Five Dishes You Should Absolutely Try While in Italy

Everyone will be familiar with the popular Italian cuisine – pasta and pizza – but if you are visiting this beautiful country you should be aware that there is a rich variety of local cuisine to be discovered in the restaurants and cafes of the towns and cities. We have singled out five delicious Italian dishes that you really must try when visiting Italy, and we believe they may amaze you with their diversity

Everyone will be familiar with the popular Italian cuisine – pasta and pizza – but if you are visiting this beautiful country you should be aware that there is a rich variety of local cuisine to be discovered in the restaurants and cafes of the towns and cities. We have singled out five delicious Italian dishes that you really must try when visiting Italy, and we believe they may amaze you with their diversity

Bistecca all Fiorentina – what better way to start than with Florentine Steak, a deceptively delicious yet simple steak dish originating in Tuscany. Bear in mind this is a full size steak, weighing one kilo or more and some restaurants will charge by the weight, often indicate by “Etto” which means in 100 grams  increments. Cooked on a wood fire or “alla griglia”  and seasoned only with sea salt, the luscious juicy steak is usually served primarily on its own, and makes for a quite spectacular dish that steak lovers will relish. You should never ask to be “well done” as it is only served “rare”. If you are in Florence one of the best places to eat this dish is La Spada.

Tortelloni Burro e Salvia – a traditional ricotta and green leaf vegetable stuffed pasta dish, this is butter and sage tortelloni, and is typical of pasta dishes in being simple and yet delectable. The rich taste of the butter and sage sauce combined with the soft texture of the tortelloni makes for an excellent lunch; picture yourself in a pretty town square eating this at a traditional trattoria, and you have a picture of Italy you can’t ignore. Tortelloni are typical in Bologna and you should try them at Anna Maria.

Tortellini in Brodo di Cappone – Tortellini are small egg pasta parcels stuffed with pork and cheese. Then cooked in the capon broth which is fattened up rooster traditionally used in dishes in Emilia Romagna cuisine, makes for a quite spectacular meal in this fine traditional dish. The rich broth is a beautiful contrast to the meat stuffed egg pasta, and the result is a rustic style meal that you simply must try in one of the many fine osteria across the country. Don’t forget to ask for the recipe so you can make it when you get back home! The origin of the dish is contended between the cities of Bologna and Modena. If you happen to be there you can try the caffe concerto in Modena.

Orecchiette con le cime di rapa – Another of the many dishes that grew from peasant traditions, this is a simple yet very tasty pasta dish utilising orecchiette pasta (literally little ears) and turnip tops. Depending on where you are you will find local variations including the use of anchovies, the inevitable garlic, sometimes shallots and many other details, but the basic flavour of the pasta and the turnips is simply unbeatable. Typical of the south of Italy you can enjoy orecchiette the picturesque village of Alberobello. Try La Perla dei trulli.

Zuppa Inglese – we couldn’t leave without recommending a dessert, despite the translation – English Soup! – this really is a quite delicious pudding that may be somewhat familiar. It has its roots in the traditional English trifle, enhanced by local ingredients that give it its own unique flavours, and is truly spectacular and enjoyable.

There are few countries in which cuisine plays as important a part in the culture as Italy, and it is displayed perfectly in the above dishes. You will likely have sampled Italian meals at home, but we can assure you there is no comparison between those and the home cooked version, no matter how authentic it may have been. You simply can’t go to Italy and not sample their amazing food, so make sure you take the time to seek out the above examples, and the many other fine dishes you will find available.

Cooking with Gousto – Mozzarella Panzanella Salad

Cooking with Gousto – Mozzarella Panzanella Salad

Mozzarella Panzanella Salad from Gousto – this lovely Italian salad is quick to prepare and full of tasty, healthy ingredients. It bursts with flavours and can be treated as a started or a light dinner.

Gousto Mozzarella Panzanella Salad

It sounds amazing, doesn’t it?

Ok, so let’s start with the ingredients list:

Cooking with Gousto – Ingredients for Mozzarella Panzanella Salad

  • 2 ciabattas
  • 1 red onion
  • 250g cherry tomatoes
  • 2tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1tbsp dried oregano
  • 30g black olives
  • 10g fresh basil
  • 30g capers
  • 1 mozzarella ball
  • 1tbsp sugar
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • Olive oil

These ingredients will make enough food to feed 2 people (or more if you treat it as a starter).

