Yes, you should buy an Italian dictionary, but until then please see our list of important Italian culinary terms. After all, you need to understand what you are eating!
Abboccato – A slightly sweet wine. The wines of Orvieto most often take this description.
Abbacchio – Milk fed lamb; lamb in general.
Abbuote – A dish from Molise of baked involtini of lamb intestines filled with sweetbreads, hard-boiled eggs and liver.
Abruzzese, all’ – Any dish prepared “in the style of Abruzzo,” such dishes usually contain hot chili peppers called diavolicchio, which are characteristic of the region.
Accarrexiau – A lavish dish of Sardinia in which a whole sheep is stuffed with a suckling pig and roasted over a pit of hot stones.
Acceglio -Cow’s milk cheese from Piedmont. It is a summer cheese and slightly tangy.
Acciuga; pl. acciughe – Anchovies
Accosciare – To truss meat or poultry for roasting on a spit or grilling.
Acerbo – Sour; unripe; harsh.
Aceto balsamico – Balsamic vinegar; the best quality is called “aceto balsamico tradizionale.”
Acido – Sour; acidic; sharp-tasting.
Acqua – Water; acqua minerale is mineral water.
Acqua di Fiora d’Arancia – Orange blossom water used mostly in pastries and desserts.
Acqua Minerale – Bottled mineral water, either sparkling (gassata or frizzante) or flat (naturale).
Acquacotta – Vegetable soup usually spiced with peppers and thickened with bread, sometimes containing egg and cheese.
Affettati – Cold cuts, sliced meats.
Affumicato – Smoked.
Africani – Crisp Tuscan cookies with a dark brown exterior.
Afrodisiaci – Foods said to possess an aphrodisiac quality, like caviar, truffles, and oysters — usually very expensive foods served on romantic occasions.
Agglassato – Sicilian dish of braised beef.
Agliata, all’ – Any dish or condiment made with crushed garlic, bread and vinegar.
Aglio – Garlic; aglio e olio, literally, garlic and (olive) oil; a quick sauce for spaghetti of olive oil and sautèed garlic, sometimes with peperoncino and/or parsley.
Aglio rosso di Sulmona – One of the best and most unusual varieties of garlic in Italy. It is known for its large head and light-red membrane, which covers its cloves.
Agnello – Lamb.
Agnolotti – Ravioli; like pasta usually filled with meat.
Agone – Fresh water shad, the best of which come from Lake Como (Lombardy). It can be cooked or marinated, and is often pickled and placed in a barrel.
Agresto – Unfermented juice of wine grapes, used as a condiment.
Agretto – Grassy spring vegetable of northern Italy.
Agro, all’ – With olive oil and lemon.
Agrodolce – “Sour-sweet.” Any dish or condiment based on sugar and vinegar, often used as a marinade.
Agrumi – Citrus fruits.
Aguglia – Needlefish, usually grilled or stewed.
Ai ferri – Any food cooked over an open fire.
Al dente – “To the tooth,” referring to the tender but firm texture of cooked pasta. This “just-right” texture maintains the most flavor within the pasta itself, which is as important as any sauce added.
Al forno – Any food baked in an oven.
Al fresco – Outdoors, referring to a meal taken outdoors.
Alaccia Africana – Sardine-like fish of the Mediterranean, usually grilled or marinated.
Alalunga – Albacore tuna, which is cooked in the same way as tuna (tonno), often canned either in olive oil or water. Mostly found in Sicilian waters.
Albanesi – Ring-shaped cookies made with wine and olive oil.
Albesi al Barolo – Piedmontese cookies made with chocolate hazelnuts and Barolo wine.
Albicocca – Apricot, not widely cultivated in Italy.
Alborella – A small whitefish of the northern Italian lakes, usually grilled.
Alchermes – A red-colored liqueur made from flowers and spices, traditionally used to make zuppa inglese.
Alcool – General term for alcohol, potable or otherwise. It is usually stated by percent of volume.
Alfabeto – Small pasta shaped like alphabet letters.
Alici – Anchovies, often served fresh.
Alimentare – A general term referring to food, i.e. negozio alimentare, meaning grocery store.
Allodola – Lark, a game bird, not common at the table; when served, it is usually grilled and, because of its small size, eaten with the fingers.
Alloro, foglia di – Bay leaf.
Alosa – Shad.
Alzavola – Teal, a wild duck, usually roasted.
