Do you find it overwhelming to choose where to go when wanting to eat out? There are too many choices sometimes! The great cuisine that is encompassed with the title of Italian food is often perceived as a choice between pizza, pasta and salads, which may not appear fancy enough to venture beyond calling in an order to the nearest pizza place. Yet authentic Italian food made by a great chef can be very fancy and is definitely worth more than just a telephone call.
Pasta Is Not Average
For a real treat and an eye-opening experience, go out and try some of the pasta dishes that go above and beyond the average spaghetti and meatballs. Consider the following:
Tajarin Pasta – Although tajarin is the name of a thin, ribbon-like noodle that hails from the northern part of Italy, how it is used makes it a must-try selection. As a local dish, many tajarin offerings include creamy sauces with cheese, truffle butter, and garlic as well as possibly onions, various types of mushrooms, cream, cheeses, and cured meats like prosciutto. Similarly, egg and spinach fettuccine noodles find themselves equally at home in fresh mushroom sauces. This pasta is definitely not your grandmother’s spaghetti and meatballs recipe!
Gourmet Ravioli – Ravioli are noodle pockets most commonly stuffed with cheese and covered in marinara sauce. Creative cooks have taken ravioli to new and delicious levels in recent years, offerings that have been wowing pasta lovers all over. Whether stuffed with goat cheese and arugula, artichoke and tomato, mushroom and pine nuts, or any other non-typical filling, it is almost impossible to make an undesirable ravioli dish. Ingredients like crab and lobster, squash, gourmet cheeses, asparagus, pumpkin, and countless other foods are making their way into ravioli as every chef comes up with their own specialty – these pasta dishes are not to be missed!
Lasagna – Another traditional dish gone modern, many chefs are creating interesting and flavorful combinations with lasagna. The classic cheese and tomato sauce lasagna is becoming a culinary delight with the addition of cooked and cured meats, different cheeses, and vegetables such as squash, spinach, and more. This tasty pasta dish is especially easy to modify into meatless vegetarian versions. There are even types of dessert lasagnas made with pastry and cream fillings – so good!
Pesto – Pesto is another Italian specialty that is seeing a revival in new dishes as well as traditional ones. A paste made of pine nuts, basil, garlic, olive oil, and cheese, pesto adds color and flavor to everything from plain spaghetti to more complex sauces, including roasted red pepper or mushroom sauce. It is outstanding in ravioli, lasagna, pasta and meat dishes, tuna, and countless others.
Bolognese and Carbonara – Two other Italian food specialties that are similar yet are Bolognese and Carbonara. They take the ordinary out of any pasta product and make it gourmet. Bolognese is pasta with a flavorful sauce of sautéed onion, garlic, celery, spices, and ground or minced meat such as beef, pork, or ham, all simmered in a wine and tomato sauce. Carbonara is a sauce made from eggs, cheese, and chopped bacon or pancetta with black pepper. Both of these sauces add layers of flavor to pasta, making them wonderful alternatives to the common meat sauce or Alfredo.
Although these recipes represent only a small part of the collection of exotic and savory Italian recipes, they are also dishes that are becoming available locally and a definite must-try when it comes to pasta. Don’t forget to save some room, as for every great Italian meal is an equally great, gourmet Italian dessert like gelato!