Method:

Boil a full kettle of water.

Preheat the grill to high.

Mozzarella Panzanella Salad - onion preparation

Peel and finely chop the red onion. Place the onion pieces in a sieve and pour all the boiling water over them (ideally do it over the sink or over large bowl). Place the blanched onions into a bowl and add the red wine vinegar and sugar and mix well. Leave it to soak for a while.

Mozzarella Panzanella Salad - bread praparation

Tear the ciabattas into bite size pieces (or alternatively cut them into nice cubes) and place on a baking tray. Drizzle it with around 2tbs of olive oil; salt and pepper to taste. Place under the grill for 10 minutes or until crispy and golden brown.

Mozzarella Panzanella Salad in the making

Chop the cherry tomatoes in half.

Chop the black olives.

Place the tomatoes, olives, capers and oregano in a salad bowl.

Tear the basil and add into your salad bowl.

Drain the mozzarella and tear into bite size chunks (or again cut it nicely with a sharp knife) and add to the salad bowl.

Drain the onion, discard the marinade and add to the salad bowl.

By this time your ciabatta should be nice and ready. Remove it from the oven / grill and add to your salad.

Mix well and season with salt and fresh ground pepper.

Serve and enjoy!

Cooking with Gousto - Mozzarella Panzanella Salad

What’s Cooking – Spaghetti with Eggs and Sausage

Out take on Spaghetti with Eggs and Sausage
Out take on Spaghetti with Eggs and Sausage

This recipe is our twist on the famous Spaghetti with Eggs and Bacon. We had a lovely Italian sausage and it seemed like the perfect dish to put it in.

So, let’s start with your ingredients list:

  • 300g good quality sausage – we used Lucanica with Chilli from Delicatezza
  • 400g spaghetti (fresh is best)
  • 3 eggs (free range of course)
  • 75g Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 gloves of garlic, squashed slightly
  • Salt and pepper to taste

IngredientsAnd now step by step instructions on how to make it 🙂

Take a large saucepan, fill it with water and bring it to boil – this is where your spaghetti will be cooked, once the water is boiling. Add some salt and a splash of olive oil, the salt to enhance the flavour of the spaghetti and the olive oil to stop it clumping together.

Preparing your sausages

Prepare your sausages by cutting them into a 1cm cube sized shapes, or thick slices if you prefer would work I guess, depending on the original shape and size of your sausage.

Cooking your sausages

In a frying pan heat the olive oil and start frying your sausages and add the garlic, fry nice and slowly, until they have a healthy brown glow. Remove and discard the garlic. Keep your sausages on a very low heat until you are ready for them.

Spaghetti

By this time your water should be boiling away nicely, so it is time to start cooking your spaghetti. Pop the spaghetti in and let it soften and bend and slip into the water itself, don’t be standing there pushing it if you’re using dried spaghetti, the fresh stuff is already bendy so just pop it in.

While your pasta is cooking it is time to mix all other ingredients.

Mixing up all other ingredients

Warm a large mixing bowl and break the eggs into it. Beat them slightly. Add in the Parmesan cheese and stir it in. Add salt and pepper. Stir till you have porridge like consistency.

Mixing pasta with eggs

As soon as your pasta is done, drain it quickly and add your egg mix into it (do not worry about uncooked eggs, heat from your spaghetti will cook them for you). Toss the contents of your bowl until the egg mixture has covered all the spaghetti evenly.

Final stepsTime to serve

Add your sausage and again toss until evenly distributed and you are done!

Serve with some salad leaves drizzled with your favourite dressing and maybe some chewy garlic doughballs. Enjoy!

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Review – Delicatezza – Real Italian Food in London

Delicatezza LogoLondon – a busy city full of busy people and inevitably at any given moment a lot of them are hungry people, who are spoilt for choice when it comes to food.  1000’s of restaurants, cafés, and takeaways have built up businesses to meet this unending tide of need. However it is not always easy to find the right place to buy your food that specifically caters to our evolved palettes desire… so many of us use the trial and error method. We go, we buy… oh yes we like, we go back and buy more…or we don’t like, we move on to the next choice or even the next place, which is more than likely next door or just around the corner… The choices are seemingly endless and the only real limit for many of us is the contents of our wallet… but who amongst us likes to spend more than necessary for a great meal? When choosing a take-away firstly we need to decide what type of cuisine we fancy and then find a supplier of that cuisine that suits our budget… and ideally we would love for our food to be tasty, healthy and prepared with some if not total love.

