ITALY

Flag of Italy.svg
The ‘il Tricolore’ features the national colours of Italy and appeared for the first time in Genoa in 1789.
COUNTRY ITALY
Dishes Pomodoro (vegan), Chicken Cacciatore
Time1 hour 
Effort5/10 
Rough cost£7 
COUNTRY ITALY
Capital Rome
Population60,317,116 (23rd largest) 
Land mass301,340 km2 (71st largest) 
LanguagesItalian
Religion84% Christian 

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Italy (Republic of) is located in the centre of the Mediterranean Sea and is composed of the mainland peninsula and several islands surrounding it. Due to its central location, Italy has historically been home to a diverse array of people and cultures dating back to the Ancient Roman Empire. However, the Italy the world knows and loves today emerged in the mid-1800’s following a period of political upheaval which resulted in the unification of the ‘Kingdom of Italy’. Today Italy is an advanced economy and ranks very highly on national measures of life expectancy, quality of life, and education (among other things). Fun fact: Italy holds the record for the world’s largest number of national heritage sites and is the 5th most visited country, thanks to the wealth of Italy’s cultural background.

Italian cuisine is likewise enjoyed far and wide with essentially everyone who has tasted the staple Italian dishes of pasta and pizza, falling in love on first mouthful (mmmm carbs). Italian chefs rely on traditional ingredients and the quality of them, as opposed to elaborate preparation methods. In keeping with this theme, we made two absolute classics: pasta pomodoro and chicken cacciatore.

Pomodoro is one of the simplest but most authentic Italian pasta adishes and is the true test of any Italian chef. Chicken Cacciatore (“Hunter-style” chicken) is a staple of Italian home-cooking, which is easy to make and super comforting. Both these dishes were quick to make and delicious, but if you feel like pushing the boat out a bit more, then please do!

RECIPES

Pasta Pomodoro (vegan)

INGREDIENTS

  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 can whole peeled tomatoes, puréed in a blender
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup basil, chopped (plus extra for garnish)
  • spaghetti (300-400g)
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese (or vegan alternative)

METHOD

  • Heat olive oil in a large pan over a medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally until the onion softens. Add in the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook for 3 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and season.
  • Cook the pomodoro sauce, whilst stirring it until it starts to thicken (20 minutes). When the ideal consistency has been reached, stir in the fresh basil.
  • Cook the spaghetti until al dente, according to the packet instructions. Drain the pasta, reserving a little water.
  • To serve, place the pasta back in pot, add the tomato sauce and hot pasta water, and stir until the sauce coats the pasta fully. Add in whatever parmesan cheese you are using and toss well. Plate the pasta and garnish with basil and more parmesan!

Chicken Cacciatore

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 6 bone-in skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • salt + pepper, to taste
  • 1 yellow pepper, diced
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 1 large carrot, sliced
  • 300g mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 cup black olives
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 tbsp fresh basil, chopped
  • 8 sprigs thyme
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 x 400g tins of chopped tomatoes
  • 150 ml red wine
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

METHOD

  • The first thing to do is season the chicken thighs with salt + pepper. 
  • In a large pan, heat 2 tbsp of olive oil and sear the chicken on both sides for about 3-4 minutes. Remove the meat from the heat.
  • Add the rest of the olive oil to the pan and sauté the onion until transparent. Then add in the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Then add the peppers, carrot, mushrooms and herbs, cooking for 5 minutes.
  • Next pour in the wine and cook until the wine is reduced (2 minutes).
  • Add the tinned tomatoes, tomato paste, and chill flakes and stir well. Now return the chicken pieces to the mixture and simmer on the stove top with the lid on for 40 minutes until the meat starts falling off the bone. Add in the olives and simmer for a further 10 minutes with the lid off to allow the sauce to thicken up. Enjoy!

Gratzie Mille and see you in ! M + B x

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