11 ways to pretend you’re in Italy right now

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    Tastebud travels Italy Easy Food covid-19

    We can’t travel right now, but our tastebuds can! Use your mealtimes to transport yourself to more exotic surroundings — from the safety of your kitchen. In this edition, we’re jetting off to la bella Italia

     

    Pizza

    Is pizza the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Italian food? Yep, us too — although, in fairness, pizza is on our minds most of the time. Check out this collection of some of our all-time favourite pizza recipes.

    Quick Margherita pizza Easy Food

    Salad

    This vibrant, colourful tomato, peach, prosciutto and goat’s cheese salad is the perfect sweet-meets-salty dish, with ripe tomatoes and juicy peaches providing that summery feeling.

    Tomato, peach, prosciutto and goat’s cheese salad | Easy Food

     

    Pasta

    Cacio e pepe is a Roman classic, and is one of the most simple dinners you can pull together. It requires just a handful of ingredients and can be on the table in 15 minutes. Add a handful of mixed leaves and dinner is served!

    Cacio e Pepe Easy Food
    Cacio e pepe: because the Italians know better than anyone that sometimes simple is best.

    If you’re looking to ramp up the flavour, try this ultimate slow-cooked beef ragù — you’ll never look at a standard Bolognese sauce the same way again.

    Better-than-bolognese Easy Food
    Cooked low-and-slow, this beef ragù is intensely rich and flavourful.

     

    Focaccia

    It seems like everyone’s getting into baking these days, so why not take the time to make your own focaccia from scratch? This garlic and rosemary version is so easy that the hardest part will be sourcing the flour and yeast!

    Garlic rosemary focaccia Italian bread Easy Food
    Could this garlic rosemary focaccia be the perfect weekend baking project?

     

    Nibbly bits

    Bruschetta make fantastic crowd-pleasers and lovely for casual grazing. If you’re lucky enough to have a garden, why not make a selection of toppings and enjoy outdoors with a glass (or two) of chilled Pinot Grigio?

    You’ll find our best tips for making bruschetta here.

    Grilled aubergine bruschettas Easy Food
    These grilled aubergine bruschetta make ideal pre-barbecue nibbles.

    A clever street snack hailing from Sicily, arancini are deep-fried rice balls: crunchy crumb shells filled with gooey, unctuous risotto and often stuffed with cheese, meat or other hidden treasures. If you’re making risotto, make extra. You’ll want these tomorrow.

    Arancini stuffed rice balls Easy Food

     

    Something sweet

    Yet another example of the sheer food perfection achieved by the Sicilians, cannoli consist of crunchy fried shells filled with creamy, sweetened ricotta. If you’re up for a bit of a challenge, this could be the dessert for you.

    Cannoli easy food
    Creamy. Crunchy. Sweet. YES.

    Another classic from the land of good food is panna cotta, that silky smooth dessert beloved by dairy addicts everywhere (myself included). Top yours with stewed rhubarb for a seasonal treat.

    Perfect panna cotta Easy Food
    It tastes as good as it looks!
    And to drink…

    The Aperol spritz has been on-trend for the past two summers, and for good reason — it’s delicious! The good news is it’s also incredibly easy to make at home.

    Aperol spritz easy Food
    Close your eyes and imagine you’re outside an Italian café, sipping one of these at aperitivo hour.

    Not a fan of Aperol? Here are four alternative ideas for refreshing Prosecco-based cocktails that are sure to perk up your evening.

    Prosecco cocktails Easy Food
    Add a flavoursome twist to that bottle of fizz with these easy cocktail recipes.

     

    Buon appetito on your virtual trip to Italy! Next week, we’ll be taking your tastebuds to China (or, at least, to the Irish version of Chinese food!). Stay tuned.