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Pasta and its many varieties

Pasta, like pizza, has made Italian cuisine famous throughout the world. In Italy there are many kinds of this product and they differ in ingredients, shapes, processes and methods of cooking. In addition, each recipe uses precise formats, so as to create a perfect combination of pasta and ingredients.
The types of pasta vary from one region to another, but also from one location to another in the same region, some over time have had a national spread, or international as spaghetti, while others have remained the exclusive heritage of their places of origin.
Among different processing methods and more or less bizarre names, the world of pasta is rich and varied, let’s discover some of its characteristics together.

Processing methods

A first fundamental difference concerns fresh and dry pasta. The first must be kept in the fridge and consumed within a few days, the second, the classic dry pasta, if stored at room temperature in the pantry, can last for several months.
Dry pasta can be stored for a long time because, thanks to the drying method, it is dehydrated during processing, thus preventing the proliferation of bacteria. Even if for convenience we tend to prefer dry pasta, we also allow ourselves the pleasure of eating fresh pasta sometimes, making sure, however, that it has been prepared and preserved with care.

There is an infinite number of shapes of pasta on the market with different costs, how to find your way around? Surely you should prefer products that are bronze drawn, a process carried out at low drying temperatures to preserve the nutritional properties of the ingredients.
The products made by artisan companies offer a higher quality both for the raw materials chosen, both for the attention they pay to the processing methods. The work of the pasta makers is based on an ancient art, which is handed down from generation to generation. Even if they continue to apply these consolidated techniques, some of them do not give up trying to distinguish themselves by combining traditional products with alternatives that capture the attention of consumers.

Each ingredient has its own pasta

Have you ever wondered why there are so many shapes and sizes of pasta? First of all to arouse the curiosity of consumers, small or large, and then because not all shapes are suitable for every ingredient. Let’s take a few examples:
1) Let’s say: Cacio e pepe, we are implying the use of long pasta, spaghetti or tonnarelli, because they blend better with the creamy sauce of this dish, typical of the Roman cuisine. A simple recipe, but extremely tasty, which includes only three ingredients: salt, black pepper and pecorino romano.
2) Spaghetti and clams are inseparable by tradition and to ensure the right creaminess to this dish with only few ingredients, long pasta is the best choice.
3) And what about the Amatriciana? Bucatini or spaghetti are the perfect shapes! This ancient recipe, born in Amatrice, was originally without tomato and had the name of Gricia (typical dish of Lazio cuisine, still very popular today). The addition of tomatoes to the other ingredients, peppery guanciale (cured pork cheek) and pecorino romano, is subsequent to their being imported from the Americas. For both the Amatriciana and the Gricia, rigatoni are a valid alternative to spaghetti and bucatini.
4) If we move to the south of the boot, in Puglia we find the orecchiette with turnip tops (also called “strascinati”). The recipe requires that the pasta is cooked with vegetables and sautéed with garlic, oil and anchovies, the orecchiette are perfect to ensure a good result.

The pasta, as well as for its shape and production, also differs for the flours used in the dough. For example, Tacconi, originating in the Marche region, has wheat flour and broad bean flour in the dough; the gnocchi are prepared with potatoes, flour, eggs and salt.  Rice, buckwheat and corn flours are some of the flours used to produce gluten-free pasta.
The shapes and recipes that characterize this traditional dish of Italian cuisine are numerous. You are spoilt for choice between tradition and innovation!
If you are passionate about pasta, and in particular the typical dishes of Roman cuisine, il Piccolo Mondo is the restaurant for you, we are waiting for you!
For reservations please contact us at 06 42016034.

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Eggplant: a summer vegetable that’s good for you!

Did you know that eggplants, besides being good and suitable for the preparation of numerous recipes, are also healthy?
There are different varieties of this typically summer vegetable, and they differ in shape, color and flavor, which can be more or less decisive. There are eggplants with an oval, round or elongated shape. The colors are dark purple, violet or a lighter color with purplish streaks.

The dishes that can be prepared are numerous and range from first courses, to second courses if used to prepare tasty meatballs, to seasonal side dishes. Let’s discover together the characteristics, the properties and the different ways to eat them by preparing appetizing summer recipes.

