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Italian dishes with exotic origins Vol.1

Italy can count plenty of dishes that have exotic origins

Our peninsula has a very rich history and culture. It derives from the variety of its invaders and the different populations that lived here during centuries.
Latins, Arabic, Austrians, Spanish are only some example of the people who settled in our country. It influenced a lot the country’s nature in general, but above all our gastronomic tradition. We can count plenty of dishes that have exotic origins.

Italian dishes with exotic origins in the Veneto Region

Located in the north-eastern part of Italy, at its northernmost corner it borders also on Austria. The cooking of this area for this reason is similar to Tirolese one and reflects also in gastronomy the connections with Western Austria. Many typical dishes in facy have even today the original German names.
Canaderli: bread crumbs balls filled with speck, spinaches, lard or cheese and served in hot soup or with molten butter. As regards as desserts we are spoiled for choice. Apple Pie (Apfelstrudel in german): a traditional Viennese strudel pastry jacket with an apple filling inside; Krapfen (or Berliner doughnut): a traditional North German pastry made from sweet yeast dough fried in fat or oil, with a marmalade or jam filling and usually icing, powdered sugar on top. Sachertorte, a dense chocolate cake meringue based with a thin layer of apricot jam on top, coated in dark chocolate icing on the top and sides. It is traditionally served with unsweetened whipped cream.

Italian dishes with exotic origins in the Lazio Region

Jewish communities in Rome have been recorded as far back as the second century BC, longer than any other city in Europe.
The city and the region in general has managed to retain its Jewish culture and has become famous in recent decades for the abundance of restaurants and delectable cuisine. Let’s start from Carciofi alla Giudia: It literally means “Jewish-style artichokes” and is among the best-known dishes of Roman Jewish cuisine. The recipe is essentially a deep-fried artichoke, and originated in the Jewish community of Rome and is a speciality of the Roman Ghetto. They are left for some minutes in water with lemon juice, then seasoned with salt and pepper and deep-fried in olive oil. The last touch consists in sprinkling a little cold water on them to make them crisp. Let’s try also the Stracotto: (a typical roman-jewish recipe) a meat plate, cooked for many hours in a flavorful tomato sauce, usually prepared in occasion of the Shabbat. Regarding the desserts we have the Pizza di Beridde, very big biscuit prepared with a rough and thick pastry, enriched with dried and candied fruit.

roman saltimbocca

Italian dishes with exotic origins in the Sicilia Region

Sicilian gastronomy is deeply rooted in the troubled history of the awesome island.
It dealt with several dominations, from the Spanish to the Norman ones, but its major influences come from the Arab people. One of the most spread dishes of arab-sicilian cooking, above all in Trapanese area, is the Cus Cus (or Cous Cous). it is prepared in a typically sicilian version, with a fish soup instead of a meat one. It is a particular and tasty plate and consists of a savory soup poured on the little balls of semolina shaped with fingers into a special container, “mafaradda”. Then the semolina grains are steaming cooked in a “Cuscusera”, a convex and riddled pot put on the top of another pot filled with boiling water. Also the delicious Cassata was born thanks to Arabs (from the Arab “quasat”). It consists of round sponge cake moistened with fruit juices or liqueur and layered with ricotta cheese, candied peel, and a chocolate or vanilla filling similar to cannoli cream. There are also other sweets that come from Arab domination: sesame torrone, cinnamon sweets and the sciarabat, then turned into the classic granita.