Nobody does food like the Italians, whether its pasta, pizza, desserts or risotto. And the best thing is that at its heart, Italian cooking is wonderfully simple.
No matter how fancy a recipe is, it always has a simple base to work off. This makes it easy for anyone to try at home.
Here are some of the classic Italian dishes which you can try for yourself at home, without needing a Michelin star.
Carbonara is a true Italian classic. But the version that you’ve tried in Italian restaurants around the UK is probably not true carbonara.
According to Bella Cosa, a top Italian restaurant in Canary Wharf, many British restaurants often add unnecessary ingredients such as cream, onions, mushrooms and most bizarrely to Italians, chicken.
Instead, a proper Italian carbonara should simply contain pancetta, eggs, hard cheese and black pepper.
Italian Pizza Margherita
We can’t make a list of Italian dishes without including a pizza and the Margherita is the classic basis that every other pizza comes from.
For the base, pour your flour into a large bowl and stir in yeast and salt. Then make a well and pour in 200ml of warm water and olive oil, before bringing together until you’ve got a soft dough which you can knead until smooth and set aside.
For the sauce, mix up passata, basil and crushed garlic, which you can leave to stand while you roll out the dough into your base (this should be left thin as it will rise in the oven).
Finally, smooth the sauce over the base and scatter with cheese and tomato and bake at 220˚C for about eight to ten minutes.
Pesto is a classic Italian sauce which is super easy to mix with pasta for a quick and simple meal.
Start out by reducing garlic and pine nuts into a cream using a pestle and mortar before adding dried basil leaves and salt.
A mixture of Parmigiano-Reggiano and Pecorino cheese is then added, with a dash of extra-virgin olive oil, then stored in a jar or other air-tight container to be left for up to a week, ready to be added to your choice of pasta.
If there’s one Italian dessert that’s more well-known than any others (and super easy to make) it’s tiramisu.
To make it, all you need are some finger biscuits, egg yolks, sugar, coffee, mascarpone cheese and cocoa powder (liqueur and egg whites can also be added).
All you need to do is layers the ingredients up in a bowl or cake tin and leave to chill. Simple as that!
Chocolate and Ricotta Cake
Another simple Italian dessert which is a little less known than tiramisu is an authentic chocolate and ricotta cake.
Best of all, these impressive sponges can be made in under an hour too. All you need to do is whisk up some ricotta and sugar, adding the eggs one by one.
Sift flour and baking powder and stir well, before finally stirring in butter, vanilla and chopped chocolate. Pour into a cake tin and bake for about 30 minutes, leave to cool and you’re done!
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