Enjoying Hearty and Comforting Italian Cuisine
These days, most people have at least had a delicious pizza or spaghetti in the last month. Of course, there is so much more to Italian cuisine than these two American favorites. The different regions of the country have traditional dishes which are still enjoyed by many of the people around the world while others remain a mystery. Such things as pasta might maintain a position of dominance in the cuisine, but there are just as many chefs preparing foods which rival some of the best chefs throughout the world today.
To get to know Italian cuisine better, it is a good idea to look at the different regions of the country. The best known are Southern Italian which is dominated by Sicilian cuisine, Middle Italy which is domeinated by Tuscan cuisine and Northern Italy which is dominated by Nicoise cuisine. These different regions have different characteristics which are completely unique and lend themselves to the kinds of people which helped to form the country itself.
There is one tie that binds most southern cooking and that is the rich and often spicy flavors which dominate. Sicilian cuisine is also known for their love of heat in their food. Cayenne pepper and crushed pepper are common staples in everything that comes out of the region. If it is not spicy, it will be rich in flavor such as rich cream and lemon sauces. The snack foods like pizza which come out of this region are known for being very thin crusted. This is because the breading is too much to eat in such warm temperatures. Of course, seafood is also celebrated in this kind of cuisine because of the fact that the inhabitants are surrounded by it.
Seafood is also celebrated by those in the Tuscan region of Italy. Though, these flavors tend to be a bit richer than those in the southern regions. There is more use of olive oil, wine and garlic in these preparations. With so many vineyards to pull from, it is not uncommon to find wine in just about everything that you are eating. This region is also known for the different cheeses and cured meats that it produces. This is because such things as buffalo mozzarella, pecorino, Parmigiano-Reggiano and prosciutto all come from this region and neighboring Campana region of Italy.
The stark contrast that this Northern Italian cuisine has to the rest is that there is less use of garlic and herbs and more emphasis on clean flavors. The area is influenced heavily by the French due to the trading in foods and cultures between the two. There is more produce being used in this area rather than pastas. Many of the dishes will include a light breading, such as chicken piccata which includes lemon and capers along with a little bit of breading used for the pounded chicken breast. It is a very good example of how the light and vibrant flavors combine with the herbs which are grown here.
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