Amabile – Semisweet, usually in reference to a wine, most often one that is sparkling.
Amarena – Sour cherry, usually steeped in alcohol or syrup, used mostly in desserts.
Amaretti – Almond macaroons. At Christmastime they are traditionally grated and combined with cheese as a stuffing for ravioli.
Amaretto – Any food or drink that is almond flavored.
Amaro – Bitter.
Amatriciana – All’ (for pasta) with tomatoes, pecorino and guanciale..
Ammogghio – Sicilian mixed topping of herbs, garlic and olive oil for fish.
Amore polenta – Cornmeal cake typical of Varese, usually made with maraschino liqueur.
Amoretti – Tiny pasta specks cooked in broth.
Ananas – Pineapple.
Anatra col pien – Venetian stuffed duck.
Anchellini – Sicilian ravioli stuffed with meat and fried.
Aneto – Dill, not a popular herb in Italy.
Anguria – Watermelon.
Anice – Anise.
Animelle – Sweetbreads, from the thymus glands of a calf, usually sautéed or grilled, often chopped up and used in pastas as a filling.
Anitra – Duck, also anatra. The wild variety, masaro, is preferred for its flavor, but domestic ducks are raised as a market variety. Ducks are stewed, roasted, or braised, the breasts often grilled or sautéed.
Annata – Wine vintage year.
Anolini – Small ravioli, commonly served in broth.
Anolino – Native to Parma and the surrounding area, this pasta is filled with bread crumbs soaked in dense meat gravy. Eggs and grated cheese are also added as filling. The pasta is cooked and served in a beef broth. – Appetizer, appetizer course; served before the Primo, or pasta course: prosciutto, salami, cheese, roasted or grilled vegetables.
Aperitivo – Aperitif, which in Italy may be a simple glass of wine, a cordial or bitter amaro, or an American-style cocktail, such as a Martini, Negroni, Bellini or Americano, served before the meal.
Apparecchio – A kitchen appliance such as a blender or coffee grinder.
Appassire – To sauté vegetables.
Appiattire – A flat plate or the preparation of a meat by flattening it with a kitchen mallet.
Apribottiglia – Bottle opener (not a corkscrew).
Arachide – Peanut, eaten principally as a snack.
Aragosta – Clawless lobster; rock lobster; (langouste).
Arancia – Orange (the fruit).
Aranciata – Orange drink, orange soda.
Arancini – The name means little oranges, but these are actually deep-fried Rice balls from Sicily. Arancini are popular around central and southern Italy, especially Naples and Rome.
Arbufas – Sardinian raisin gingerbread.
Arca di Noè – “Noah’s Ark.” A mollusk, usually eaten raw.
Aringa – Herring.
Arista – Boneless pork roast, traditionally roasted on a spit with rosemary, thyme, and garlic.
Armelin – Apricot.
Aromi – General term for herbs like rosemary, thyme, basil, and bay leaves.
Arrabiata, all’ – “Angry style.” A pasta sauce made with peperoncino, tomato, and guanciale or pancetta. It is a specialty of Abruzzo and Molise.
Arrosto – Roast, normally meat cooked in an oven or on a spit or grill.
Arrosticini – Skewers of roast sheep meat.
Arsella – Small wedge shell clam, usually consumed on the half shell, raw.
Arsumà – Wine-flavored egg custard, from Piedmont.
Arugula – See rucola.
Asiago – Sharp cow’s milk cheese of the Veneto, named after the area of Asiago in which it is made. Many varieties of Asiago are produced, from fresh and soft to firm and aged.
Asino, Asina – Donkey.
Asparagi – Asparagus; Asparagi selvatici – wild asparagus.
Asparagi di Altedo – A green, slightly bitter asparagus from Altedo, in Emilia-Romagna.
Asparagi di Bassano – Considered the best asparagus in Italy. This asparagus from the Venetian town of Bassano del Grappa is thick, white, and juicy with a slightly bitter flavor.
Asprigno – Somewhat tart or sour.
Assaggio – A taste; Assaggi – little taster or small portions.
Assortito – Assorted foods.
Astaco – Lobster, also astice or aragosta (spiny Mediterranean rock lobster), usually grilled or sautéed, mostly found off the coast of Sardinia.
Attorta – Coiled cake typical of Umbria, made with almonds and lemon.
Avanzi – Leftovers.
Avemarie – “Hail Marys,” short tube-shaped maccheroni.
