Breakfast is called Prima Colazione in Italian
This is a salad and can be omitted if the contorno was leafy vegetables. I forgot to take a photo of our salad but here are a few photos of salads from our trip to Italy.
This is a side dish served alongside the second course and is usually a vegetable dish. I served peas with crispy prosciutto (like bacon).
This is the dessert course. I served a Chocolate Cake. I've also included a photo of the tiramisu I made for my niece's 15th birthday.
Photos coming soon once we try the recipes
Handsdown our favourite Italian treat is gelato. This frozen desert is very much like ice cream but because it contains less air and more flavouring it is denser and richer and simply delightful. See if you can find a local restuarant that serves gelato to give it a try. Or simply serve ice cream!
Caffe and Digestivo:
Caffe is usually a strong espresso coffee (no milk) served in small cups after the end of the meal. The digestivo (also called ammazzacaffe) is a concluding drink with herbal or fruit notes to ease digestion (usually alcoholic). s the dessert course.
This crispy toast like cracker is also a great snack. This is where we found a recipe: http://breadandcompanatico.com/2012/03/25/home-baked-fette-biscottate-or-zwieback/
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We sampled this delicious treat in Venice but I cannot find a recipe or any information online about it at all. The name in the photo is clearly Stroppolo. You can make your own version by using pizza dough and stuffing with tomato sauce, olives and cheese and then baking (like a calzone) or simply top a bun with your favourite pizza ingredients and melt the cheese.
NOTE: If anyone knows more about Stoppplo please email us!
A typical Italian lunch has a first course (is primo), a second-course (il secondo) with a side (il contorno) and usually a fruit or dessert. Most shops close for pausa pranzo (lunch break) between 1 and 3pm.
However, school children often have packed lunchesand commuters and other workers tend to eat a quick meal isntead.
For my North American family we switched things up and went for something more like the busy worker's quick take away meal.
Formaggi e frutta:
This is a cheese and fruit course that uses whatever is typical of the region. I served gorgonzola and pears.
This no-bake dessert is an Italian classic. Give it a try:
Risotto is basically cheesy rice and is delicious. It uses arborio rice which is easy to find at your grocery store. Try this recipe: https://www.thespruceeats.com/risotto-recipe-for-beginners-996008
Breakfast usually consists of a caffè latte (hot milk with coffee) or coffee with bread or rolls, butter and jam.
Fette biscottate (often called Zwieback elsewhere) and cookies are commonly eaten at breakfast time, too.
Children drink caffè d'orzo (a hot drink make with barley powder and milk), hot chocolate, plain milk, or hot milk with very little coffee.
Granita in combination with a yeast pastry called brioche is a common breakfast in summer time.
A typical Italian supper usually consists of a primo (first course) or a soup, and sometimes a secondo (second-course).
I planned an Italian Dinner Party for my family during Social Distancing in 2020 for something fun and we followed the Pranzo Meal order for a formal meal.
Formaggi e frutta
Typically, in Italy, becuase the mid-day meal is the largest, supper (called Cena) is smaller.
The aperitivo opens the meal (an appetizer) and is usually enjoyed standing up. This is for little foods (nuts, olives, crisps, cheese...) and a drink. I served olives and for my youngest Italian soda. You could serve ginger beer or gingerale (similar to gingerino) or Orangina.
Merenda is similar to breakfast so a hot milk drink with some bread and honey would be great to serve. Other foods enjoyed at this time are yogurt, gelato, fruit salad or fruit, nuts, biscuits and sweets.
The primo is simply the first course. This is a heavier dish and is hot, but is generally lighter than the second course. Pasta, risotto, seadfood or vegetarian dishes, polenta or gnocchi are served here. I served risotto which is not as difficult as you might think to make!
Slice and slightly toast up some baguettes and top with this delicious tomato delight. Try this recipe to make your own bruschetta: https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/54165/balsamic-bruschetta/?printview
The mid-afternoon snack is called merenda and is usually eaten after school.
A panini is a sandwich made with Italian bread (ciabatta or michetta usually) and typically served warm by pressing it. Usually it is filled with cheese, ham, mortadella, salami. Make your own by layering your favourite sandwich fillings in a baguette or two slices of focaccia if you can't find italian bread. If you have a sandwich press use that, or you can heat up a frying pan or grill pan and cook the sandwich that way. Pressing down with your spatula or a lid from a pot.
You don't have to make an elaborate meal to enjoy Italian food. Choose any of the above courses and make a dish together to try as a family.
Or simply serve family favourites like pizza or pasta. Here are some photos from our trip to italy.
These Pistachio Cookies were so delicious. I have searched for a recipe to make something similar and have yet to find anything quite like them. Here is a Pistachio Cookie to try though: https://sallysbakingaddiction.com/pistachio-cookies/
NOTE: Please email us if you know more about this lovely green sweet!
Dessert or Treat:
This is the second course and usually includes different meats or fish depending on the area of Italy. I made a chicken dish similar to primavera called Chicken Pizzaiola and I will definitely make it again as the family loved it.
Italian Food is so delicious! Hope you will enjoy learning about this cuisine.
Chicken in a tomato sauce served with melted mozzarella was a winner in my household! https://www.italianrecipebook.com/wprm_print/2597
Granita Is a semi-frozen dessert made from sugar, water and various flavorings. Here's the recipe we found for a coffee flavoured one: https://www.italymagazine.com/recipe/granita-di-caffe-coffee-granita
Here is a brioche recipe:
The antipasto is usually served cold and is a heavier starter but is lighter than the first course. I made a meat tray with prosciutto and served buffalo mozzarella with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar and basil. I also served bruschetta made with tomatoes from our garden.
Lunch is called Pranzo in Italian is regarded as the most important meal of the day.