Italians are passionate about good cuisine, and that is reflected in the way they enjoy their meals throughout the day. Our gastronomic customs are very similar to those of Italy, since we share the Mediterranean culture, but a typical italian menu it has very definite characteristics of its own. You know how to accompany your favorite pasta?
A complete Italian menu consists of five main sections: the starters, the first course, the second course, the side dish and the dessert. Although it is not always necessary to comply with all the phases, we will reveal to you below how should you organize your menu if you want to enjoy your pasta dish as if you were in Italy.
As we have already seen, the antipasti are the starters or appetizers with which each meal begins. They are usually small bites with which to whet the appetite and prepare us to enjoy the following dishes, and they are usually served in accordance with the rest of the menu.
If the main or pasta dish consists of meat, it may be a good idea to balance the meal with a fish antipasto, for example with cooked seafood or frutti di mare. In general the most common antipasti are served cold, such as carpaccios, salads or assorted dishes of sausages and local cheeses.
As good Mediterranean cuisine, also in Italy are frequent vegetable-based starters, preferably seasonal. They are usually prepared on the grill with local olive oil, or you can opt for a vegetable soup or with legumes such as minestraespecially during the fall and winter.
Il primo, the first dish
The star of the first course of any good Italian menu worth its salt is, without a doubt, pasta. The huge variety of different pasta and sauces that we find throughout Italy allow us to choose our favorite recipe. Barilla pasta offers us infinite possibilities to bring the best of Italy to our table, and thus make pasta the main protagonist of our menu.
Besides pasta, we can serve as il cousin a plate of Risotto, which may be more appealing in winter, a Soup more forceful or even some gnocchi. This Italian potato-based specialty can be accompanied with one of our favorite Barilla sauces, the tomato sauces such as Basilico Barilla or Pesto allaGenovese Barilla being especially recommended.
Il secondo, the second dish
The second course, or main course, usually consists of a serving of fish or meat. The choice will depend on the season, the region and the tastes of the diner, although there are some specialties that cannot be missing from the menu of the best Italian restaurants.
For example, among meats we can prepare saltimbocca a la romana, ossobuco, scaloppina breaded, vitello tonnato or steak fiorentina. If we prefer to serve fish, grilled swordfish, grilled sea bream and sea bass, sardines or seafood such as mussels or prawns are very popular. Sicily is especially famous for its seafood dishes, while other regions take advantage of river fish such as trout.
Contour or garnish
We have already seen that pasta is reserved to serve as a first course, so it is not common to find it as an accompaniment to meat or fish. Instead, the garnish of the main dish usually consists of simple preparations of vegetables and greens.
Italians prepare grills of typical vegetables of the Mediterranean regions, with a preference for aubergine, zucchini and onion, always with good national olive oil. Mushrooms are another great pick when in season, and you can even serve plain salads as a garnish.
Il dolce, dessert time
The sweet section is the culmination of any good menu, and it could not be less in the case of Italy. exist many different desserts throughout the country, as each region has its specialty. Among the most popular are the gelato or ice cream, the pannacotta, the famous tiramisu or profiteroles.
If the food has been very copious, you can choose a fruit salad or simply a portion of fresh fruit seasonal. Sorbets are another good option, as they are much lighter than ice cream. Cakes or cakes also stand out, which can have nuts, chocolate or fruits, such as cake di noci, the cake di riso or the castagnaccio.
Finally, if you want to complete your typical italian menu, you can serve a digestive liqueur or espresso, along with some small sweets, cookies or biscotti. By following all these steps you will be able to recreate the best Italian cuisine at your table, giving your favorite pasta a truly luxurious accompaniment.
More information | Barilla – Cooking recipes, pasta and prepared sauces Images | Franz Conde, Rowena, Salvadonica, Naotake Murayama, Raffaele Diomede,