Azienda Agricola – A farm or estate which produces all or most of the grapes for wine sold under its labels.
Azzurro, pesce – “Blue fish,” including many of the stronger tasting, darker-fleshed fish, such as tonnino, sgombro, aringa, pescespada and acciuga.
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Babà – Ring-shaped yeast cake usually soaked in rum, typical of Naples.
Babà al Rhum – A sweet leavened cake soaked in rum syrup.
Babbaluci – Small snails, cooked in garlic or tomato sauce.
Bacaro – Venetian wine shop or wine bar serving an OMBRETA and CICHETI.
Baccalà – Salted, dried codfish, typically found on menus from Veneto.
Baccala’ mantecato – Venetian specialty of boiled STOCCAFISSO beaten with olive oil into a thick cream.
Baccala’ bacala’ – Salt cod, except in the northeast, where it is air-dried; stockfish (STOCCAFISSO) and salt cod are known as BERTAGNIN.
Baccalà in zimino – A Tuscan codfish recipe. The codfish is cooked in extra-virgin olive oil with vegetables.
Baccelone – Livornese soft ewe’s milk cheese. It is traditionally accompanied by fava beans.
Baci – “Kisses.” Chocolate-hazelnut candies, a specialty of the Perugina Company.
Baci di dama – “Lady’s kisses,” chocolate-covered almond cookies, from Piedmont.
Baggiano – Fava beans shelled and cooked fresh or dried and reconstituted in water.
Bagna cauda – “Hot sauce.” Piedmontese dipping sauce made with anchovies and garlic, usually served warm. When almost finished the leftover oil is used to cook eggs.
Bagnèt – A sauce used to accompany bollito misto. Red and green versions are common.
Bagnomaria – Double boiler. A technique used to heat food or leftovers.
Bagnum – Fresh anchovies cooked in tomato sauce, a specialty of Liguria.
Bagoss – Lombardian hard grating cheese.
Baicoli – “Little jokes,” orange-flavored Veneto cookies, traditionally dipped in red wine.
Ballotte – Chestnuts boiled and flavored with fennel or bay leaves.
Balsamico – Balsamic vinegar, the best coming traditionally from Modena. It is made from a cooked grape must known as saba, then aged for several years, with some vinegars dating back a century or more. The finest have a DOC. designation, with the oldest, extra vecchio, being a minimum of twenty-five years old. Younger commercial versions, made outside of Modena, are widely sold. Once considered a rare gift for close friends and a form of concentrated medicine, balsamic vinegar is now used as a salad dressing, sauce flavoring, and condiment.
Bamborino – Beef flank.
Bambuzene di Santa Caterina – “St. Catherine’s dolls,” Ravenna cookie shaped like dolls.
Banana – Banana, a fruit only imported into Italy since the end of World War II.
Bandiera, la – Apulian dish made with arugula and basil, potatoes and pasta, and tomato — symbolizing the three colors of the Italian flag (green, white, red) also knows as il tricolore.
Bar – Italian version of a coffee shop.
Barba di frate – “Monk’s beard,” a wild bitter grass, used as a salad green.
Barbabietola – Beets.
Barbagliata – Espresso coffee mixed with cocoa.
Basilico – Basil.
Bastarduno – Smyra fig or prickly pear.
Batsoà – “Silk stockings,” a Piedmontese dish of pig’s feet in batter, fried in butter.
Batticarne – Meat pounder.
Bauernbrot – Alto-Adige brown rye bread, similar to those in Austria and Germany.
Bauletta – Small Mantuan bread roll or a cheese-and-ham stuffed ravioli from Friuli.
Bava, alla – Any dish in which cheese is melted into thin strands.
Bavarese – Bavarian cream, a cold egg custard, which may or may not have originated in Bavaria. It can be molded and chilled, then decorated with fruit.
Bavette, Bavettine – Pasta similar to Linguine.
Bavosa – Blenny fish, usually cooked in soups.
Beccaccia – Woodcock, a small game bird, usually roasted or grilled.
Beccaccino – Snipe, a small game bird, which requires barding with fat to make flavorful before grilling.
Beccafico – Warbler, a game bird. Also, a Sicilian stuffed eggplant dish.
Bel Paese – “Beautiful Country.” A soft, mild Lombardian cow’s milk cheese created in 1929 and named after a beloved children’s book.
Ben cotto – Well done.
Bensone – Lemon-flavored sponge cake, from Modena.
