A refreshing, easy and affordable menu designed with Italian recipes for summer. You might not physically be able to travel now, but this collection of typical dishes will help you taste the essence of Italy; blends of fresh fruit, exquisite vegetables and delicious desserts followed by a beverage most Italians drink religiously.
L’antipasto – La Caprese
Simple, classic, quick.
Ingredients: mozzarella, olio extra vergine d’oliva, basil, tomatoes, olives and capers (optional)
Preparation time: 5 minutes
- Cut the mozzarella and tomatoes into medium-sized slices and arrange onto a plate
- Add basil around and in between the slices
- Sprinkle your preferred type of olives and some capers over the top (optional)
- Drizzle some olive oil and oregano over the masterpiece
Pro Tip: Italian recipes find beauty in simplicity. Don’t waste the leftover oil on your plate, add some salt and balsamic vinegar to create a pinzimonio. This is usually eaten with ciabatta bread, and many Italians include it in their extensive wedding menus. Collect the pinzimonio with the bread by using the ‘scarpetta’ method: when you use the bread to catch any sauce leftover. This method also shows the appreciation of the food. In Italy, no food is wasted!
Il Primo Piatto – La Torta Salata
Rustic Italian recipes like this are great for lunch or dinner and can be vegetarian friendly.
Ingredients: 2 Zucchini, 1 mozzarella ball (medium size), 4 eggs, a little Parmigiano Reggiano (if you use parmesan, don’t tell your Italian friends), a small onion, a ready-made pie crust (the kind you’d use for a pot pie), salt and pepper. If you want a little meat, add a few slices of ham.
Preparation time: 1 hour – 1 hour and 15 minutes
- Cut the zucchini and small onion into thin slices and place them in a pan with a pinch of salt and pinch of pepper. Cook them over medium heat and allow the zucchini water to evaporate. This should take 10-15 minutes.
- While you let the zucchini mixture cool, heat the oven to 375 F
- Cut your mozzarella into slices. Then crack your eggs into a small bowl and add a bit of grated Parmigiano Reggiano into the eggs; mix them lightly.
- Once the Zucchini have cooled off a little, place your pie crust on baking paper in a pie dish and poke it in a few places with a fork. Gently layer your mozzarella cheese, zucchini blend, and ham (optional) before pouring the egg mixture over the top, evenly.
- You can either place another layer of crust over the torta (as you would for an apple pie) or you can leave the top open and enjoy the aesthetic of the egg, cheese, and veggie blend.
- Place your torta in the oven for about 45 minutes. When it looks cooked and time has run out, turn the oven fan on for about 2-3 minutes to make the top crispy brown.
Il Dolce – La Macedonia
Grab all the fruit you have, dice or slice it, serve it in a bowl and add some ice cream or meringue on the side. Easy peasy.
Mamma Maria’s secret: Mix in lemon juice and sugar. This keeps the fruit fresh for longer, so it doesn’t go brown, and it adds a sweet taste that amalgamates all the different flavors.
The after lunch/dinner essentials
Italians are generally a very health-conscious community with a variety of idiosyncrasies that surprise many visitors. One is that digestion and quality of life go hand-in-hand and make espresso or digestif beverages a go-to after every meal!
So yes, that means coffee. Three times a day, seven days a week.
No time is too late or too early.
Usually served as an Espresso for €1 at your local café.
About the Author:
Sara is interning with the Umbra Institute through ISI Abroad as part of her gap year experience. A bilingual native of England and Italy, she’s traveled the globe seeking to learn diverse cultural and historical perspectives. She’ll be your guide this summer as you plan for your study experience in Perugia.