August 17, 2020

Italian Cooking Terminology

When it comes to authentic Italian cooking, there are plenty of terms that need to be known. Some of these terms refer to the way that something is cooked while others refer to the type of food that something is. While there are a few common ones, there are quite a few unique words and phrases that every person who dons an apron should have in their vocabulary. Let’s check out what some of the most common, and useful, ones are.

Al Dente: This term translates to “to the tooth.” It refers to the way that a pasta noodle is cooked. If it is tender but still firm, then the pasta is al dente!

Al Forno: Meaning “in the oven,” this term refers to dishes that have been roasted or baked in an oven. These dishes can include vegetables, pasta, chicken, or other meat.

Al Vapore: Although steaming is not a traditional method of cooking in Italy, al vapore means “steamed” and can refer to a variety of dishes.

Antipasti: The plural form of antipasto, this term refers to appetizers or the starters of a meal. It is generally served on a wooden platter and consists of cured meats, cheeses, olives, pickled vegetables, bruschetta, and bread.

Bianco/Bianca: These forms of the word “white” describe food that is made without tomato sauce. For example, a pizza served without tomato/red sauce would be a pizza bianca, as it is a “white pizza.” To determine whether to use bianco or bianca, you must know whether the object you are describing is masculine or feminine, which is something that is common in other languages as well, such as Spanish.

Bollito: This Italian word means “boiled” and can refer to vegetables or even meats.

Casalinga: This word is Italian for “housewife,” but it is also used to describe any food that is homemade as casa means “home.”

Fritto: If you were to eat fried food in Italy, it would be referred to as fritto, which means “fried.”

Insaporire: This Italian cooking term means to sauté vegetables, meats, or anything else in soffrito. This allows the food to absorb the flavor and aroma before adding it to a dish.

Soffrito: As mentioned above, this Italian staple is used as a base when cooking. It usually consists of carrots, onions, and celery that is cooked in olive oil on low for a good deal of time.

Quanto Basta: This phrase roughly translates to “just enough.” It is used to describe how much of an ingredient should be added. It is essentially the Italian version of “to taste.”

For Authentic Italian Food, Come to Grico’s

Now that you know your basic Italian cooking terms, why not take a break before cracking open that old family cookbook? Make a reservation at Grico’s to enjoy fresh and authentic Italian cuisine right in the Wyoming Valley. Place your reservations by calling (570) 654-9120. We look forward to serving you and your family!