Bere – To drink.
Bergamotto – Bergamot, a citrus fruit similar to an orange, usually made into marmalade.
Berlingozzo – Ring cake flavored with anise, from Piedmont.
Bertagnin – Salt cod.
Besciamella – A rich sauce made from flour, butter and milk. It is used as a layering sauce in lasagna, as well as a pasta sauce or dressing for vegetables.
Bevenda – General term for beverage or drink.
Bevande – Beverages, drinks.
Bianchetti – Anchovy or whitefish spawn, usually boiled or fried.
Bianchi di spagna – Large white kidney beans.
Bianco d’uovo – Egg white, used in making fluffy desserts.
Biancomangiare – Jellied white custard, flavored with pistachios and almonds.
Bibita, pl.bibite – Beverage, drink.
Bicchiere – Drinking glass.
Bicchierino – Paper cup for ice cream.
Bicerine – Piedmontese beverage made with chocolate, coffee and milk.
Bietola – Swiss chard.
Biga – Bread starter.
Bigio – Bread loaf made with both white and whole wheat flours.
Bignè – Pastry puff or fritter, often filled with sweet creams, sometimes with cheese.
Bigoli – Thick spaghetti made with whole wheat or buckwheat flour.
Biova – Piedmontese lard bread.
Biraldo – Fresh blood sausage.
Biroldo – A type of Tuscan sausage with raisins and pine nuts.
Birra – Beer.
Birra rossa or scura – Dark beer.
Birra chiara – Light beer.
Birreria – Brewery.
Bisato – Venetian dialect for eel.
Biscotti – Generic term for cookies.
Bistecca – Beef steak (though the term also applies to veal or pork chop), the best known version being bistecca alla fiorentina, a very thick, well-aged T-bone (lombata) rubbed with olive oil and cooked over charcoal.
Bitto – Soft cow’s milk cheese, from Valtellina (Lombardy). When aged it is intended for grating.
Blanc manger – A dish common to Val d’Aosta consisting of ground almonds, almond milk, melted lard, and sugar. Older versions tended to be more savory, with the inclusion of chicken.
Blau forelle – Blue trout, usually cooked in white wine and vinegar, which reacts chemically with the fish’s skin to color it blue. Typical of Trentino Alto Adige.
Bobici – Friulian bean, potato, corn and ham soup.
Bocca di dama – “Lady’s mouth,” sponge cake.
Bocca d’oro – “Golden mouth,” croaker fish.
Bocca nera – “Black mouth,” dogfish.
Bocconcino – Any bite-sized food, as the word simply means “little mouthful”; most often used for stewed veal; little fried rolls or balls of veal, ham, and cheese; small balls of mozzarella.
Boero – Liqueur-filled chocolate candy with a cherry center.
Boga – Bogue fish, usually grilled or prepared with tomato sauce.
Bollicine – Bubbles, perlage.
Bollito – Boiled.
Bollito misto – “Mixed boil.” A dish of boiled meats and vegetables in broth, often served with a salsa verde of basil, olive oil, garlic and walnuts. Although a homestyle dish, this can be a very elaborate one in a ristorante. In Piedmont the gran bui is served from a rolling cart, with the broth ladled onto the plate..
Bolognese, alla – Outside Bologna, and especially outside Italy, the term designates a substantial meat sauce for pasta ; in Bologna the sauce is known simply as a ragu.
Bolzanese – Fruit and nut buns, from Bolzano.
Bombixeddas – Sardinian meatballs, usually made with lamb.
Bombo di riso – A casserole of squib, chicken, and onions cooked in rice with tomato and white wine.
Bomboloni – Yeast doughnuts, often filled with cream or chocolate.
Bonèt – Piedmontese chocolate custard.
Bonassai – Sardinian ewe’s milk cheese.
Bongo – Florentine profiterole of puff pastry stuffed with pastry cream.
Bonito – Bonito fish, cooked as a steak on the grill or canned like tuna.
Boraggine – Borage whose flowers are used in salads.
Bordatino – Tuscan soup with corn flour, beans, vegetables, and (sometimes) fish.
Borlanda – Cabbage and vegetable soup, from Piedmont.
Borlengo – Large Emilia-Romagna savory crêpes.
Borlotti – Red and white beans, stewed or served as a side dish with olive oil and garlic.
Boscaiola, alla – “Woodsman’s style.” Pasta sauce made with wild mushrooms, tomato and fried eggplant.
