Six rarely ordered items to try at an Italian restaurant

image_pdfimage_print

4. Caponata

Meat not your thing or looking to take a break and get some vegetables? another Sicilian classic, Caponata, will right up your alley. Like red sauce, you will find minor variations from town to town, even household to household with each claiming their version to be the best.

Caponata is a slightly sweet, slightly sour eggplant based salad. Married with the fried or grilled eggplant are olives, tomato, onion, capers, celery, raisins, basil and pine nuts. A kiss of honey, perhaps some red pepper flakes and you have a bowl of happy. You can find variations on some menus that have anchovies to add an element of richness. If you are a vegetarian or vegan, just be aware of that.

This insalata is one of that I love so much that I make it at home. Of all the dishes on this list, this is one that you allows some leeway – you can make some minor mistakes and it will still come out good. Give it a go and let us know how you make out in the comments.

5. Gnocchi

Gnocci or “knots on wood” is one that sort of snuck on the list. I have come across a few people, even stubborn ones who prefer that hot dog, pizza, hamburger life, that have heard of gnocchi. Although, trying it is another thing.

Gnocchi is another dish I make at home, both potato and semolina/pasta versions. In essence, they are small love lumps or tiny dumplings made from the aforementioned pasta or potato but can be also made with egg, cheese, cornmeal or even breadcrumbs.

It is incredibly versatile because the gnocchi itself is there to supply texture to the dish and to sponge up the sauce you accompany it with. For that reason substitute soups that call for pasta with gnocchi. The sauce can be simple alfredo, a red sauce, a bolognese, some freshly grated parmesan, or even used to make cacio e pepe.

They are so popular that you can find variants in French, Croatian, Austrian, Polish, Brazilian, Argentinian, even Portuguese cuisines. For the curious, in Portugal they are called nhoque.

6. Saltimbocca

Last but not least is one that even those who are about the hot dog, hamburger, steak and potatoes life may have heard of or tried because it is, in essence, steak. Saltimbocca means “jumps in the mouth” because it is so incredibly life-altering delicious that you will go into auto-pilot when eating it. Have you ever gone out with friends who talk a lot and food comes to the table that is so delicious that suddenly everyone is quiet? Yes, that’s saltimbocca.

Ready for some taste buds to fire up? Saltimbocca is pan-fried, thinly sliced veal lined or wrapped with prosciutto and sage; marinated in dry white wine, olive oil or saltwater. Veal on its own is delicious, prosciutto on its own is delicious, whine on its own is delicious, so hey why not put them all together?

It is not uncommon to come across versions that utilize steak or chicken instead and if you are squeamish about using veal because you can look for this version or even ask a waiter if you can substitute it.

So, head out into the world foodie explorers and the next time you eat at an Italian restaurant and want to try something new or are feeling adventurous try one of these dishes.

If you end up finding something you really like, then let us know in the comments. If you don’t like it at all and you are now mad at me, let me have it in the comments. Let us know where you had and what you took issue with or really enjoyed about the dish.

2 of 2Next
Use your ← → (arrow) keys to browse

About Joe Silvia

When Joe isn't writing, he's coaching people to punch each other in the face. He enjoys ancient cultures, dead and living languages, cooking, benching 999#s, and saving the elderly, babies and puppies from burning buildings. While he enjoys long walks on the beach, he will not be your alarm clock, because he's no ding-a-ling.

Check Also

New Bedford roadwork sites for the upcoming week of May 20, 2024 – May 24, 2024

“The City of New Bedford has roadwork sites for the upcoming week of May 20, …

One comment

  1. I love the idea of trying a really heavy umami flavor in a meat-lovers dish, so the Osso Buco would be perfect. My partner and I are going to try getting more Italian food this year. We love how tasty and healthy a lot of the dishes are.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Translate »