The Broad Sphere Of Italian Culinary Influence
from Antipasti to Zuppa Inglese
Who can resist the foods of Italy? From appetizers to desserts, Americans have enjoyed a love affair with all things Italian for generations. Italy is a relatively small country, but it has made a tremendous impact on the culinary world.
The nation is divided into 20 regions – each with its distinct food specialties born out of centuries of culinary artistry, geographical and climactic diversity, and influences from foreign cultures. The Etruscans, Arabs, Greeks, French and many other neighbors and invaders left their mark on Italian cuisine. Ancient Italian mariners brought back exotic foods and cooking techniques from faraway places. Many of the ingredients for traditional Italian dishes came from foreign lands — including corn and tomatoes from the Americas and pasta, rice and spices from the East. Here is a sampling of the regional specialties Italy has shared with the world.
The Lombardy region in the north, with its fertile fields and snow-capped mountains, is home to the sophisticated city of Milan. Risotto and polenta originated here, made from the rice and corn crops that thrive here. Osso buco, showcasing tender veal shanks, was born here, too.
Emilia-Romagna, dubbed “Italy’s food basket,” has provided us with Parmigiano Reggiano, Prosciutto di Parma and fine hams from its dynamic pork industry, balsamic vinegar and stuffed pastas. Lasagna was invented here, and we are grateful.
The cities of Florence and Pisa bask under the Tuscan sun. While Tuscany is mostly hilly and mountainous, there is adequate countryside to graze sheep, and grow beans and other vegetables in abundance. A generous stretch of coastline gives the region a rich daily catch of fish and seafood.
Piedmont contributes its fine wines to the discerning palate. It boasts the origins of carpaccio (fine quality raw beef seasoned with garlic oil, lemon and salt), trendy Nutella, and rich pastries and desserts.
Campania is blessed with a long Mediterranean coastline that supports the lucrative fishing industry. Vegetables, lemons and oranges grow in fertile soil spiked with volcanic ash from Mount Vesuvius’ terrible eruptions. The city of Naples is the cornerstone here, and pizza is its gift to the world.
In this section of Restaurant Inc, our dynamic Reinhart chefs have contributed a compilation of their favorite on-trend Italian recipes – from appetizers to desserts -- to entice those legions of Italian food lovers to your door. You needn’t specialize in Italian cuisine to harness its power and reap the benefits of its influence. Fantastico!
A Pizza Pie in the Italian Sky
When pizza first hit the U.S., it was love at first bite and we've highlighted classic and modern takes for everyone's inner pizza connoisseur.
A Modern Approach to Rustic Cuisine
Hearty Italian dishes may seem heavy but we've tackled some of the lighter, timeless dishes that go beyond the ordinary in the traditional Italian kitchen.
Elevated Yet Authentic Italian
Fine dining and Italian go together like spaghetti and meatballs. Fresh, trendy and utterly satisfying dishes have been taken up a notch for the sophisticated palette.
Leave Room for Dessert
The perfect finish to a fine Italian meal, these pure temptations are rich, sweet and beloved by dessert aficionados everywhere.