Bosco – Woods; wild; misto di bosco, mixed berries.
Bosega – Gray mullet, whose dried roe sac is used to make bottarga.
Bottagio – A dish of goose braised with savoy cabbage a specialty of Piacenza and of the Santa Lucia celebration (December 13).
Bottarga – Dried roe sac of gray mullet or tuna. It is sliced very thin or grated and used in salads and on pasta.
Botte – Barrel.
Bottega – Shop.
Bottiglia – Bottle.
Bovolo – Snail.
Bra – Strong Piedmontese cow’s milk cheese.
Brace, alla – Grilled over an open fire or coals.
Braciola – Chop of cutlet, usually pork but also lamb, beef, or game (and even fish).
Bramata – A fine cornmeal used in polenta.
Brandacujon – Ligurian stew made with stockfish, potatoes and olive oil.
Branzi – Cow’s and goat’s milk cheese from Bergamo.
Branzino – Sea bass, a prized, firm-fleshed fish that is grilled, roasted, or baked. It is often served cold.
Brasato – Braised beef or pot roast , often al Barolo, which is red wine.
Bresaola – Air-dried filet of beef from Valtellina (Lombardy). As an appetizer it is sliced very thin and served with lemon and olive oil.
Brigidini – Tuscan anise-flavored wafers.
Brioche – Not usually the French brioche, but generically breakfast pastries; pronounced as in French, Brioche is called also cornetto, because of its shape.
Broccolo – Broccoli, also broccoletti, usually boiled or steamed, sautéed in olive oil and garlic or served cold with olive oil and lemon.
Brodetto – A general term for any fish soup or chowder.
Brovada – Turnips marinated with grape pomace and cured.
Bruglione – Tuscan sautéed dish of mushrooms, garlic and potatoes.
Bruscandoli – Wild greens, used in salads or as a sautéed vegetable.
Bruschetta – Toasted bread rubbed with garlic and drizzled with olive oil, sometimes with the addition of tomatoes or other toppings.
Brustolini, Bruscolini – Toasted zucca (squash) seeds.
Brut – Dry (sparkling wine).
Brutti ma buone – “Ugly but good,” dry cookies made with hazelnuts and egg whites.
Bruz – Leftover pieces of goat cheese are mixed and sealed in pots with brandy, olive oil, chili, vinegar, salt, and peppercorns to create this spicy cheese dish.
Bucatini – Long thick spaghetti with a small hole, almost always served all’ Amatriciana or alla Gricia.
Buccellato – Tuscan raisin-anise cake.
Buco – “Hole” or “small space,” a term is used in Tuscany to refer to a typical cellar trattoria.
Buddaci – Comber fish, usually cooked in soup.
Budella – Intestines, especially that of lamb. The whole intestines, or chitterlings, may be grilled, while the casings are used to make sausage.
Budino – Pudding, both savory and sweet.
Bue – Beef.
Bufalo, Bufala – Water buffalo, the meat of which is eaten in some southern areas and whose milk is used for mozzarella.
Buglione – “Mess.” A peasant stew made with meat poultry and vegetables used to make broth, sautéed in oil and garlic with chopped celery and carrots.
Buon appetito – “Good appetite,” a salutation with which to begin a meal.
Burrata – Made from mozzarella and cream, this cheese has a semi-hard outer shell and a soft inside; because of its unique texture, it is usually served fresh.
Burridda – A fish stew, usually made with the regional species of seafood like angler, cuttlefish and anchovies in Genoa.
Burrino – Small cow’s milk cheese, pear-shaped and typical of the southern regions of Italy.
Burro – Butter; pasta al Burro has only sweet butter and Parmesan cheese.
Busecchino – Lombardian chestnut dessert.
Bussolai – Friulian ring-shaped butter cookies.
Bussolano – Lombardian potato-lemon cake.
Butirro – Calabrian caciocavallo cheese with a center of butter.
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Cacao – Cocoa, used as both a flavoring for baking and in hot chocolate beverages.
Cacciagione – Game.
Cacciatora, alla – “Hunter’s style,” referring to any dish prepared in a rustic, robust style, usually with mushrooms.
Cacciottu – A sandwich specialty from Sicily made from a roll that is slit, stuffed with salami and cheese, dipped in melted lard and heated through in the oven.