Well we have found out about a company that ticked all our boxes, and after sampling their wears we need to tell you about them so you can enjoy as well.

Delicatezza offers a lovely selection of Italian Food. You can pick from:

A Freshly Made section that offers a range of handmade filled pasta, fresh egg pasta, pre-prepared meals, fresh sauces and award-winning cannoli, mozzarellas and sausages.

or

A Pantry section featuring a hand-picked selection of premium delicatessen items, from a superlative truffle range through to a bakery, a wide choice of antipasti and a fantastic set of drinks to suit any occasion.

I was offered the chance to try them out… just looking at their website I become so hungry my saliva glands were in overdrive, so I simply couldn’t refuse. I was provided with a £30 credit which gave me a fantastic selection of products. I picked:

My order screen shot1x Caprino (avg. 140g)

1x Lucanica (avg. 300g) – Chilli

1x Modena Balsamic Vinegar (250ml)

1x Lasagne Sheets (500g) – 500g

1x Girasoli – Braised Beef / 250g

1x Pizzaiola – 250g

1x Napoli (avg. 400g) – Mint, Sundried Tomato & Scamorza

This is a lot of food for £30.

I ordered more ingredients than ready meals as we like cooking, but there is an extensive choice of Fresh Meals, including vegetarian options.

When your food is ordered you can pick your delivery time slot. Unfortunately for some at this moment in time delivery is only offered in the London area (I really hope this will change someday soon).

My order from Delicatezza
My order from Delicatezza

A lot of us eat with our eyes first and the guys at Delicatezza must for sure know this. Their food looks delicious, their packaging although not fussy is very effective at conveying the sense of quality of the product inside, it is inviting and it really looks the part. Every pack is carefully labelled so you know exactly what is inside. As you would expect you can study all the ingredients used if you so wish, all best before dates and cooking instructions are clearly stated.

All clearly labeled, so you know what you eat when to eat it by and how to cook it
All clearly labeled, so you know
what you eat
when to eat it by
and how to cook it

We ate our Girasoli with Pizzaiola as they came… after cooking of course… and prepared meals using the rest of ingredients.

Girasoli with Pizzaiola Sauce
Girasoli with Pizzaiola Sauce

We cooked some lasagne, spaghetti with egg and sausage (we used Lucanica Chilli for this one) and a traditional English mash, beans and sausage using Mint, Sundried Tomato & Scamorza Napoli.

Our mash, beans and sausage
Our mash, beans and sausage
Spaghetti with Egg and Lucanica Chilli Sausage
Spaghetti with Egg and Lucanica Chilli Sausage

Did we like the food?

Yes, we did like it however… it was not what we expected, it was a big surprise. This is not actually a criticism; let me explain… We like spicy food and we do buy chilly flavoured foods such as sausages from many different sources… and although they are often marked as spicy they are never really that hot… Lucanica is! Really, it is HOT. I guess you would think I should have expect that when ordering a chilli flavour, but taking our past experiences into account I was prepare to get something maybe with a mild to moderate heat… but oh, no… Lucanica Chilli is hot, really hot! Same with Mint, Sundried Tomato & Scamorza Napoli – you can taste all the things which were used to make it, especially the mint. So if / when you will be placing your order with Delicatezza it is worth remembering that the food will taste as stated on the box! This is such an amazingly nice change; you can finally enjoy your favourite flavours. No more do you have to convince yourself that what you are eating tastes like what the label says, that it’s really is that particular flavour, even though you can’t distinguish that flavour whilst it’s in your mouth. Delicatezza’s food lets you read the label and then hits you with a fully loaded express train straight from flavour town, you will be left in no doubt what so ever what you are eating, I bet even on a blind test you would know without any doubt or question.

Would we buy it again?

Yes, we would definitely order some more; especially given that there is so much more we haven’t tried yet.

So, if you are one of those hungry Londoners out there is search of a nice Italian meal look no further…  Delicatezza is there for you!

Give ‘em a try Gov.

.

I received a £30 credit to shop with Delicatezza for the purpose of this review. All opinions are honest and my own.