From dynamic polenta to hearty pappardelle, Italy’s winter fare is full of robust flavours, filling ingredients and deep aromas – and it’s ready to for you to explore.
Here are the ingredients you’ll need to recreate the best of Italian stick-to-your-ribs cuisine in your own kitchen:
This Italian favourite is particularly suited to nippy temperatures, when rich-and-flavourful is the mandate for every meal. A smooth, flavourful creation made from cornmeal, polenta is especially delicious as a creamy base for gamey meats like rabbit, as a comforting soup liberally flavoured with butter and cheese, and baked with layers of Fontina DOP and beef ragout.
From polenta to gnocchi, Fontina DOP complements a bevy of cold-weather staples. This versatile cheese is ideal for meat dishes like veal ribs and for fonduta (Italian fondue, thickened with egg yolks). Served with toasted bread and truffles, this creamy cheese may be the ultimate winter indulgence.
Cavolo nero (Tuscan kale)
Cavolo nero is a winter darling in Italy, and for good reason: it’s tasty, multifaceted, inexpensive and nutritious. Try cavolo nero in hearty cold-weather soups like ribollita (literally meaning “reboiled” and featuring cannellini beans, tons of vegetables and leftover bread) or in cassoeula (a comforting pork and cabbage casserole).
Speck dell’Alto Adige DOP
An Alpine lightly smoked and air-dried ham originating from the region of Trentino-Alto Adidge, Speck dell’Alto Adige DOP boasts a smoky-spicy taste that elevates winter recipes. Both tagliatelle and polenta pair beautifully with this traditionally prepared ham, and its savoury taste pairs gorgeously with radicchio for a unique starter salad.
Almonds and hazelnuts
Nuts make frequent appearances in Italian winter fare, especially in desserts. Try smooth torta fregoletta (a beloved traditional almond tart), crunchy tozzetti (small hazelnut biscuits), luscious parrozzo (chocolate covered cake with almond flavouring) or mouthwatering Torrone di Cremona IGP (a traditional nougat made with almonds, honey and egg whites).
Dark chocolate makes an extra sweet ending throughout the winter. Indulge in cogne cream – a favourite in the region of Aosta Valley – a cream-based dark chocolate-garnished treat.
What are your essentials for cooking authentic Italian cuisine? Share your picks with us on Twitter and Facebook with #MadeinItaly!