Cacciucco – Livorno fish stew made with tomato broth and five kinds of seafood (squid, cod, shrimp, red mullet and scallops), to correspond to the five “c’s” in the word; it is seasoned with garlic, sage and rosemary.
Cacimperio – Turinese cheese and egg yolk fondue.
Cacio – A type of pecorino cheese.
Cacio e pepe – Spaghetti dressed with pecorino cheese and black pepper, a Roman specialty.
Caciocavallo – “Horse cheese.” A firm buffalo or cow’s milk cheese, so called because the globes of cheese resemble a horse’s saddlebags.
Caciofiore – Sardinian soft ewe’s milk cheese.
Cacioricotta – This cheese falls somewhere between caciocavallo and ricotta. It is commonly made with a combination of sheep and cow’s milk.
Caciotta – Campanian soft fresh ewe’s milk whey cheese.
Caffe’ – Generally coffee, but the word used alone means Espresso.
Caglio – Rennet, used as a jelling agent for custards.
Cajettes – Pasta pellets cooked in broth typical of Piedmont.
Calamaro – Squid, very often breaded and fried and served with tomato sauce, but also stewed or grilled and served with olive oil and lemon. The ink of the squid is used as a coloring and flavoring for pastas, risotto, and other dishes. Calamaretti are tiny squid often confused with seppie or cuttlefish.
Caldaia – Cauldron.
Caldarroste – Chestnuts roasted over open coals.
Caldo – Hot.
Calice – Wineglass.
Calza – Cheesecloth.
Calzagatti – “Cat’s stockings,” an Emilia-Romagna polenta dish with tomatoes, onions, and beans
Calzone – Half-moon pastries stuffed with cheese and meats or vegetables, folded and sealed, and then baked in a pizza oven. The dough is very similar to the one used for pizza.
Cameriere – Waiter, steward
Cameriera – maid, waitress.
Camomilla – Chamomile, chamomile tea.
Camoscio – Young deer meat, usually cooked as a stew.
Canarini – Small artichokes (Venice).
Candelaus – Sardinian almond-paste cookies.
Canditi – Candied fruit.
Candito – Any foods that are candied, either by cooking in sugar syrup or being rolled in sugar.
Canederli – Trentino dumplings made with bread, eggs, flour, milk, onion, spices and the region’s specialty speck.
Canestrato – Originally a southern cheese made with ewe’s milk and pressed into a wicker basket. Today the term is generally used to refer to any cheese made with the same technique.
Canestrelli – “Small baskets”, ring-shaped sweet biscuits from the region of Liguria.
Canestrello – Pilgrim scallop, usually fried.
Cannariculi – Calabrian honey fritters.
Cannella – Cinnamon.
Cannellini – Elongated white beans; very pale light white wine of the CASTELLI ROMANI
Cannelloni – Pasta tubes, similar to manicotti, stuffed with meat and cheese. They take a variety of sauces like tomato or pesto.
Cannoli – Crisp pastry tubes filled with pastry cream, a Sicilian specialty.
Cansonsei – Sausage ravioli, typical of the North, usually dressed with butter and Parmigiano Reggiano.
Cantalupo – Canteloupe melon.
Cantina – Wine cellar or winery.
Cantucci – Tuscan almond cookies, usually served with a glass of vin santo.
Capelli d’angelo – “Angel hair,” very thin spaghetti, usually served with a very light sauce of tomato or vegetables.
Capieddi ‘e preti – “Priest’s hairs,” very thin, curly Calabrian pasta.
Capitone – Large saltwater eel, grilled or stewed with tomato.
Capocollo – A cured meat consisting of the neck and shoulder of pork. It is cured for up to one year. Regional variations use different methods of spicing, aging, and smoking.
Capon magro – Not a caper but a Ligurian layered seafood dish with several kinds of fish and seafood, vegetables, hard-boiled eggs and crackers.
Caponèt – Small stuffed cabbage or zucchini of Piedmont.
Caponata – Sicilian vegetable dish made with eggplant, tomatoes, peppers, chili peppers, vinegar and onions.
Cappalunga – Razor clam.
Cappa santa – “Holy cloak.” Sea scallop, usually lightly sautéed or grilled. Can also be marinated or eaten raw.
Cappellaci – Large, flat ravioli, usually stuffed with pumpkin or squash.
Cappelletti – Small stuffed pasta shaped like small “hats.”
Capperi – Capers, both brined and fresh, used as a flavoring in many dishes, especially cold antipasti.
