Sunday, October 21, 2012

Alice Reads (or Eats): The Cornerstones of Italian Cuisine

It's really weird. All of a sudden I developed an intense love for Italian food and I don't even know half the names of the ingredients that make Italian food so yummy. I went and bought three Italian libri di cucina (cookbooks) at Borders (all for 50% discount, so that made me a super happy girl) and indulged myself in the new knowledge. I started off with the super readable SKINNY ITALIAN by Teresa Giudice. I'm into Chapter Two of the book now, and it talks about Italian-Italian (authentic) food (yes, not those American-Italian heart-attack-on-the-plate variety). Here's a long, long list...

  • Pasta
  • Pizza (thin crust, rustic)
  • Ravioli
  • Lasagna
  • Salami
  • Prosciutto
  • Osso Buco
  • Pancetta
  • Minestrone
  • Ciabatta
  • Panino
  • Focaccia
  • Mozarella
  • Provolone
  • Parmesan
  • Asiago
  • Fontina
  • Mascarpone
  • Gnocchi
  • Orzo
  • Polenta
  • Risotto
  • Simple Green Salad
  • Panzanella Salad
  • Oil and Vinegar Dressing
  • Olive Oil
  • Pesto
  • Marinara
  • Biscotti
  • Gelato
  • Granita
  • Panna Cotta
  • Cannoli
  • Tiramisu
  • Zabaglione
  • San Pellegrino
  • Chianti
  • Sambuca
  • Grappa
  • Cappuccino
  • Espresso

I also love her parting words of the chapter.
Authentic Italian food is a lot like an Italian woman: it's beautiful, it has great proportions, it's sexy, vibrant, and colorful, and it smells wonderful. Both Italian food and a good Italian woman will fill the entire house with love.

So how does one as clueless as me know what's the real deal? Here's how: just by looking at a plate will give you a good idea, the author says.
There will be roughly the same amount of vegetables, meat and pasta. The sauce will be proportionate to the pasta or meat, and it will be part of the meal, not a sloppy afterthought. If you find yourself faced with mountains of pasta drowning in a creamy sauce that is congealing because it's so fatty, with sad, soggy vegetables suffocating under the sauce and oil spilling over the edge of the plate, then you've got yourself a faux and fatty Italian meal.

On to the next chapter on OLIVE OIL! See you later. A dopo.