Italian style autumn
Summer is waving goodbye to us, but the gracious fall brings an aroma of chestnuts, wild mushrooms and fruits gleaming in golden hues. The shorter days and the cool weather outside are the perfect time for homemade culinary temptations – warm, appetizing and inspired by the all-favourite Italy. Italians do have a few special highlights in the autumn menu – several highly appreciated foods for this season. Here they are in a brief collection!
Autumn inevitably brings to the Italian kitchen one of the nation’s most enjoyed vegetables: the pumpkin. Countless recipes have been created inspired by the delicately sweet pumpkin taste. One of the most traditional is called “tortelli di zucca”– ravioli with creamy pumpkin smash topped with fine butter. Another Italian classics is “risotto alla zucca” – expertly cooked rice with pumpkin and parmigiano which balances the sweety note of the taste. In many Italian regions like Ferarra and Emilia Romagna people prepare the traditional “cappellacci di zucca”. These are small hat-like pasta shapes stuffed richly with pumpkin fill and topped with butter, herbs, spices and sometimes ragu.
Mushrooms are famous under the nickname “King of the autumn Italian cuisine”. From sandwiches with mushrooms, raisins and capers to ravioli with truffles, parmesan and mushrooms – Italians have quite a great deal of traditional mushroom yumminess. The country has a proven reputation of first class wild mushrooms provider. Italians often do forest walks to pick mushrooms and they even have Festival of Mushrooms. One of the magical fall recipes of Tuscany is “White ragu Pasta”. It is recommended that you choose a bigger-size pasta for this dish – for instance medium-sized rigatoni. And the meat for the ragu is usually a mix of veal and pork. Instead of tomato sauce which is traditional for ragu recipes, this one features white sauce made of garlic, parsley and white wine.
Italians are masters in cooking so tasty veggies that you are pretty much in awe how such a deliciousness can also boast with healthiness! One of their classic autumn temptations are the so called broccoletti, also known as Contorni. They are quite typical for the regions in South Italy – thinner, longer broccoli which are being cooked with the leafs! First they get boiled, then lightly fried in a pan together with garlic and red pepper. Very often broccoletti are an add-on to pasta dishes like for instance Pasta con broccoletti e pecorino.
Winding Italians streets are filled up with the fragrance of roasted chestnuts in this time of the year. But besides enjoying them on the go, many Italians include them in their home or restaurant menu – both in sweet and savory dishes. Zuppa di castagne e farro is a popular one – part of the culinary traditions of Umbria. It is made with chestnuts, einkorn, leek and garlic, and is very typical for the rural family cuisine. A famous dessert with chestnuts is Marron Glace. It is a kind of trademark for France and North Italy. The chestnuts are being glazed like candies. They are boiled, then sugar syrup is poured onto them and afterwards they are baked to get dry in the oven. Italians just love to include these into wedding menus or give them as tiny gifts.
Italians call it “vino novello”. It is less alcoholic, refreshing and fruity in taste. It perfectly fits dishes with chestnuts and is generally prefered in autumn. Every year, at the end of October it gains popularity again – especially in regions like Tuscany, Puglia, Sardinia and Emilia Romagnia.