Is it any surprise that people in the USA, Italy and UK consume a whopping combined 4.2 million tonnes of pasta every year? Pasta and Italian dishes overall are a vital part of daily cuisine for millions of us every day.
Your trusted experts at Love Italian Life have taken the time to carefully produce 6 incredible Italian dishes that will make you scream “Mama Mia” that’s good! …
1. Penne all’arrabbiata
This simple yet fantastically famous concoction of penne pasta mixed with tomatoes, red chilli peppers and olive oil gained its popular name due to the Italian word “Arrabbiata” meaning Angry in English which is as a result of the hot chilli taste the peppers give off when eaten.
Our friends at Barilla have come up with this tasty version of the recipe:
Italian Tomato Passata
2 teaspoons Peperoncino
5 tbsps of extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves of garlic
Grated Parmesan Cheese
– Boil a large pan of salted water.
– Mix the peperoncino, garlic and 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil in a pan on a medium heat for a few minutes, then add the tomato passata and simmer for 5 minutes.
– Add some salt.
– Cook Penne pasta in a pan of boiling water and drain in a sieve.
– Mix penne pasta with the tomato passata on a medium heat and stir in olive oil, parmesan cheese and parsley.
– Serve and enjoy before it gets cold! 🙂
The Sicilian speciality of stuffed balls of rice which have an outside coating of fried breadcrumbs were given the name Arancini in the 10th century due to the similarity of looking like little oranges as “Arancia” means Orange in Italian. The combinations of Arancini are never ending with the most popular recipes including tomato sauce, peas, mozzarella and Ragu meat sauce.
Felicity Cloake from the Guardian provides a great recipe on the perfect Arancini here:
(For around 10 medium balls of Arancini)
Ragu Meat and Pesto
500g bread crumbs
800ml vegetable stock
250g arborio rice
½ teaspoon salt
50g parmesan cheese
150g mozzarella cheese
170g plain flour
– Cook your stock in a pan to boiling point then add your rice, saffron and salt and simmer until your stock has been absorbed.
– Add in your parmesan cheese and then put in your fridge to cool down.
– Mix the mozzarella with the rice and with a teaspoon cup a ball into wet palms to create a ball.
– Form a hole in the middle of the ball to insert your choice of filling such as Ragu meat and Pesto – then add extra rice to close the hole in the ball.
– Mix the flour, egg and water to form 175 ml of thick batter and put the breadcrumbs on a plate.
– Gently heat the vegetable oil until breadcrumbs melt on contact and dip the rice ball into the batter and then quickly into the breadcrumbs to fully cover it.
– Cook all your rice balls until they are golden brown and sprinkle with a smidgen of salt while warm to eat.
3. Risotto ai gamberoni
Not to go too much into the delights of cooking Risotto, the list of possibilities that arise from the world famous northern Italian broth of rice dish are endless. Most Risotto dishes will include the careful mix of butter and wine with vegetables, fish and meat. We have decided to go with a tasty Prawn Risotto which is called “Risotto at Gamberoni” in Italian from BBC Good Food:
500g large prawns
1 garlic clove
1 fresh bay leaf
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 chopped onions
350g arborio rice
125ml white wine
1 teaspoon tomato passata
– Boil a large pan of salted water and add prawns, garlic and bay for 3-5 minutes until cooked. Once the prawns have cooled down, remove the shells.
– Add olive oil, butter and the onion to a pan on a low heat as well as a tablespoon of stock.
– Mix in the rice to absorb the oil and then add your wine.
– Continue to stir your pan of stock and rice.
– Add the prawns and tomato puree and reduce the amount of stock you use.
– Mix in some salt and pepper to season the risotto and add the leftover butter and stock to cover the contents then stir and cover for ten minutes.
– Finally mix in the chopped parsley and serve.
Italian food lovers have Emilia Romagna to thank for producing the gastronomic gem that is Passatelli which is fresh pasta made of bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, lemon, eggs and nutmeg in succulent broth of chicken. Our friends at Academia Barilla have a wonderful Passatelli recipe here:
Half lb grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
Half oz butter
7 oz breadcrumbs
8 cups of meat broth
1 ¼ oz flour
– Mix the breadcrumbs, eggs, 150g of Parmigiano cheese, butter, eggs, flour, salt, nutmeg to make a consistent dough.
– Cover this dough with plastic and leave for 20 minutes.
– Boil your chicken stock.
– Use a “Passatelli Iron” which is specifically made to create long finger length strips of your mixture.
– Then add the passatelli to your boiling stock and cook thoroughly.
– Serve the passatelli and stock in bowls along with generous amounts of Parmigiano Reggiano.
5. Spiedini ai frutti di mare
What does ‘Frutti di mare’ actually mean I hear you ask, well it means “Fruit of the Sea” in relation to prawns, seafood, mussels, clams….so pretty much every type of shellfish out there! It is a very popular dish across the vast coastline of Italy which a terrific number of variations to choose from.
The Godfather of Italian cuisine, Antonio Carluccio shares an excellent recipe for Spaghettini con Frutti di Mare:
(For 4 people)
Salt and pepper
1.8kg of fresh mixed seafood including prawns, clams and mussels.
4 tablespoons of olive oil
2 garlic cloves
1 dried red chilli
75ml white wine
2 tablespoons of chopped parsley
– Thoroughly clean the shellfish and empty into a pan of water on a high heat while covering until the shells have opened up – then leave to cool down.
– Remove any fish from their shells and strain the cooking liquid to leave some in their shells as garnish.
– Gently heat up olive oil in a pan and mix with garlic to fry for a couple of minutes. Carefully mix the chilli with the white wine and garlic and pour in the shelled fish and their liquid and drop in your parsley.
– Cook your spaghettini to al dente then combine with some of the sauce then serve with bowls and garnish with your shells to eat to your liking.
6. Spaghetti alle vongole
This fresh summer dish is regarded as the Italian food jewel in the crown when it comes to simplicity and speed of preparation. The genius combination of spaghetti and clams is popular all over Italy especially in the major cities such as Rome.
We have taken the time to share a popular classic recipe from a chef some of you might be familiar with, Jamie Oliver:
1 kg of small clams
400 g spaghetti
10 cherry red tomatoes
250 ml dry white wine
1 small parsley
4 garlic cloves
Extra virgin olive oil
1 dried chillies
– Boil a pan of water and make sure all your cleaned clams are all closed.
– Heat up another plan of water and while you wait slice your parsley and leaves and chop the garlic along with your tomatoes.
– Cook your spaghetti and add salt to get them al dente.
– Just before your pasta is cooked, mix some olive oil into a pan with garlic, parsley and some salt and pepper. Then add your chilli and chopped cherry tomatoes.
– Mix your ingredients and then add in your clams and wine to create a nice consistency while shaking your pan to round off with the lid for 3 minutes to cook and open up all your clams.
– Once your spaghetti has cooked, drain and mix with your clams and add extra virgin olive oil and parsley so that all ingredients are absorbed with each other.
– Serve, Eat and Enjoy!
So, in your humble opinion have these been 6 incredible Italian dishes to make you scream Mama Mia!? Feel free to share this Blog post with the wider Love Italian Life community on Facebook and Twitter today.
About Anna Floriani
Anna writes about everything that makes Italian culture so special. Having lived and worked in Ireland and the UK for many years she is originally from le Marche in Italy while her zest and passion for life comes from raising her young family.