Italian meals are seen as a time to spend with family and friends. During holidays, family feasts can last for hours. Traditionally, meals in Italy contain several courses:
- Antipasto (hot or cold appetizer)
- Primo (first course, usually a more filling dish such as risotto or pasta)
- Secondo (second course, the main dish, typically fish or meat)
- Contorno (side dish of vegetables or salad)
- Formaggio e frutta (cheese and fruit) and/or dolce (sweet dessert, such as cakes or cookies)
Today, the traditional Italian menu is mainly served during special events and holidays. A typical everyday meal includes only the first and second course, a side dish or dessert, and coffee.
Recipe: Pizza dough
500 gr flour
20-25 gr fresh yeast
2-4 table spoons of olive oil
Warm water (2,5 dl about half weight of the flour)
Put the yeast in a cup of warm water. You can add a coffee spoon of sugar to help the yeast.
After a few minutes add the yeast, salt and the rest of the water to the flour,. Mix all together and work it for a few minutes. You can add the olive oil or you can add it later when you work again the dough. The dough should be quite sticky. Cover it with a humid cloth. Let it stand for 2 – 2and a half hours in a warm place. The dough must double in volume.
Add the flour (and olive oil if you haven’t added it yet) till the dough is elastic but not sticky.
Divide the dough into small parts( the measure should be like a fist) and leave them on a floured board. Cover them with a humid cloth and let them stand for another hour.
Each dough ball is for one pizza. Roll it very thin and dress it with tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese and basil or oregano, salt, olive oil and…..
Recipe: Chestnut Flour Cake
400 gr chestnut flour
100 gr raisins
50 gr pine-nuts
pinch of salt
(when the chestnut flour is very good in quality you don’t need to add sugar, because it is naturally sweet, however you can add a couple of table spoons of sugar).
Add half a litre of water to the flour and a pinch of salt. Add 2 table spoons of olive oil.
Mix the flour and the water very well and let it stand for half an hour until the batter is less liquid, thicker but without clots.
Grease a baking pan with olive oil and pour the batter. Add thin slices of orange peel. Sprinkle with rosemary leaves, pine-nuts and a couple of of olive oil spoons. Bake in hot oven for about 40 minutes.
Recipe: Tirami su
500 gr mascarpone
5 eggs (3 yolk eggs + 3 white eggs)
5 table spoons of sugar
Lady fingers biscuits
(Pavesini or Savoiardi: airy cookies)
Whip the yolks and the sugar till they become white and then add mascarpone. Whip the white eggs till they are very thick. Mix the two creams and pour some into a baking pan. Cover with biscuits quickly dipped into coffee.
Pour the cream over the biscuits and continue till the pan is full.
Spread the bitter cocoa all over. Cover with a film and put in the fridge for 2-3 hours.
10 lemon peel
2 lemon juice
30 lemon leaves
800 grams sugar
1 litre of water
1 litre of alcohol 90°
Peel the skin of the lemons (without the white part) and put it in alcohol for 2 weeks with the lemon leaves. It has to be left in a dark room and has to be mixed every 2-3 days.
After 2 weeks mix the sugar, the water and the juice and add them to the alcohol (with peels and leaves) for about 24 hours. After 24 hours filter it and bottle it. The Limoncello is ready after a month.
Recipe: Salted farro cake
300 gr. farro
50 gr. grated parmesan cheese
Boil farro in abundant salted water for 20 minutes.
Then drain and add ricotta and parmesan cheesea pinch of nutmeg , the chopped parsley, eggs and salt to taste.
Stir well and pour into a baking tin previously buttered or oiled.
Bake at about 170° C for 30-40 minutes, until the surface is golden brown.
It can be enjoyed either warm or cold.
Recipe: Lella’s almond biscuits
400 gr. flour
150 gr. almonds
250 gr. sugar
a drop of fruit liqueur (or Marsala)
1 sachet of Cream of Tartar or 1 livel coffeespoon of baking soda
30 gr butter
Put all the ingredients into a bowl than add the liqueur that is important to give the right consistency.
Work the mixture for a while till it turns out soft but not sticky. Then shape the mixture into 4 small French baguettes and lay them on a buttered baking tin.
For a better result brush the loaves with a whisked egg before baking, so they can become brighter.
Bake approximately at 180° C for about half an hour, till the loaves are golden brown.
Take the loaves out of the oven and leave them to get cold for about 10 minutes, then cut them into slices of approximately 2 cm. Then bake them again into biscuits.