Choosing what to cook for dinner is often a difficult and rushed decision. Let’s face it: you lead a busy life. After a long day at work and potentially a tedious commute, preparing a meal from scratch isn’t the most appealing option. However, you should look to the Italians and find inspiration when asking you “What should I cook for dinner?”.
The Italians have a reputation for passion and a dedication to enjoying life. Surprisingly, when looking at Italian food, it’s delicious, but usually very simple. The focus is on quality time with the family.
If you’re wondering “What should I cook for an Italian dinner?”, then you’re in the right place! Here are 5 great ideas to inspire you.
What Do You Serve At An Italian Dinner
Whether you’re cooking dinner for yourself and the family, or hosting a dinner party, you’ll want to understand what should be offered as part of an Italian meal. The key to clearing the palette and preparing it for the meal to come is to start dinner with a good aperitif. This is usually served before the meal and it can be as much as an hour before eating. The aperitif consists of a few nuts, cheese and olives, with a nice wine, prosecco or a spritz. This is the time to socialize, but not to eat too much. Italians generally have 6-course meals. That’s perfect to impress at a dinner party and can be compacted for a simple family evening.
The aperitif is followed by the “Antipasto”, usually a selection of cheeses, meats and vegetarian dips. The “Primo” comes next, generally a pasta dish, risotto, soup or even a casserole. As you head into the fourth course of your meal, you’ll find the “Secondo” is generally made up of meat and fish. These tend to be richer meats.
Alongside the “Secondo”, you’ll be offered the “Contorno”. This is a side dish of vegetables, including some potatoes. The fifth course is “Insalata”, which is actually a salad. It’s just crispy greens with a dressing of balsamic vinegar. It clears the palate ready for the dessert, known as “Dolce”.
5 Great Ideas For A Successful Traditional Italian Dinner
When considering what food to cook for dinner, remember that the Italians keep it simple and, despite having six courses, each serving is small. It’s all about the taste and the company. If you want to create an authentic Italian dinner, then use these tips:
- Use Fresh Ingredients
Italian recipes, such as spaghetti puttanesca, Caprese salad and even strawberry “Panna Cotta” are all simple to make. However, they taste fantastic because their ingredients are fresh. You should make sure all your ingredients are as fresh as possible to maximize the taste.
- Keep It Local
In Italy, the dishes are made with locally sourced ingredients. To copy the flavor, you should either look for genuine Italian ingredients or substitute items with those you can source locally.
- Take A Cooking Class
If you want to enhance the dining experience, then consider taking authentic Italian cooking classes. They will help you perfect your recipes. If possible, take an Italian cooking class in Italy, as there is nothing like it.
- Cook Together
You can share your newfound knowledge and make the dinner party more interesting for everyone. Simply invite everyone to join you in cooking. If your kitchen is small, then make it a communal effort: ask everyone to prepare an Italian dish at home and bring it with them!
- Make It Fun!
Finally, to host a successful dinner party or even enjoy a meal with the family, remember that the Italians have a no-phone policy during dinner. It’s simply a time to enjoy each other’s company and the food which has been prepared. Focus the meal on conversation to ensure everyone has a memorable experience.
Summing UpIt doesn’t need to be difficult to create a delicious Italian dinner. The meal can be kept simple, allowing everyone to chat and enjoy the occasion. It will make it memorable for all the right reasons.