Monday, October 15, 2007

Easy Italian Recipes – Index of Time and Cost Effective Recipes for Today’s Busy Family

True Italian recipes are regional and local. You could see them as comfort foods. They include “poor ingredients”. They are made with ingredients that are available on the farm or grow in the wild in that area. Over the centuries these recipes were refined to make that poor ingredient something that is an explosion of flavor. The method by which the dish is prepared is as important as the quality of the ingredients. Italian recipes are generally simple. Flavors are always in balance and while today it may be difficult to find some of the ingredients generally they are very cost effective. I will put “Easy Italian Recipes” in the title followed by the primary ingredients in the recipe or the name of the dish.

As families are starting to feel the difficulties of inflation, I think Italian recipes can be a way for families to eat well and save money. This series of recipes are also very simple and can be prepared in about 45 minutes or the evening before. Italian recipes are generally wholesome. You should not be concerned about the fats used (butter or pork) and do not, at least in the beginning, play around with the process or ingredients. Most of these recipes have evolved over the centuries to give both immediate satisfaction and keep away the hunger for several hours if not overnight.

Always look for the freshest version of the ingredients and should they be out of season choose a frozen version instead of canned. With mushrooms, the dried version is usually the most cost effective and savory, unless you live in Oregon.

When making broth, we use bullion cubes from Knorr however should you boil fish, chicken or meats you can save the water. Divide it into smaller units and freeze it for several months.

Some tricks can also include freezing certain vegetables. Once frozen these vegetables will completely break down into pulp in the cooking process, which speeds things up. Some of these vegetables are celery, garlic, carrots, and onions. When cooking for my kids I would prepare the soffritto (onion, celery and carrots) in large quantities and freeze it. That cut down my time for risotto by about 5 minutes.

Most of these recipes are not found in books but will be part of just about every family’s recipe box.
Most will also be from Northern Italy however I have accumulated a few Southern Italian Recipes from friends over the years.

If you have something you would like to add or remembered a dish and do not know how to make it please drop me a line.

Appetizers - Antipasti

Pasta, Risotto and other first plates - Primi

Entrees (Meat, Fish, Fowl) – Secondi

Roasted Chicken with Lemon
Stuffed Bell Peppers
Veal Tonne' I
Veal Tonne' II

Side Dishes – Contorni

Desserts – Dolci

Fruit – Frutta



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