When you think of Italian food it’s hard not to bring to mind the famous exports of pizza, pasta, and gelato. But there’s much more to discover about Italian cuisine including its huge regional diversity and seasonal variations.
Italian cooking is all about simple recipes relying on a few high quality ingredients. Often only using between four to eight ingredients in one dish, Italian chefs make the most of fresh seasonal fruit and vegetables and local cheese and delicacies. Central Italian cuisine is dominated by ingredients such as tomatoes, meat, fish, and pecorino cheese. Northern Italy boasts a variety of stuffed pasta, polenta, and risotto dishes. The ubiquitous tomato sauce that is found across the country in dishes ranging from pasta, to pizza, to meatballs, is rich and spicy in the South.
Lunch is traditionally the main meal of the day consisting of several courses, with dinner being a lighter affair. The typical structure of a full Italian meal includes: aperitivo (apéritif), antipasto (hot or cold appetisers), primo (first course, usually pasta, risotto, gnocchi, or soup), secondo (second course, usually meat or fish), contorno (side dish of vegetables or salad), formaggio e frutta (cheese and fruit course), dolce (dessert such as tiramisu), caffè (coffee), and digestivo (liqueurs such as limoncello and sambuca). What a feast!
If you want to experience the delights of Italian cooking for yourself, take a look at this list of talented La Belle Assiette chefs who are passionate about recreating the tastes of Italy in your dining room.
Try Gio’s hand made tortellini, filled with ham and cheese and served with a grana padano cream sauce. Gio loves explaining the backstory to each dish so you’ll learn all about Italian cuisine directly from the chef himself. In the words of one happy customer, “we learned a lot of interesting bits of information that sealed the evening as a foodie’s dream”.
Feast on a fillet of beef wrapped in prosciutto de parma, served with tenderstem broccoli with chilli and garlic, grilled polenta, and chianti jus.
Enjoy a fine carpaccio of beef fillet, with cherry tomato confit, pecorino sardo cheese, and rocket with a truffle dressing.
Pear and gorgonzola risotto topped with walnuts makes a lovely primo in this tantalising menu.
Featuring a green asparagus and porcini mushroom risotto, this menu is sure to delight the tastebuds.
Italians love licorice and if you’re a fan you’ll enjoy this salad of chicory, pear, pecan, liquorice, and truffle.
Enjoy a delicately pan-fried mozzarella wrapped in prosciutto with a pine nut parmesan wafer in this light summer menu.
Seafood fans will love this starter of sardines marinated in lemon and thyme with tomato and ginger marmalade!