Top 5 Italian dishes

A culinary trip around Italy, travelling from North to South of the country tasting and preparing the 5 most famous dishes.

copyright: iz4aksRisotto allo zafferano

The saffron rice is a typical dish of Italian culinary tradition, and is often confused with the “risotto alla milanese” that has small but significant differences, such as the absence of wine and the addition of beef marrow.
In northern Italy the saffron risotto is definitely the most popular and preferred by young and gourmets since it is easy to prepare, tasty, light and colorful.

Broth 1 liter / Butter 125 gr. / Onions 1/Grana Padano cheese 150 gr / 350 gr arborio rice / white wine 1 cup / Saffron: 1 packet

To prepare the risotto with saffron begin by chopping the onion, then melt over low heat 80 grams of butter make sure it does not fry. Add the finely chopped onion and let it fry, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon.

Add the rice and fry using the butter, then turn up the heat and pour the rice in first with the wine, let it evaporate, and then add 2 ladles of hot broth. Now mix and when this is almost absorbed, add more 2 scoops. This operation must be repeated until the rice is cooked.

Halfway through cooking, melt the saffron in a little broth and pour it into the rice mixing as well.

Once the rice has reached the desired texture, it should be removed from the heat and then mixed with the Parmesan cheese and the remaining butter. Before serving, it is best to leave the saffron risotto to rest for a moment, so that it can get flavored. Sprinkle the saffron risotto on to decorate serving dishes.

PestoCopyright: balhisay

10 bunches fresh basil / a tablespoon of pecorino or parmesan cheese 4 tablespoons / a handful of pine nuts / oil / garlic (one clove not too big)/ salt.

Let’s start with an observation: the ingredients for the pesto, as well as many other condiments should be dosed according to your own tastes so if you love garlic (and either you are single or want to spite your girl/boyfriend) abound with it.

If you prefer the flavor of basil or cheese instead, or if you have a delicate stomach, limit the garlic.

The first step is washing the basil (without crushing the leaves) and allow it to dry on a dish towel. When it is dry, insert the basil leaves, a bit of salt (it is essential in order not to tarnish the basil!), pine nuts and garlic in a blender and add a little olive oil to make the blended sauce. Add the pecorino (or parmesan) and blend again.

For those of you who want to have the satisfaction of trying to prepare the pesto in a mortar, the stages of the procedure will be the same, but remember that the mixture is a little more “stringy” because obviously the pestle can’t mash  the ingredients as finely as the blade of the blender.

Copyright: metarollLasagne alla Bolognese
For the Bolognese sauce


Meat broth 250 ml / Butter 50 gr / Beef 250 gr minced beef / pork meat chopped (thigh) 250 gr/1Carota/1Cipolle/Latte 1 glass / Extra virgin olive oil 4 cucchiai/Pancetta100 gr / Pepper / Tomato passed 250 ml / Sale / celery / red wine 1 cup


Start by preparing the broth, just putting a meat dice into boiling water.

Now prepare a mixture made from onion, carrots and celery and fry it in a pan with the olive oil and butter.
Finely chop the bacon and a few minutes later, add it to the pan along with the ground beef, then fry together for a few minutes over high heat.
Add the red wine and let it evaporate while maintaining the fire to heat. At this point, add the tomato sauce, broth, pepper and a pinch of salt and let it cook in the pot partially covered for at least 2 hours, stirring occasionally and adding broth and finally the remaining milk.

While your sauce is cooking, prepare the Bechamel:

Butter: 100 g / Flour: 100 g / Milk: 1 liter / Nutmeg / Sale
To prepare the bechamel, put the butter in a saucepan, let it melt and add the flour and cook  for a few minutes, stirring constantly and avoiding make it stick. At this point, remove the pan from the heat and add the hot milk to the mixture as well with a wooden spoon. Put the saucepan on the fire then, cook over low heat until the sauce begins to boil and add a pinch of salt and a pinch of nutmeg. Cover the pan with a lid and simmer the sauce for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

As soon as the sauce is ready, preheat the oven to 160 degrees and begin to assemble your lasagna: butter a rectangular baking dish, spread a couple of layers of lasagna and meat sauce then cover with a few tablespoons of sauce. Then cover with plenty of bechamel and a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese. Cover with more lasagna and proceed in the same way to achieve the second layer. Form more layers depending on the baking pan and until exhausting all the ingredients. In a saucepan, mix the sauce with a little béchamel and finish your lasagna with a thin and light with the mixture (music).

Finally, sprinkle your lasagna with plenty of Parmesan cheese and bake for at least 50-60 minutes, checking every now and then. The  pasta will be ready when it has taken a beautiful complexion and a golden crust. Once ready, remove from the oven and let the lasagna cool for 10 minutes, then cut into the pan and serve while still hot.

Amatriciana Sauce  copyright: milky.way

Ingredients: 100 g of bacon very thin (in the absence substitute bacon) 100 g of tomato pulp, 50 g of grated pecorino or parmesan cheese, a little onion, red chili pepper, olive oil, salt .


Fry the finely chopped onion and chili pepper in a little oil.

Add the bacon cut into pieces, and after a few minutes add the chopped tomatoes and season with salt if necessary. Season the pasta and sprinkle with cheese.

Some rights reserved:  Renée S.Orecchiette alle cime di rapa

Orecchiette with turnip greens also called “recchitelle” or “dragged”, are one of the most representative dishes of Puglia, especially in the province of Bari;


Anchovies: 6 fillets in oil/2 garlic cloves/Turnip greens (already cleaned) 600 gr/oil 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil/chili 1 fresh hot/salt/orecchiette: 400 g


Take the tops of already cleaned turnips(trimming it to remove the large leaves or wasted, the hardest parts of the stem, taking precisely the more tender parts), cut into pieces, and wash well under cold running water. Slice the pepper into rings.
Boil salted water in a saucepan, throw in the broccoli, drain and keep aside the cooking water which you will need to boil orecchiette. Meanwhile, in a pan, put the oil to fry two cloves of garlic, crushed (or sliced), anchovy fillets chopped and crushed red pepper.
When the garlic is golden and the anchovy fillets mushy (do not fry for too long, it might become bitter) combined with the well-drained broccoli and sauté it for a few minutes. Then boil the orecchiette in the same water used to cook the broccoli.
Drain the orecchiette when they are ready and add to the sauce in the pan, sauté for a few seconds adding a little cooking water if they become too dry, then serve immediately.

Main picture: hotelrealfini

Pictures: by markhillary; balhisay; metaroll ;milky.wayRenée S.

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