Cappesante, Capasante – Scallops.
Cappone – Rooster, castrated to heighten flavor of meat, whose age determines that it be boiled or braised or stewed, though it is sometimes cooked on a spit.
Cappuccino – Espresso topped with foamed, steamed milk, usually consumed at breakfast.
Cappucci guarniti – Istrian pork and sauerkraut dish.
Capra – Goat.
Caprese, alla – “Capri-style,” usually referring to a lightly cooked sauce of tomatoes, basil, olive oil and mozzarella. Insalata alla caprese is a fresh salad made with the same four ingredients, often served as an antipasto.
Caprese Insalata – Mozzarella and tomato salad with basil .
Capretto – Kid, a young goat 1 1/2 to 4 months old, usually roasted.
Capricciosa, alla – “Capricious style,” referring to any dish prepared at the whimsy of the cook.
Capricciosa pizza – Pizza topped with various ingredients, supposedly chosen at whim but which usually include artichoke hearts, prosciutto, and mushrooms.
Caprino – Fresh goat’s cheese.
Capriolo – Roe deer; venison.
Carabacia – Tuscan onion soup.
Caraffa – Carafe.
Caramello – Caramel or other candy; caramellizzato caramelized or glazed.
Carbonade – Beef stew cooked in red wine.
Carbonara, alla – “Charcoal style,” a Roman pasta specialty comprising of a sauce of beaten eggs, grana, pecorino, and pancetta that is cooked directly by the heat of the spaghetti.
Carciofo – Artichoke, widely used vegetable, baked, stuffed with breadcrumbs and seasonings, marinated and served cold, and cooked in stews. Carciofi alla giudea (“Jewish style”) are baby artichokes that are fried crisp.
Carciofini – Small artichokes or artichokes hearts, often marinated in olive oil.
Cardi – Cardoons.
Carne – Meat, carne macinata, ground meat.
Carote – Carrots.
Carpa – Carp, a freshwater fish at its best in winter. Small carp may be fried.
Carpaccio – originally thin-sliced raw beef with mayonnaise dressing, invented and named at Harry’s Bar in Venice; now used for thin-sliced raw (or sometimes smoked) fish or other meats.
Carpione – A kind of trout, fried and then marinated in vinegar, herbs, and spices .
Carre’ – Roast loin (usually veal or pork) or saddle.
Carrello – Food trolley.
Carrettiera, alla – “Trucker’s style,” spaghetti with a sauce of browned parsley, bread crumbs, onions, anchovies, garlic and capers.
Carrozza mozzarella in – Mozzarella between slices of bread, floured, dipped in egg, and fried.
Carta da musica – An extremely thin, crisp Sardinian bread, that looks like thin “music paper.”
Carteddate – Apulian fried ribbons of sweet dough, a regional specialty of Christmas.
Cartoccio, al – usually seafood, steamed “in a bag” of parchment or aluminum foil.
Casa vinicola – Wine house or merchant (commerciante) whose bottlings come mainly from purchased grapes or wines.
Casa, della – A specialty of a restaurant, can be either food or wine.
Casalinga, alla – “Housewife style.” Also alla casereccia, any dish cooked in a homey style or homemade.
Casatiello – Spicy bread served with eggs in a shell shape decoration, it is an Easter specialty of Naples.
Casciotta di Urbino – A DOP cheese produced in Urbino. It is made from sheep’s milk and aged for one 20 to 30 days.
Cascina – Farmhouse, often used for estate.
Casoeûla – A cold weather stew of Milan consisting of Savoy cabbage and pork.
Cassata – Sponge cake filled with ricotta and candied fruit typical of Sicily and eaten during Lent.
Cassoeula – Casserole.
Cassola – Sardinian seafood stew, usually containing Saint Peter’s fish, octopus, and red chili peppers.
Castagnaccio – Chestnut flour, sugar, water, and olive oil are mixed and baked in a round pan to create this Tuscan specialty. Raisins and pine nuts are common additions after baking.
Castagne – Chestnuts, usually roasted over coals, boiled, used as a stuffing, and candied. Marrone is the largest and most prized version..
Castelmagno – Sharp, blue-veined, cow’s milk cheese named after the town where it is made in the region of Piedmont.
Castrato – Mutton.
Castraure – small wild artichokes, most notably of the islands of the Venetian lagoon, available in spring.
