From Haute Ristorantes to Rustic Trattorias

From Haute Ristorantes to Rustic Trattorias

Americans Embrace Italian Cuisine

When Americans had their first taste of Italian food, it was love at first bite. Whether we had stars in our eyes for those big pizza pies or loved to twirl spaghetti around our forks, we all grew up yearning for our next Italian meal. We discovered that calamari and anchovies are fantastic, and we learned to pronounce and relish dishes such as “gnocchi” and “osso buco.” Fortunately, with the proliferation of Italian restaurants across the country today, we needn’t travel far to satisfy our craving for all things Italian.

Millions of Italian immigrants flocked to the United States in the 19th and early 20th centuries, bringing with them a strong sense of family and a true appreciation for the art of the meal. Some were entrepreneurs with a penchant for cooking, and Italian restaurants began popping up in “Little Italy” neighborhoods in larger cities. These were mostly mom-and-pop operations at first, specializing in rustic Southern Italian fare, including spaghetti and pizza. Slowly but surely, as more non-Italians discovered the satisfaction and romance of the Italian dining experience, elegant ristorantes revealed the more refined aspects of Northern Italian cuisine – delicate veal scaloppini, succulent scallops, creamy risotto, fine wines and incomparable cheeses such as Parmigiano Reggiano (first produced by Benedictine monks) and triple-cream Mascarpone, the muse for tiramisu.

All across our great land, Italian restaurants of every stripe continue to delight the communities in which they operate. Diners enthusiastically devour pizza slices with their bare hands, dip crusty bread into fine olive oil laced with balsamic vinegar, and linger over an antipasti tray while sipping a nice Chianti. They wonder at the plethora of cool shapes those artful pasta makers fashion from a few basic ingredients, and marvel over surprises hidden inside tortellini and ravioli – everything from lobster to cheese laced with prosciutto to savory pumpkin puree. And, they find that there’s always room for gelato.

Read on to learn what’s up with fashionable Italian culinary trendsetters all across Reinhart country. Mangia!


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