Most Mauritian houses have Italian food on their dinner tables, and we frequently rely on pasta, pizzas, and risottos to fulfill our appetites. When it comes to pasta - penne, lasagne, spaghetti, macaroni, pizza, and ravioli, to name a few - there are so many types to select from, both vegetarian and non-vegetarian, that you can toss them in a variety of sauces, herbs, veggies, and meats and enjoy a full dinner. Pizzas baked at home are also a popular choice for a quick lunch during game nights or family gatherings.
Here are our top 15 Italian recipes that you should try at home or order in an Italian restaurant in Mauritius. Buon appetito!
Risotto is a traditional northern Italian meal that can be prepared in countless ways. It's creamy and full of cheese, and it's made with northern rice kinds including Arborio, Carnaroli, and Vialone, which are cooked gently in broth. Risotto is a dish that can be made in a variety of ways
The "risotto alla milanese," which is made with white wine, Parmesan cheese, butter, onions, and saffron, which gives it its distinctive yellow hue, is one of the most popular. However, different ingredients like pumpkin, red radicchio, mushrooms, sausage, or seafood can be used.
Pizza. If we're talking about Italian food, pizza is unavoidable: it's a national emblem, a food that represents Italy around the world, and it's been designated as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO.
Every pizza maker has its own secrets, and each pizza, which is created from flour, water, brewer's yeast, and salt, can be stuffed or topped in a variety of ways.
The first pizza was made in Naples, southern Italy, near the end of the 18th century in honor of Margherita di Savoia, Queen of Italy. It has a high "cornicione" (edge) on the outside and a lower core, and it is rigorously baked in a wood-fired oven.
With its tomato sauce, mozzarella, and basil, the "pizza Margherita" is the most famous and basic of pizzas, evoking the colors of the national flag.
Pasta is another sign, a national icon that is loved all over the world. Born in Sicily, it quickly expanded its manufacturing to neighboring seaside locations that at the time had ports and a suitable temperature for product drying. Naples and Imperia are two of the most well-known places.
However, Rome became the metropolis of spaghetti and the birthplace of "spaghetti alla carbonara." It came about practically by accident, thanks to the inventiveness of a young Bologna cook who combined bacon, egg yolk, milk, cream, and cheese.
Bacon, egg yolk, and cheese are now included in the recipe, which hasn't altered much over the years. In the Italian capital, "bucatini al cacio e pepe" (butter, pepper, and pecorino cheese) are also popular. The key is to combine them at the appropriate times. The "penne all'arrabbiata"—pasta with a spicy tomato sauce—is another popular pasta dish.
Another popular Italian pasta dish is "tagliatella al ragù," which is made with long-cooked meat and tomato sauce and originated in Bologna.
Tiramisù is one of Italy's most famous and envied national sweets, now known all over the world.
This cold spoon dish hails from the Veneto region and is said to have aphrodisiac properties. It's made with a base of Savoiardi biscuits dipped in coffee and Marsala (a liqueur wine), mascarpone cream, eggs, and sugar, and topped with chocolate powder.
We had to follow the pasta with gnocchi, another traditional Italian meal. Gnocchi are little potato dough rounds. Each location has its own twist, although cheese, spinach, eggs, and a variety of sauces are the most common ingredients.
6. Pesto alla Genovese
Pesto is a delight from the Ligurian city of Genoa. A simple sauce made with 7 key ingredients: Genoese basil DOP, extra virgin olive oil preferably from the Ligurian Riviera, Parmesan cheese, Pecorino cheese, pine nuts, garlic, and salt.
Perfect for seasoning dry and packed pasta, as well as croutons.
Lasagne is another staple of Italian cuisine. Layers of fresh spaghetti are topped in béchamel sauce and the famous "ragù bolognese" in this baked dish from Bologna.
Slowly and for a long time, a sauce made of sautéed celery, onion, and carrot is added to chunks of beef, pork, and concentrated tomato.
8. Carbonara spaghetti
Rome is known as the "Capital of Spaghetti," and "Carbonara" has contributed significantly to this, becoming one of our country's most famous meals over time.
It began with bacon, powdered egg yolk, milk cream, and cheese, all foods available to the allies who conquered Italy, and the ingenuity of a young Bologna cook who combined them as a pasta dressing while cooking a meal for American officers.
The recipe has evolved slightly throughout time, and now incorporates guanciale (added in the 1960s) in place of bacon, as well as egg yolk and cheese. The cream was phased out in favor of the taste of the recipe as time went on.
The carbonara is accompanied by the mythical "amatriciana," originally from Amatrice on the border with Abruzzo (bacon, pecorino cheese, and tomato), or its ancestor, the "gricia" (same ingredients but without tomato), or the "cacio e pepe," a fusion of pecorino cheese, black pepper, and pasta cooking water, in a gastronomic tour of a Rome capital of pasta.
These delectable meals are not typically served with spaghetti: amatriciana is nearly always served with "bucatini" and cacio e pepe with "tonnarelli."
Ribollita is a country soup from Tuscany that dates back to the Middle Ages and is a symbol of impoverished people's diet. According to legend, peasant families in those days were numerous and unable to afford meat, so they made enormous quantities of soup with the items accessible in the countryside. To increase the volume, they also added bread. The soup was kept for several weeks and warmed several times.
Today, it's a tasty, quick-to-prepare dish that combines veggies, beans, herbs, olive oil, and Parmesan cheese with dry bread pieces.
10. Gelato (Ice cream)
It is a traditional Italian dish that is enjoyed all year. It is consumed during walks, as a snack, or as a dessert after a meal. There are hundreds of varieties, and it is more consistent and richer than other "semifreddos." It will not be difficult to identify locations in Italy that do it correctly.
11. Tortelli with ravioli
In Italy, the stuffed pasta family is quite big. Almost every location, from north to south, has its unique preparation. And many are well-known, such as Emilia's "tortellini," made of pork with prosciutto and mortadella and served in a meat broth, and the dry "tortelli," stuffed with herbs, pumpkin, or potatoes and served with butter and cheese.
Piedmont's "Agnolotti del plin," packed with a variety of meats and vegetables, are eaten with roast sauce or butter and sage.
Traditional Ligurian ravioli are stuffed with tomato-sauced meat, chard, and borage, or filled with fish.
12. Pistachio Panna Cotta
Finish your meal in the Italian style! Panna cota is a gelatin-based dessert made with cream and milk. Chilled and garnished with chopped pistachios. In Italian, Panna Cotta means 'baked cream.' This is a simple and quick dessert to make for a house gathering. You can make this Italian delicacy with only a few ingredients and enjoy it!
With the goodness of egg, flour, sugar, raisins, candied orange, lemon, and cherries, panettone is a fantastic Christmas or New Year's dessert.
14. Tartufo (the truffle)
Italian truffles add a distinct flavor to appetizers, meats, and mushrooms, and they're also used as flakes in some side dishes.
Truffles are as pricey as they are tasty, and are known for their extravagance. White truffles are the most well-known and sought-after, and they can be found in Alba, Piedmont, where you can sample delectable delicacies and take part in a truffle festival.
15. Fritto Panzerotto (fried panzerotto)
Crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, a little crescent of pizza dough filled with mozzarella and tomato. It can be purchased and eaten hot as a snack in the alleys of Bari or in countless varieties in any rotisserie throughout Puglia.
The panzerotto comes from the 17th century and was created by a housewife who used the few ingredients she had on hand to create a culinary wonder.