Continuing our Italian culinary journey, we search for even more iconic Italian dishes thatare favorites both in Italy and around the world. In part one we found out about the ubiquitous pizza and its varieties, we discovered Italian caviar andate an original lasagna without a plethora of tomatoes. In this blog we startwith possibly Italy’s most famous rice dish.
Italians are not as you may think huge rice eaters, pasta or polenta come first in the pecking order of starches. Considering the Italians are the largest European producers of rice it is quite surprising that they do not consume huge amounts themselves. The northern areas of Piedmont and Lombardy are the main ricegrowing regions.
Risotto is asclassical as rice dishes come, and to make an authentic risotto needs constant attention and a few key ingredients apart from the compulsory Carnerolior Arborio rice. These two rice varieties are chosen for their high content of starch which makes the risotto so creamy.
The other major ingredient is the stock, good risotto has to have a great stock which is only poured into the dish a ladle full at a time, so the grains of rice absorb itand swell. The most famous risotto is Risotto alla Milanese, which is flavored with saffron. The story goes that the workers building Milan Cathedral used saffron to color the glass, so they tried adding it to their rice and sothe dish was born.
There are many different types of pasta and sauces that come out of Italy that it would be impossible to name every combination. So we decided to pick one classic sauce that can go with several types of pasta, both fresh or dried. The sauce is rich and creamy but quite simple to make, take some eggs, pecorino cheese and cured ham, season well with black pepper and add to spaghetti.
There are many different versions and imitations of the classic sauce, some like to thicken it with extra cream and use bacon instead of the authentic guanciale. But to be honest the result isquite different and does not taste the same as the classically prepared carbonara sauce. Carbonara hails from Rome but even in the capital you can find different versions of this classic Italian dish.
We complete our culinary tour of Italy in the north of the country and travel to Milan and Lombardy to sample one of the best examples of Italian cuisine that there is. Ossobuco means hollow bone, and the dish is called this as thebone marrow imparts such a divine flavor.
Basically it is a veal shank that is cooked very slowly until the meat falls away from the bone, the shank is immersed in a broth of unctuous meat stock, vegetables and white wine. Often eaten on top of a simple risotto and flavored with a piquant gremolata containing lemon, garlic and parsley.
Ossobuco is a hearty dish that will coat your ribs to keep the winter chill away, but often many restaurants do not have it on their menus as it takes at least three hours to prepare. It is fitting that we end our culinary journey across Italy with arustic dish, after all this forms the majority of Italian cuisine.