An OUA tradition since 2013, #TastyTuesday is your chance to check out Italian tastes and recipes, as experienced by OU students studying in Arezzo and traveling around the country.
"Appetite comes with eating"
CREATE THE TASTES OF ITALY IN YOUR OWN KITCHEN
The ragu' is a pasta sauce often used in Italy. The most famous ones are “alla bolognese” and “alla napoletana.” In ancient times it was the Sunday dish and its origins are linked to the well-off high-class families with whom worked the most famous and inventive cooks who could create such a speciality thanks to the richness of their lords' kitchens.
#Tiramisù is one of the cornerstones of Italian cuisine and one of the most loved desserts in the world. The origins of tiramisù are very uncertain, and several cities claim its authorship because each region would like to have been the "inventors" of this delicacy. For this reason, a dispute arose between Tuscany, Piedmont, Friuli Venezia Giulia and Veneto. There are many legends related to this dessert. The official version sees the birth of tiramisù in the 17th century in Siena, when pastry chefs, waiting on the arrival of the Grand Duke of Tuscany Cosimo de Medici, decided to prepare a dessert to celebrate his greatness.
Okay, here’s a quiz for you: name an Italian dish worldwide famous that starts with a “P”… Well, that’s not Pasta.
You got it: Pizza! That was easy.
Now, can you tell me when it was born? That’s a little harder, but we’re here to fill this gap.
The origins of #PIZZA are uncertain: the first mention of this word dates back as far as 997 in Gaeta, but it was with the addition of tomato that the dish officially became complete. That happened halfway through the 17th century in Naples, after a period in which people were skeptical about tomatoes, even thinking they were poisonous. Pizza became very popular in the city, and even the French writer Alexandre Dumas wrote about it in 1843. Pizza became so popular that even royalty started eating it: in particular, queen Margherita of Savoy used to love the one made with the ingredients that represented the colors of the Italian flag: green basil, white mozzarella and red tomatoes. You got it, that’s the story of how Pizza Margherita was named! The pizzaiolo was so proud that he dedicated that pizza to the queen herself.
Spaghetti with Clams
This Tasty Tuesday, we are focusing on a classic Campania dish, Spaghetti alle vongole (Spaghetti with Clams). While it has many names, including "pasta e vongole" or "vermecielle cu' e vongole," nothing beats this simple yet delicious primo with only eight ingredients! The first recorded recipe for this dish comes from the cookbook in 1839 named Cucina Teoricopratica, which Ippolito Cavalcanti wrote. Over the years, this recipe has changed very little, growing from five to eight main ingredients (white wine and red pepper being two of them!) and typically uses vongola verace (a small clam found within the Campania region).
However, there is also much controversy about whether or not the dish should be "in bianco" or include tomato. Nevertheless, the simplicity of the dish means that it can be accessible for anyone wanting to give it a try.
Risotto alla Milanese
Today, we highlight another classical Italian dish - Risotto alla Milanese (also known as Risotto allo zafferano). This dish originated in Milan and is incredibly well known throughout the city and all of Italy. Risotto alla Milanese dates back to Medieval times (1574) and was brought to light by a Belgian glassmaker by the name of Valeria di Fiandra and his coworker Zafferano. The story says that they added saffron (typically used to create a yellow color in glassmaking) to a white risotto with butter and made this recipe for Fiandra's daughter's wedding. What was at first a joke and once-in-a-life meal quickly became a dish that several enjoyed and spread throughout the country and world! Although we cannot thoroughly verify the authenticity of this history, several sources reflect the same general structure of this tale.
A Neapolitan Recipe
Are you ready to get your hands on and become a renown baker? Let's make the Neapolitan Casatiello! The dough is similar to that of bread but stuffed with meat and cheese (salami and Pecorino). What makes it so unique? It’s got whole eggs baked right inside the dough. Its name comes from the word “caso”or “cacio," which in Neapolitan dialect means cheese and its history is tied to age-old Christian traditions. Of course, every family has its own tradition, especially when it comes to the filling part… However, the important thing is to be generous with cheeses and meats!
Arm yourself with the tools you need to prepare a very tasty Neapolitan Casatiello, starting with the most important ones: hands and... Love!
A Tuscan Recipe
“Peposo” is a Tuscan recipe, typical of Impruneta, a village on the outskirts of Florence. It’s similar to beef stew but with many different facets. The meat is cooked in wine, usually Chianti (the very full-bodied, red wine typical of Tuscany). While cooking, the meat turns a dark color and gets much spicier thanks to the addition of black pepper.
Peposo is also known as “Peposo alla fornacina” (peppered stew cooked in a furnace) since in the past it was put in terracotta bowls and cooked very slowly on the door of the furnaces. Legend has it that the artisans who were commissioned by Brunelleschi to make the bricks used for his magnificent dome in the center of Florence ate this dish to reward themselves after a hard day’s work. This dish is rich in history and in taste and you can easily, but slowly make it at home.
Fresh pasta - made from scratch!
Have you ever thought about making pasta?
Well, instead of buying dry pasta from the supermarket you can make your favorite kind of pasta at home!
You just need a little time (one hour the first time will be enough, but you’ll see that once you’ve got the hang of it… it’ll be super-fast!), a wooden cutting board, a rolling pin and simple ingredients that you can get anywhere.
Making pasta is fun, and it can be an entertaining activity you do with your friends or your parents but, above all, it’s very rewarding. Seeing and feeling the dough take shape in your hands is a cool experience.
Are you ready for this? Let’s get started!
THE REAL DEAL
Pasta Alfredo by
Gastronomia Il Cervo
A short walk from OUA’s Classroom Annex, Fall semester student Riley Henry stopped into Gastronomia Il Cervo for an Italian specialty: 'Cacio e Pepe'. This dish is the closest thing to pasta Alfredo that you can find in Arezzo. That's partly because pasta Alfredo was invented for Italian-American tastes and so it's not really an authentic Italian favorite.
What's in it and why does she like it?
“I ordered it because it’s a great dish for lunch - it’s not too heavy and it’s traditionally from Rome. It’s pretty simple, with cheese, pepper, and olive oil... and it's probably the closest thing to Pasta Alfredo you could get here!”
SALAMI FOR DESSERT?
The only salami without meat
Students at OUA always have a smile on their face when this dessert is on the menu for dinner!
Chocolate salami is an Italian dessert made from cocoa, broken cookies, butter, eggs and a bit of port wine or rum. The dessert became popular across Europe and elsewhere, often losing alcohol as an ingredient along the way.
Chocolate salami is not a meat product. The name "salami" stems from its physical resemblance to real salami. It comes in the form of a long cylinder and is sliced into discs for serving. These discs are a brown, chocolaty matrix (like the red meat of salami) peppered with bright bits of cookie and wrapped with string to look just like the real thing!
A MEAL BEFORE THE MEAL