The herbs, veges and flavours of Italy are having a big impact on our culinary cravings this year, but we’re not complaining! In fact, buon appetito! Italian food marries Mediterranean cuisine, creating traditional combinations of quintessential flavour.
Sun-ripened Roma tomatoes lie naked with torn basil leaves or oregano and a generous drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. And our local artisan olive oils are just ‘perfecto’. Moreish white cheeses, such as goats cheese, plumps the typical Italian salad into mouth-filling proportions.
The likes of artichokes, eggplants, cannelloni beans, peppers, chillies and olives are all nourishing flavour bombs for salads, soups and pastas. Italian herbs will Latinise any dish, from pizzas to casseroles – use flat-leafed Italian parsley, oregano, rosemary and sage.
Pasta’s duty is to enrobe and soak up the sauce. Cook it ‘al dente’ – slightly firm to the bite – otherwise it’s a soggy rendition. Wild mushrooms, such as porcini, beguile fungi fans in a decadent autumnal feast. It’s very Italian to include ground walnuts, olive oil, garlic, wine, cream, parmesan with this pasta or risotto dish.
Our locally made Limoncello liqueur is a zingy winner borrowed from Southern Italy and gelaterias are popping up on street corners for icy creaminess. Try an affogato – vanilla ice-cream in a glass, with steamy espresso poured over.
Italians just have that way of making comfort food exciting.