a sauce or with broth. The main ingredient used in this dish is potato and here’s what it is called.
8) Vino Cotto: It literally means ‘cooked wine’. It comes from Central Italy’s Marche and Abruzzo regions. It is made by heating and reducing the local variety of grapes in a copper vessel and then fermenting them. It’s also called Sapa.
9) Panna Cotta: It’s a dolci which literally means ‘cooked cream’. It is made by thickening sweetened cream with gelatin and aromatising it with vanilla or coffee. It is often served with caramel syrup. The main ingredient here is coffee.
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