Cultural Corner: Taking Italian Food Past Pasta

Rigatoni, ravioli, tagliatelle, fettuccine, spaghetti—the list could go on and on. Pastas are some of the best and most well-known foods to come out of Italy, but these delicious egg and flour concoctions aren’t the only delicious Italian treats. There’s more to this country’s cooking repertoire than noodles. Here are a few scrumptious recipes sans pasta—but equally as satisfying. They’re perfect for weeknights, dinner-for-two, or cooking for weekend company.

Margherita Pizza

While pizza isn’t that far off from pasta, it’s just different enough to make it on this list. Italians keep their pizzas simple, yet extremely flavorful by using the freshest ingredients possible. Traditional Margherita pizza or pizza alla Margherita only has three toppings: fresh tomato sauce, sliced mozzarella, and fresh basil. While the toppings are simple, the flavor is anything but! Homemade pizza dough is best, but if you’re in a pinch, pick-up a ball of dough in your grocery store’s deli section. Try grilling it for even more flavor!

Chicken Marsala

Chicken Marsala is a great option for a fast weeknight meal, but it’s also perfect for serving dinner guests. This dish originated in the Western Sicily region of Italy were Marsala wine is produced. The dark, sweet Marsala wine adds depth of flavor to this dish. Chicken Marsala combines fresh ingredients with pantry staples to make a winning meal. You’ll need boneless chicken breast halves, fresh sliced mushrooms, Marsala wine, flour, butter, olive oil, and simple seasonings. First, mix the flour and seasonings together and coat the chicken in the mixture. Heat butter and oil in a large skillet over medium heat, and add the chicken pieces. Cook until they’re lightly browned, then flip them over. Add the mushrooms and wine and cook until chicken is done. Serve with fresh seasonal vegetables on the side!

Veal or Chicken Piccata

Did you know “piccata” actually refers to the way the meat is prepared? Chicken Piccata is traditionally made with veal, but you may find chicken is more budget-friendly and easier to prepare on a busy weeknight. To get started on this crowd pleaser, pound boneless, skinless chicken breast to an even thickness. This helps it to cook evenly and not burn. Next, the chicken goes into a seasoned flour mixture for a light coating. Then it goes into a hot skillet with melted butter and olive oil until it’s browned. Once it’s cooked the chicken comes out and lemon juice, chicken stock or wine, and capers go in and are heated to form a light sauce. Finally, the chicken goes back in to soak up the delicious sauce. Buon Appetito!

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