Looking for ways to impress a special someone on a first date? Want to dig deeper into your Italian heritage? Here are the basics for preparing or enjoying a delicious and traditional Italian dinner.
“Mangia che ti passa”
“Eat and you will feel better”
History of Italian Cuisine
With centuries-old history, the Roman Empire had a widespread economy across the entire world (known then). This enabled the Romans to import food from conquered territories and distant cultures.
Pasta, bread, and wine have been made on Italian territory even 3000 BC. Far later, in the 18th, century potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, and sugar were first introduced to inhabitants of Italian territories. This inspired them even more, improving their already delicious pasta and risotto recipes.
As a country, Italy was united in the 19th century, but the cuisine has a much longer history, spreading its roots in times of ancient pearls of wisdom and powerful conquerors.
“A tavola non si invecchia”
“At the table, one doesn’t age”
Typical Italian Dinner
Even though today this food course is usually found in celebrations and big gatherings, it is still considered as the typical and classical way to eat your Italian dinner. The list may be long, but after your last bite, you won’t regret a thing. In fact, you will be urging for more. So enjoy this authentic course while it lasts:
•Aperitivo – The first part of an Italian dinner, the aperitivo serves as a brief intro the whole course. Usually consists out of olives, crisps, and nuts. These are accompanied by light drinks such as spritz, gingerino or vermouth. In large gatherings, people stand and socialize during the aperitivo.
•Antipasto – This is when you really begin to eat. Antipasto consists of light snacks, but heavier than aperitivo. Cooks usually make large plates with gently cut salami, bruschetta, panini, vegetables, cold salmon and cocktail prawns. You can combine these elements and make vegetable & cheese bruschetta with mortadella pieces on top.
•Primo – The first part of the heavier courses is primo. The options for this part are enormous since pasta, risotto, soup, and even lasagna are all considered as primo courses. Start to wonder how Italians are always in great shape? The primo should suit the secondi and along with the other dishes, should create an authentic, delicious and healthy dinner.
•Secondo – The culmination of the Italian dinner is the secondo, but this can vary since, in different parts of Italy, either the primo or secondo is more cherished. This part of the Italian dinner is reserved for meats: chicken, lobster, pork, fish and every other meat you can think of.
•Contorno – The contorno is served along with the secondo. It is a side dish, usually made from raw or cooked vegetables. Professional cooks spend hours planning the ideal combination for secondo & contorno.
•Insalata – Always with salt and pepper, presenting a refreshing salad right after the secondi is a must. You should also consider the contorno since you don’t want to repeat the same vegetables for both dishes. Insalata has a more refreshing tone and is usually made from leafy green vegetables and olive oil.
•Fromaggi E Frutta – When you finish the salad, you start thinking of dessert, but no! Italians added another dish in this rich compilation – fromaggi e frutta, meaning cheese and fruit is found on every Italian table. The type of fruits and cheese vary in different regions and depend on the current season.
•Dolce – Personally my favorite part, Dolce means dessert. And Italians are amazing when it comes to satisfying a sweet tooth. From tiramisu to blueberry pies, choose your perfect dessert and share it with your guests, right before their cup of coffee.
•Café & Digestivo – Last but not least are the drinks. Either coffee or alcohol, sometimes both, you can put a cherry on the top of a rich Italian meal with light and refreshing drinks. Alcohol works great on a full stomach, so remember to purchase more wine bottles before your digestivo.
ABOUT OMBRETTA CUCINA + VINO
Ombretta Cucina + Vino is an Italian restaurant in Mississauga with rustic and modern decor located in the heart of Port Credit, Mississauga boasting a sizeable selection of apperitivos, wine, cocktails, and digestivos. Call us today at 905-271-2017 to reserve your table!