beyond pizza and pasta
Treat your taste buds with these tasty Italian dishes
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The range of tasty Italian food is pretty wide – contrary to what I used to believe earlier. In what follows, I will be writing about some of the Italian delicacies that my husband acquainted me with.
“What’s all that jazz about pizzas and pastas?” – That’s what I always used to think whenever someone started praising Italian food in front of me. Right from when I was a little girl, I have had a love affair with Chinese cuisine – and it still ranks right at the top of my preferred food varieties. Then again, fate had to intervene – I went on a vacation trip to Dublin, Ireland, and met Laurent – my future boyfriend and husband there. Can you guess what type of food he was most fond of? That’s right – Italian! With patient, persistent coaxing, Laurent made me understand that Italian cuisine had a lot more to offer than only pizzas and pastas. We have been married for a couple of years now, and generally dine out every weekend at some of the finest Dublin restaurants. Chinese is still great – but yes, Italian food has grown on me!
There are certain Italian dishes that Laurent loves in particular, and he has made me try each and every one of them. While I won’t say that I have liked all of them uniformly – if you are a fan of Italian delicacies, you might find them wonderful indeed. Read on about Laurent’s preferences, and let us know whether you like them, too:
• Stuffed fish balls – No, it’s not the stereotypical soup or spicy chicken wings that is the starter of choice for Laurent. We often dine at the renowned Toscana restaurant in Dublin, and he generally orders for the tasty (and healthy, too!) Polpette preparation. These fish balls are indeed delicious!
• Arborio Rice – More unconventional choice from Laurent – and again one that I find rather nice, too. The croquettes prepared with the Arborio rice are light and non-oily, and the fresh mozzarella cheese that is added to the dish increases its tastiness further. If you prefer your starters to be healthy, this is one Italian dish you will definitely like!
• Tuscan chicken pasta – Pasta makes its (rather predictable!) appearance on the list of Laurent’s dishes of choice – but I find only one of the varieties to be actually worth a mention. We have tried different pastas at the top Italian restaurants in Dublin, and I have liked only the chicken pasta, cooked in Tuscan style, to be really tasty. Sorry to all pasta fans out there – but the rest seem to be rather similar (and consequently boring!).
• Roast chicken – If you are planning to come down to Dublin anytime soon – you simply have to try the roasted chicken at the Toscana restaurant over here. Garnished with fresh, fried veggies and the delightful gorgonzola cream, this preparation is a far cry from all the typical Italian side dishes. Grilled chicken is yet another Italian dish that I have come to adore. Laurent and I had first tried it at the Continental Treat Fine Bistro in Edmonton, during our honeymoon – and it has since become a pretty regular entry in our dining menu!
• Risotto – I personally prefer spaghetti preparations, but my hubby insists that risotto is tastier! I definitely do not like the vegetarian risotto that he so fancies – but the version with fresh seafood in it is not actually bad. You can also check out the duck risotto, if you are up for some experimentation with food.
• Dessert – Not much over here that I can be grumpy about. Who does not like strawberry ice creams with yummy chocolate sauce, anyway? I don’t like tiramisu by the way – it’s rather too plain for my liking. You can treat your taste buds with this traditional Italian dessert, of course – it’s only that I have failed to see what makes it so special!
During our honeymoon, we also learned the value of complementing Italian meals with the correct pairing of drinks. I first tried red wine (I did not drink earlier) at one of the best European restaurants in Edmonton – and still order it during our weekly dinner binges. Pamper yourself with Italian food of the finest quality – its way more delicious than what I earlier believed it to be!