 

Properties

The eggplant is rich in nutrients and fibers, which have numerous advantages including reducing the absorption of sugars by the body, promoting intestinal transit and making this vegetable easily digestible. The eggplant also has a low-calorie content, gives a feeling of satiety so it is advisable for those preparing for the “bikini test!”.
It is rich in potassium and other minerals and the high percentage of water makes it a purifying food. It contains several antioxidant substances that are good for the heart and brain. These include chlorogenic acid, which helps to reduce LDL cholesterol, which is harmful to the body, and counteracts the action of free radicals.

 

But the properties of eggplants do not end here…

Would you ever have said that this vegetable is also good for bones and for those who have anemia problems? Yes, it is! Eggplants contain some phenolic compounds that promote bone density and are rich in calcium and iron.
After the quick reference to some of the many properties of this plant, let’s find out together how to enjoy it in the kitchen.

 

To each of you, your own recipe…

For eggplants lovers there is really an embarrassment of riches! The ways in which they can be prepared are numerous and suitable to satisfy all palates.
An appetizer, fresh and inviting, is the eggplant carpaccio prepared with grilled eggplants and marinated with an emulsion composed of olive oil, lemon juice, mint leaves and basil, garlic and black pepper.
As seasoning for an excellent first course you can prepare them by cutting them into chunks and after frying the garlic and onion in a pan, pour the eggplants and brown over low heat for about ten minutes. Then add fresh tomatoes peeled and cut into pieces, basil, salt and chilli and complete cooking.
They are very good as a side dish grilled in the oven with zucchini, potatoes, carrots, celery, onion, parsley, olive oil, salt and breadcrumbs.

These are of course just some of the many recipes that can be prepared with this versatile vegetable.
If you love it, in the restaurant “il Piccolo Mondo” you can enjoy the traditional eggplants with parmesan cheese, prepared with an emulsion of basil, or a side dish of the season in which the eggplants are accompanied by zucchini, peppers and mushrooms. Seasonal dishes that will give you a fresh summer evening.
For reservations please contact us at +39 06 42016034.

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Asparagus: tasty for those who love them and nutricious for everyone!

When spring comes, it brings a mild weather and a lot of beautiful colors. In the same time asparagus reach our tables. In addition to being delicious, they provide nutritional benefits to the body.
Rich in fiber, these vegetables got folic acid, vitamins (in particular vitamins A, C and K) and mineral salts.

Recent studies show how eating asparagus may prevent Type 2 diabetes, as one of the mineral salts they contain favors the glucose absorption in the body. They are also rich in potassium, a useful blood pressure and muscles proper functioning regulator, especially for the heart, in addition to being all-natural diuretics. They are low in calories and rich in asparagine, a useful substance to prevent muscle fatigue. Then, let’s eat a lot of these healty vegetables!

 

To each Italian place their own asparagus…

The majority of asparagus is green in colour, but there are also white (with a more delicate taste), pink and purple varieties too. In Italy, each colour has several varieties that change from place to place. A lot of different white asparagus can be found in Bassano, Padova, Cimadolmo, Rivoli Veronese.

The Lombard variety of Mezzago known as one of the white type, is actually pink. Among the purple asparagus varieties is the one from Albenga, very sweet, eatable row making carpaccio and furthermore the violet asparagus of Cilavegna.
Asparagus can be both wild and cultivated. Wild asparagus are called “asparagina”, a variety typical of woodland and rural areas.

 

How to cook asparagus: from appetizers to side dishes…

Asparagus can be cooked in a number of ways to serve tasty appetizers, delicious first courses or light and healty side dishes. Among the most common recipes we recall risotto, pasta and omelet. As for cooking, steaming is advisable as it preserves the nutritional properties of the vegetable and enhances its flavor. Steaming can be used to make delicious buns with asparagus and capers, appetizers, first courses and side dishes.

Asparagus can be also boiled to make risottos, lasagna with asparagus and ham or as a side dish seasoned with olive oil, salt and lemon. As a side dish they are also good sautéed. Try the combinations with curry, white pepper, dill and mustard to make the most of their flavor.

At the Piccolo Mondo restaurant you can taste asparagus in their different preparations. We are waiting for you!

Reservation at + 39 06 42016034.