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Italian Dinner Foods

Italian Dinner Foods with Meal Courses

Italian dinner foods have a great impact on Italians. Dinner in Italy does not satisfy only the appetite, but it gives a chance to enjoy the company with family or friends.

Italians do not take food only for accretion. They love to enjoy food. Italian food is famous in the world for its flavor, taste, and creativity.

Lidia Bastianich, Italian-Croatian celebrity chef says, “Italian food is seasonal. It is simple. It is nutritionally sound. It is flavorful. It is colorful.” Italians focus on seasonal and fresh ingredients.

The common foods in Italy are pasta, vegetables, fish, meat, cheese, and olive oil. Cheese, pasta, and wine are very important in Italian meals.

Italian Meals

Italians take three main meals in a day. These are- Colazione(Breakfast), Pranzo(Lunch), Cena(Dinner). They also have a mid-afternoon snack known as Merenda.

Colazione or breakfast, the beginning meal of the day is lighter. Pranzo or lunch is a heavier meal. It usually consists of four or five courses. Cena is same as Pranzo. Typical Cena or dinner consists of four to five courses.

Cena or Italian Dinner

Dinner is really important to Italians as it is the time for a family gathering, especially on work days. So, dinner plays a crucial role in an Italian’s life.

Usually, in Italy, dinner lasts for two hours. The common dinner time in Italy is between 8.00 pm to 10 pm. If you sit for your dinner at 8.30 pm, your dinner will last until 10.30 pm.

Typical Dinner Courses in Italy

Typical Italian dinner consists of four to five courses. They usually have four to five courses for their regular dinner.  Ten courses are normal in a festival dinner in Italy. However, let us see the typical dinner courses first.

Antipasto

The word “Antipasto” means before the meal. It is considered as the starter of the dinner. It is lighter than the first course, “Primo.” Salumi, cheeses, cold salmon, marinated vegetables or fish are served for this course.[1]

Antipasto
Antipasto

Primo

Primo is the appetizer of the meal. Primo starts delicious foods for dinner. It is not the main course. Hot and heavier food than antipasto is served. Meat dishes are not served as primo. Pasta, soup, broth, lasagna, crespelle, risotto are served for primo.[2]

Primo
Primo

Secondo

The main or second course in Italy is known as “Il Secondo.” It consists of various types of meat and fish items. The foods of this course depend on region. Turkey, sausage, pork, beef, steak are cooked in many ways. You may also have shrimp, lobster, or any other sea foods for this course.[3]

Secondo
Secondo

Contorno

The side dish “Contorno’’ is served with the main course Secondo. It is mainly a vegetable dish. Raw or cooked vegetables are served. The dish is not served on the same plate of the Secondo. It is served in a separate dish.[4]

Contorno
Contorno

Dolce

Typical Italian dinner ends with dolce or dessert. Sweet dishes like tiramisu, cake, pie, panna cotta are the examples. However, the dishes for dolce also depend on the region. Rum baba and zeppole are popular in Naples. The people of Sicily have cassata and cannoli as desserts.[5]

Dolce
Dolce

So, these are the typical dinner courses in Italy. Italians usually take these for their regular dinner. They may also take shorter courses. These courses are Primo, Secondo with Contorno, and desserts.

Italian Formal/Festival Dinner Courses

Italians’ formal meal structure is longer than the typical dinner courses. Here are these:

Aperitivo

This course opens the meal. The meal starts with a bubbly beverage like champaign, wine, prosecco.  It also consists of dishes of olives, nuts or cheese. It helps to give time to have a healthy appetite.

Aperitivo
Aperitivo

Antipasto follows the Aperitivo. Festival Antipasto consists of the same dishes like the typical dinner course. Primo, Secondo, and Contorno come one after another.

Insalata

Insalata is a salad dish. The course depends how the Contorno is served. You have noticed Contorno is a side dish with raw or cooked vegetables. If Contorno consists of many leafy vegetables insalata is omitted.

Insalta
Insalta

Formaggi E Frutta

This course contains local cheese and seasonal fruits.

