We know for foodies like you there’s no substitute for authentic flavor. Sure, you can find plenty of foods made in the style of real Italian food, but they’re mere facsimiles. Like a reprint of a classic painting, It’s similar, but assuredly not the same.
To find the very best of the foods naturally associated with Italy—fine aged cheeses, vibrant tomatoes, the purest of olive oils—we traveled straight to the source… then traveled some more! We saw sun-kissed coasts and sky-high mountain ranges, but the most memorable part of the trip was meeting the artisans who made the foods listed below.
It’s because these craftsmen and craftswomen follow generations-old traditions and use ingredients grown in Italy’s rich soil, or those picked from vines brushed by gentle Mediterranean breezes, that you can enjoy a true taste of Italy from your own home.
Principato di Lucedio is one of Italy’s finest rice growing estates. For more than 800 years they’ve grown rice with exceptional flavor and aroma in the fertile flood plains surrounding their estate in the heart of the Piedmont region. It’s harvested by hand once a year and husked only when orders are received to ensure exceptional freshness.
Italy’s finest pasta hails from Abruzzo, home to fertile soil, salty Adriatic breezes and pure Apennine mountain spring water. It’s in Abruzzo that artisan pasta maker Gianluigi Peduzzi and his family maintain proud pasta making traditions his grandfather started in 1924. They use top-quality, stone-ground hard durum wheat and pure mountain spring water, and extrude the pasta through hand-carved bronze dies for a rustic texture that holds sauce beautifully. It’s dense, flavorful, and perfectly al dente every time.
Since 1899, the Mutti family has shared their passion for everything that goes into their 100% Italian tomatoes: the sun, soil, rain and heart of their people in Parma, Italy. These vibrant red tomatoes or, in Italian, "Polpa," provide a naturally sweet, fresh taste cultivated over four generations. These non-GMO tomatoes have just a touch of Mediterranean Sea salt and no additives or preservatives. And their unique consistency makes them a great fit for recipes calling for chopped, diced or crushed tomatoes.
Quench body and soul with our pure and natural Market District Italian sparkling mineral water. Sourced from springs first discovered by ancient Romans at the peak of San Lorenzo Monte (known as Paradiso), it is bottled in Rimini, Italy and imported to tickle your fancy.
At Ponti vinegar mill the art of making exceptional vinegar has been handed down from father to son since 1867. Nine generations of knowledge go into their DOCG Red Wine Vinegar Chianti, known for intense flavor, marked with acidity and a big personality. Suitable for seasoning green and mixed salads, it’s also lovely combined with roasted and grilled meats. Add two teaspoons to fruit salad with strawberries, one hour before eating and indulge in its exalted aromas and flavor.
What makes an olive oil authentically Italian is its P.D.O. (Protected Designation of Origin) & PGI (Protected Geographical Indication) designations, which are given to few. Bono is one of the rare olive oils traceable back to the very olives used to make it. In fact, each bottle receives its own unique serial number. Delicate and persistent with a fruity flavor, it’s a marvelous seasoning used on vegetables, soup, salad and above all, hot bread and bruschetta. Enjoy all of the goodness of Sicily from a true Sicilian.
• Extra Virgin Olive Oil P.D.O
• P.D.O. Val di Mazara — 100% Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil
The peak of flavor fittingly comes from Italy’s Dolomite mountain range. Here on the banks of the Piave River, the freshest ingredients and traditional cheesemaking methods are used to create varieties like Piave Medium. Aged for only six months, it has a far milder appeal than its counterparts and a sweet, nutty flavor comparable to fresh milk and yogurt. It melts amazingly and is a great addition to sweet and savory dishes alike.
Handmade in the tradition of centuries past, Toketti is a must-try snack. It’s made with fried strips of the Sardinian flatbread know as Pane Carasau, which was originally made for shepherds fleeing the Arabic invasion who needed a bread that wouldn’t go bad. In the present day, it never goes bad because it’s too addictive to last long enough.
If you prefer your cheese to be pungent, we present Italy’s quintessential washed-rind cow’s milk cheese. Rind washing is a way to create an exterior that not only protects the cheese inside, it also helps the unmistakable flavor and aroma form. Master affineur Ambrogio Arnoldi and his family have been making Taleggio in this manner for generations in the heart of Valtaleggio. Their well-formed pink rind protects the billowy, mildly funky paste inside.
Enjoyed as much today as it was in ancient Italy, this pressed and cooked cheese is perfect on entrees, sides, salads and, of course, with bread. It’s aged for a minimum of five months, which allows it to develop a strong, sharp taste reminiscent of Parmigiano Reggiano.
Compliments of AUTENTICO: Cooking Italian, the Authentic Way by Rolando Beramendi, Spaghetti alla Nicolina is the creation of Nicolina Sergiacomo Peduzzi, from the family behind Rustichella d’Abruzzo pasta. The recipe is composed of just four ingredients: zucchini, Pecorino Romano, olive oil, and, of course, Rustichella d’Abruzzo spaghetti. The zucchini is sliced to various thicknesses and caramelized—almost charred—in a good amount of olive oil before being tossed with cooked spaghetti and plenty of sharp Pecorino Romano.
Prep Time: 35 min.
Cook Time: 10 min.
- 8 medium zucchini, sliced into rounds of different thicknesses (between ¼ to ½-inch thick)
- q.b. Coarse sea salt*
- 1 cup Market District extra-virgin olive oil
- q.b Tellicherry black peppercorns*
- 1 lb. Rustichella d’Abruzzo Spaghetti
- 1 cup grated Emma Pecorino Romano cheese
- Layer the zucchini slices in a colander, seasoning each layer with generous pinch of salt. Set aside to rest for 30 minutes, then rinse and dry the zucchini.
- In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add a quarter of the sliced zucchini, but do not stir. Every 2 to 3 minutes, add another quarter of the zucchini. Once all the zucchini has been added, cook, gently stirring the zucchini every few minutes until the zucchini slices range in color from light gold to dark golden brown, and in texture from soft to crisp, 20 to 25 minutes. Season with pepper.
- While the zucchini is cooking, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Gently add the pasta. Once the pasta is submerged, give it a stir so it doesn’t stick on the bottom. After 4 minutes, taste a strand of pasta for doneness. Continue to taste a strand until the spaghetti is almost al dente, about 10 minutes.
- Drain spaghetti in a colander and immediately add to the zucchini. Sprinkle with cheese and, using tongs, gently lift and toss the spaghetti to mix well. Season with salt and pepper. Bring the skillet to the table and serve immediately in warm pasta bowls.
Recipe from Founder of Manicaretti Italian Food Importers.Shop Italian Imports