Fellini was right, what would life have been if we didn’t have pasta?
Pasta is a staple in the Italian diet and it is truly a versatile ingredient to use in thousands of different combinations.
And it is about these combinations that today’s post is about. As you might have noticed our Menu looks a little bit different, not just in the design, but also in its content. La Terra (the earth), Il Mare (the sea) and La Montagna (the mountain).
Each one contains a few representative dishes of the part of the nature they take their ingredients from. We will dedicate a post to each section but today we’ll focus on some eartly pleasureable dishes from ‘La Terra’.
Cannelloni, Lasagne, Tagliatelle all’Ortolana, Risotto Trevigiano e Ravioli di Zucca. What do all of these delicious pastas have in common?
Well the answer is… the origin of the ingredients used to make them, which are all ingredients coming from the earth (hence the name “La Terra”): meat, like beef, pork, chicken, lamb, or cheese, like ricotta, pecorino, parmigiano, gorgonzola, or vegetables, peppers, courgettes, spinach, butternut squash, aubergines, radicchio.
Ricotta, is the focus product contained in the filling of the traditional Cannelloni. The classic recipe wants it mixed with spinach, but plenty are the other possible combinations! Just get creative! If you wanted to try to make Cannelloni from scratch at home, you could make a mixture with another green vegetable or simple herbs, or chopped tomatoes for example. Fresh ricotta has a delicate taste so these would all be great pairings in terms of flavours.
When it comes to a classic Lasagna, the protagonist of the dish is without any doubt a well executed Ragu Bolognese. The secret is in the quality of the meat, in the added flavours (don’t forget to put in a glass of red wine!) and the cooking time – and if you were to ask any true Italian Grandma, they would tell you that sauce must cook for at least 5 hours to be perfect… now up to you!
To continue our list of ingredients coming from the earth that contained in the pastas on our menu, we couldn’t possibly leave out the veggies! Fresh vegetables from the allotment such as peppers, aubergines, courgettes, tomatoes are at the core of our perfectly delicious Tagliatelle all’ortolana.
Radicchio, or red chicory, is another typical leafy vegetable very popular in Italy, and extremely good for its nutritional values. It’s usually bitter to the taste, but when cooked its flavour changes, becoming mellow. Radicchio gives its best when paired with strong cheeses like Gorgonzola.
YES gorgonzola has mould in it. And it’s not disgusting at all! The mould in fact is absolutely safe and it’s the not-so-secret ingredient that has been used for centuries by Italian cheesemakers of the north to make the famous veined-look cheese.
Last but not least, a special mention goes to Pecorino cheese, that we mix with butternut squash in the delicate and tasty filling of our Ravioli alla Zucca. It’s the stuff of dreams, believe us!! Pecorino is one of those products Italy is known around the world for. It’s a uniquely Italian product and has also been assigned the Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) status by the UE Law.
We have 5 varieties Toscano, Sardo, Siciliano, di Filiano and Romano.
Pecorino Romano is probably the most famous one of the lot – the one you should use if you want to make the true Pasta Cacio & Pepe, or Amatriciana, or Gricia – three pasta dishes typical of the Lazio region.
But I digress.
What is really really important here is… Do you like pasta?
If the answer is yes, then all you have to do is come visit us soon to try one of the dishes we mentioned above. And we swear we are not biased when we say they truly are the most authentic Italian food you can get in Newcastle!
If you would like to know more about Italian food, culture, traditions and lifestyle… all you have to do is keep reading our blog regularly, or follow us on our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts, where we will regularly post snippets of curious fun facts, interesting offers, and events happening at Antico!