Italian Cooking: How to Prepare an Italian Feast Using Simple Recipes

Italian Cooking

Italians love to cook and eat good food. Dinners are important in an Italian family. Many courses means more time to sit and enjoy each others company. Today I will teach you how to make a big Italian feast for your loved ones using basic ingredients and simple recipes. We will start off with a little bruschetta and minestrone soup. Our main dish will be chicken Parmesan and dessert will be tiramisu. Sound good? Great, let's get started.

Aperitivo & Antipasto

And we begin. Your antipasto, or appetizer, is usually a finger food. It can be a hot or cold appetizer. Commonly served are a variety of cold cuts such as salami, prosciutto or pepperoni, various cheeses, bread and olives. Traditionally an aperitivo, or liqueur, is served alongside the antipasto. Usually a bitter liqueur like Campari, this drink will increase your appetite for the meal to come. The bitterness also stimulates the gall bladder, which helps you to digest the meal. Let us try my favorite Italian appetizer: bruschetta.

Bruschetta
Bruschetta | Source

Bruschetta

You will need:

  • 4 medium sized tomatoes
  • 1 small sweet onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • one loaf of French bread

Cut the end off of tomatoes and take out seeds. Dice tomatoes and let drain in strainer. Dice onions and mince garlic. Chop basil leaves. Mix everything together in a bowl. To serve: cut bread into one inch rounds. Put a little bruschetta on top and toast lightly in a 400 degree oven for about five minutes. Enjoy!

minestrone soup
minestrone soup | Source

Primo

After the antipasto comes the primo. This course is a little more food, not a lot. Pace yourself. Usually this course includes a little pasta or soup. My favorite Italian soup is minestrone. It is the simplest soup to make because the recipe can be varied in so many ways. Substitute any meat, any beans or any vegetables and herbs you have around. This is my favorite minestrone recipe. Let's try some, shall we?

Minestrone

  • 5 cups beef broth
  • 2 large cans stewed tomatoes
  • 2 cups beef stew meat
  • 1 zucchinni
  • 2 potatoes
  • 3 carrots
  • 3 celery
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 onion
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 1 tsp parsley
  • 1 tsp rosemary
  • salt and pepper to taste.
  • 1 large can kidney beans
  • 1-2 cups uncooked pasta. Tiny pasta like orzo is best.
  • parmesan cheese (optional)

Chop up all the vegetables. Heat broth in a large pot until simmering. Add canned tomatoes, chopped vegetables, and herbs and spices. Simmer until vegetables are tender and meat is cooked (15-20 min). Add canned beans and pasta, cook until pasta is ready. Serve with a little parmesan cheese on top if you like.

Secondo & Contorno

And now it is time for the main meal. Hopefully you have a little room left? The secondo is the most complicated portion of the meal. It is usually a meat or seafood dish. It is served with the contorno, or side dish of vegetables or a salad. Lets try a little chicken Parmesan. We will start with the marinara sauce:

Marinara sauce

  • extra virgin olive oil
  • one onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 32oz cans of tomatoes
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • salt and pepper

Heat up a little oil on a large frying pan on medium-low. Cook onions until clear, then add garlic and cook another two minutes. Add tomatoes and spices. Simmer on low until it thickens, about a half hour.

That was easy, right? If it seems too much trouble, just go ahead and buy a jar of ready made sauce. Paul Newman`s Marinara sauce is the best store bought one I've tried.

chicken parmesan with bowtie pasta
chicken parmesan with bowtie pasta | Source

Chicken Parmesan

  • 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup parsley, chopped
  • 5-7 chopped basil leaves
  • salt & pepper
  • 4 chicken breasts
  • 3 cups Marinara sauce
  • 1 cup grated mozzarella
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1 pound pasta

Preheat oven to 350. Add 2 Tbsp oil to pan and brown the chicken. Coat a casserole dish with the remaining oil. Pour one cup of the sauce on the bottom and add chicken. Pour the rest of the sauce on top. Top with the cheeses and herbs. Bake the chicken until it is cooked, 25-30 minutes. While chicken is in the oven, cook the pasta. When the chicken is done, remove chicken to serving plates and use remaining sauce for the pasta.

Formaggio e frutta

Now you are done the main meal. Time to clear the tables, wash the dishes and have a little formaggio e frutta, or cheese and fruit. This snack is a palate cleanser to prepare you for dessert. The cheeses served here are more of a soft, sweet cheese, like fotina or mozzarella. With the antipasto, you would have served a sharper, saltier hard cheese, like Asiago or Gorgonzola. Any fruits you like will go well with this snack.

Dolce, Caff & Digestivo

And now it is time for the dolce, or dessert. Popular Italian desserts include tirimusu, cannoli, gelato or biscotti. Coffee, espresso or cappucino are commonly served with dessert. Some might like to have an after dinner liqueor, ordigestivo. Grappa, amaretto and sambuca are popular choices. Lets try everyones favorite Italian dessert, tiramusu.

Tiramusu

  • 1 package ladyfinger cookies
  • 1/2 cup brewed espresso, cooled
  • 6 eggs, separated
  • 6 Tbsp sugar
  • 2 pounds mascarpone cheese
  • 4 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder

Place ladyfingers on a large baking sheet. Brush with espresso and set aside. In a medium bowl, beat egg yolks and sugar until thick, 4-5 minutes. Add mascarpone, blend on low until combined. In a large bowl, beat egg whites until soft peaks form, 2-3 minutes. Fold egg whites into mascarpone mixture. Line the bottom of an 8-cup souffle dish with half of the ladyfingers. Spread half of the cheese mixture on top and sprinkle with 2 Tbsp cocoa. Repeat layers. Cover and refrigerate for at least two hours.

So there you have it. An easy to make Italian feast. Invite your family and friends over and get cooking!

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Comments 8 comments

daisyjae profile image

daisyjae 3 years ago from Canada Author

You are welcome!


titi6601 profile image

titi6601 3 years ago

Thank you for sharing!


daisyjae profile image

daisyjae 4 years ago from Canada Author

I hope you like them, Leighsue.


Leighsue profile image

Leighsue 4 years ago

These look like some really good recipes. I will bookmark and try them.


daisyjae profile image

daisyjae 5 years ago from Canada Author

Thanks, lilleyth.


Lilleyth profile image

Lilleyth 5 years ago from Mid-Atlantic

I grew up with Italian grandparents in the house. Gotta have my pasta fix. Great hub.


daisyjae profile image

daisyjae 5 years ago from Canada Author

They're pretty easy jojokaya, i'm sure you'll like them.


jojokaya profile image

jojokaya 5 years ago from USA

I love Italian food. Will try your recipes

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