Italian Garden, A True Italian Experience
When we think of Italian cuisine pizza and pasta are the first foods that come to mind, but there is so much more to a genuine Italian experience. Foods vary from region to region depending on what is available in that area.
A mountainous region in northern Italy is known for Cacio e Uova, a dish that could be made from a young goat, lamb, or mutton depending what is on hand. It is always cooked in a clay pot and served with sharp cheese and eggs. Pecorino, Caciocavallo and Scamorza are the three cheeses made in that region made from goat or sheep milk that they raise up in the mountains. Pork also plays a big role in the region with roasted suckling pig being a favorite for many summer time festivals. Pasta of course is one of the favorite parts of their cuisine. It is traditionally served with lamb or pork and Ragu sauce with the added heat from Diavolino red peppers. The coastal area of Molise is known for its famous Broddetto made from red mullet. Anchovies, swordfish, mussels and clams and dishes containing them are also loved choices.
A northwest region of Italy is the center of industrial growth, but still has famous foods. Piedmont is best known for its truffle dishes and cream sauces. Unlike many other regions of Italy, Piedmont is not known for pasta; they are know for their antipasti. Grissini, or long thin bread stick measuring about a yard long, are a common part of the main course. Bagna càuda, a dish made from raw vegetables covered in a buttery garlic sauce with anchovies typically starts off the main course. Egg tarts or tartrà piemontese made with truffles are popular appetizers in Piedmont. Many meat-based appetizers are also enjoyed in the region such as Vitello tonnato, veal cooked in vegetable broth and served with tuna flavored mayonnaise as a cold dish; Tonno di coniglio is another meat appetizer that is a very tender marinated rabbit. Although Piedmont is not known for pasta, they do eat it. They prefer pasta called Tajarin, which is made by hand and is also very thin. The Tajarin is simmered in beef broth and topped with a buttery mix of truffles, Grana Padano cheese and nutmeg.
Bordering the sea it has an abundance of fresh seafood, but you can see the influence of the neighboring regions in their recipes. Common to all their recipes is the use of local ingredients: pecorino cheese, olive oil and unsalted bread. Vincisgrassi is a well-known dish of the region boasting ingredients like veal brains, chicken livers, ham and mushrooms with béchamel sauce, lasagna noodles and truffles when available. Minestra di trippa is a popular tripe soup usually served with battuto. Porchetta uses the ever so plentiful seafood supply combined with pork to make yet another unique dish. The Marche region has a variety of meats available from wild fowl and free range poultry, to beef, lamb, pork and rabbit typically being served with a type of egg noodle but may contain cheese and spinach.