Traditionally, Italian meals are crammed with courses. Sitting down at an Italian table, you might be served an antipasto, a primo and a secondo, plus a formaggio and a frutta, along with a contorno and a dolce. The cuisine in Italy varies depending on the different regions, but some classics have grown to transcend those boundaries, although regional flavor is still certainly a factor. Can you recognize your favorite dishes?
The ingredients found in a good old-fashioned minestrone will vary greatly, simply because the soup is typically filled with whatever fresh local produce is currently in season. Potential ingredients -- apart from pasta, potatoes, beans and barley -- could include vegetables such as zucchini, spinach, cabbage, carrots, celery, onions, cauliflower, asparagus and peas. You might also detect hints of garlic, parsley, basil, chives or ground pepper.
Bruschetta is commonly served topped with tomatoes and basil, but it may include any number of tasty extras such as onions, mushrooms, mozzarella or parmesan cheese.
Pizza Neapoletana -- or Neapolitan pizza as it's known in the United States -- is only authentic if it has San Marzano tomatoes and buffalo mozzarella cheese. Pizzerias have to be certified before they can claim to be making the real thing as of early 2010.
Risotto alla Milanese is the one we're looking for here. The definitive taste of saffron should be evident in every bite of Risotto alla Milanese, although you may also detect flavors from ingredients such as beef marrow, onion and parmesan.
When making polenta, that's the typical ratio, although sometimes the situation might call for a slightly different consistency.
However you choose to arrange it, insalata Caprese consists of mozzarella and tomatoes drizzled in olive oil and garnished with basil leaves. There are a few variations, but that's the standard.
Butter, cream and cheese are typically blended together to make the sauce that accompanies the pasta in fettuccine Alfredo. Other ingredients can serve as substitutes, however, and some spices may be added.
Ragu alla Bolognese is your standard meat sauce. It often includes all those ingredients mentioned, plus spices, olive oil, cooking wine, milk, butter and a bit of broth.
This is tiramisu, of course. Meaning "pick me up" in Italian, this dessert typically contains ingredients such as mascarpone, espresso, eggs, sugar, cocoa and some type of liquor like brandy, amaretto or rum.
Cannoli consist of fried shells stuffed with a mixture of ingredients such as ricotta cheese, chocolate and powdered sugar. They might also contain various other ingredients such as candied oranges or chopped pistachios.