Formaggi e frutta
Formaggi e frutta

Dolce

In festival dinner, Dolce comes after Formaggi E Frutta. The foods are the same as the foods of typical Dolce.

Dolce
Dolce

Coffee

 In the end, Coffee is served. Espresso coffee without milk and sugar is served after the dolce.

Coffee
Coffee

Digestivo

The formal dinner ends with digestivo. Grappa (grape-based pomace brandy), amaro or other fruit/ herbal drinks are served.

Digestivo
Digestivo

Formal Italian dinner consists of these courses. These are amazing to have the taste. So, do not miss to have these if you get the chance.

Best Italian Dinner Foods

There are so many world-famous dishes in Italy. The list of Italian dishes is wider. Here are some of these.

Pizza

The savory dish is world famous. There are two types of Pizza- Neopolitan-Style Pizza and Roman Style Pizza. Neopolitan –Style Pizza or Pizza Margherita Pizza was originated from the city, Naples. Roman-Style Pizza is originated from Rome, and now it is widespread.

Roman Style Pizza
Roman Style Pizza
Neopolitan Style Pizza
Neopolitan Style Pizza

Caprese Salad with Pesto Sauce

It’s a dish of Antipasto. The main ingredients of the dish are juicy tomatoes and mozzarella cheese. The salad is topped with pesto sauce.

Caprese Salad with Pesto Sauce
Caprese Salad with Pesto Sauce

Bruschetta

The antipasto dish is prepared with grilled bread. The bread is topped with veggies, rubbed garlic, and tomato mix.

Bruschetta
Bruschetta

Pasta Carbonara

The dish originated from Rome is a pasta dish. Egg, hard cheese, guanciale are the main ingredients of the dish. You can use bacon instead of guanciale.

Pasta Carbonara
Pasta Carbonara

Mushroom Risotto

Mushroom and risotto are the main ingredients of this mouth-watering recipe. This quick recipe is really easy to cook.

Mushroom Risotto
Mushroom Risotto

Lasagana

The famous Italian dish is made with pasta noodle. The cooked pasta is baked with meat, vegetables, cheese, and sauce.

Lasgana
Lasgana

Fiorentina Steak

The world known recipe is made with Chianina beef. It is a grilled recipe.

 Fiorentina Steak
Fiorentina Steak

Ossubuco

The recipe is made with veal shank. Cross-cut veal shank is braised with vegetables, white wine, and broth. It is cooked slowly until it is melted in broth, white wine, and vegetables.

Ossubuco
Ossubuco

Saltimbocca

It is another luscious dish made with a piece of veal. Prosciutto(dry-cured ham) and herb leaves are other ingredients of this recipe. The meat is sautéed in a pan topped with prosciutto and herb leaves and joined with a toothpick.

Saltimbocca
Saltimbocca

Tiramisu

The dessert recipe is made with ladyfingers dipped in coffee. It is layered with egg, mascarpone cheese, and sugar and flavored with cocoa.

 Tiramisu
Tiramisu

Pistachio Panna Cotta

This dessert is prepared with cream, milk, and gelatin. Boiled and cold pistachio is grinded with cream and sugar and placed in the freezer for 20 to 25 minutes.

Pistachio Panna Cotta
Pistachio Panna Cotta

Gelato

You cannot say you have tasted the Italian foods if you do not try the dessert. It is different from ice cream and provides lower fat than any other frozen dessert.[6]

Gelato
Gelato

These dishes not only fulfill your stomach; these will touch your heart. No matter whether you are planning to visit Italy or not, you can try these at your home.

Conclusion

These Italian dinner foods are deeply blended with Italy and its culture. So if you would like to know the country as you must have an idea of these foods. So, do not depend on the writing only, try yourself to explore the food culture of the country.


References:

  1. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Italian_meal_structure
  2. https://medium.com/@justinthrelkeld/the-italian-meal-structure-3f2c272feaf5
  3. https://toscanaslc.com/blog/guide-to-the-traditional-italian-meal-structure/
  4. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Italian_meal_structure
  5. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Italian_meal_structure
  6. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gelato


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