the appetizer:

Though there are many individual regional cuisines in Italy, northern and southern Italian cuisines are primarily differentiated by the cooking fat and style of pasta commonly used. Northern Italian cuisine (other than on the coast) favors butter, cream, polenta, Mascarpone, Grana Padano, and Parmigiano cheeses, risotto and fresh egg pasta. Southern Italian cuisine tends toward Mozzarella, Caciocavallo and Pecorino cheeses, olive oil and dried pasta. Southern Italian cuisine also makes greater use of the ubiquitous tomato.

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Cornmeal Bread (Polenta)

6 cups water, salted
2 cups coarse cornmeal

Bring water to a boil in a large pot. Gradually whisk cornmeal into the water, whisking constantly. Reduce heat and continue stirring with a spoon, occasionally, as mixture thickens. This should take about 35 minutes in all. Polenta is cooked when it pulls away from side of pot.

Pour polenta on to a wet work surface. Shape and flatten to a uniform thickness of 1/2 inch. Let cool. Slice or cut into rounds. These can be served as is, fried in olive oil, or grilled, topped with cheese.


Italian Recipes

Pasta, Risotto & You (with recipes)

from Kate's Global Kitchen:

Italian Cookbooks

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This page modified January 2007