Casu marzu – Pungent Sardinian cheese whose name in dialect means “rotten cheese” because of the small black worms allowed to grow in it.
Cavallo, carne di – Horsemeat, also carne equina. Sold exclusively by designated butchers in Italy, the meat is most often stewed or braised.
Cavatappi – Corkscrew, or pasta resembling a corkscrew.
Cavatelli – Apulian or Southern pasta made with ricotta, shaped into small, ridged dumplings and sauced with besciamella or tomato.
Caviale – Caviar.
Cavolata – Pig’s feet and cauliflower soup, from Sardinia.
Cavolfiore – Cauliflower.
Cavoli, cavolini, cavoletti di Bruxelles or Brusselle – Brussels sprouts .
Cavolo – Cabbage, featured in a wide variety of dishes, particularly in the northern regions of Friuli and Alto-Adige, where the cuisine has some influence of the bordering countries of Austria and Germany. Cavolo verza is Savoy cabbage, cavolini di Bruxelles Brussels sprouts.
Cavolo rape – Kohlrabi, not widely eaten in Italy.
Cazmarr – Basilicata stew of lamb offal, prosciutto, and cheese.
Ceca – Young eel, usually grilled.
Ceceniello – Smelt, usually floured and fried.
Ceci – Chickpeas (garbanzo beans).
Cedro – Citron.
Cefaletto – Small squid-like sea creature, usually grilled then served cold in a vinegar marinade.
Cefalo – Grey mullet.
Celestina – Clear consommé containing tiny star-shaped pasta.
Cena – Supper dinner.
Cenci – “Rags”, a dessert from Tuscany made with egg noodles flavored with anise, vanilla, and vin santo, fried in lard and sprinkled with sugar.
Ceneri – Ashes.
Centerbe – A one month-aged digestif from Abruzzo made by infusing as many as one hundred herbs into alcohol and aging for one month.
Ceppetello – Oyster mushrooms, used in salads and as an antipasto.
Cerasuolo – Cherry-hued rosé (wine).
Cereali – General term for grains.
Cerfoglio – Chervil, used as an herb in salads, soups, and stews.
Cernia – Grouper fish, usually boiled or baked, often cut as steaks and grilled.
Certosino – Bolognese Christmas spice cake.
Cervellata – Milanese pork sausage.
Cervello – Brain; veal and lamb brains, may be cooked in various ways.
Cervo, carne di – Venison, usually marinated and roasted.
Cesta – Basket, any number of basket-bag lunch, often sold at railroad stations or prepared by hotels on request.
Cetriolo – Cucumber, often marinated in lemon and oil.
Champignon – Cultivated button mushroom.
Cheppia – Twaite shad, usually grilled. It is valued for its abundant roe.
Chiacchiere – Strips of fried or baked pastry dusted with powdered sugar, traditional during Carnevale, known by various names.
Chiara – Egg white, used in desserts and mousses.
Chiaretto – Deep rosé (wine).
Chifel – Tyrolean crescent-shaped roll flavored with cumin seeds and served with sausages and beer.
Chifferi – Half-moon shaped maccheroni.
China – Quinine, used in liqueur called china and to flavor beverages described as chinotto.
Chinulille – Ricotta ravioli, fried and sprinkled with sugar icing, typical of Basilicata.
Chiocciole – Snails.
Chiodi di garofano – Cloves, used in spice cakes.
Chiodini – Wild mushrooms found in the woods
Chitara, alla – “Guitar style,” fresh egg pasta typical of Abruzzo that resemble the strings of a guitar.
Ciabatta – “Slipper,” a bread with a slipper-like form and airy texture.
Cialda – Antipasto of boiled vegetables with tomato, from Apulia.
Cialzone – Apulian pasta stuffed with various cheeses, potatoes, and herbs.
Ciambotta – Vegetable stew with potatoes, tomatoes, egg plant, onion, and peppers.
Ciapole – Dried tomatoes, peaches or apricots from Piedmont.
Ciaramicola – Umbrian cake flavored with lemon peel and alchermes.
Ciauscolo – Finely ground fatty pork is kneaded until soft, and seasoned with garlic, salt, and pepper. Ciauscolo is then smoked, and meant to be spread onto bread. This spread is native to Marche.
Cibo – Food.
Cibreo – Florentine stew of unlaid chicken eggs, chicken livers, cockscomb and wattles.
Cicala – A species of shrimp.
Ciccioli – Pork cracklings.
Ciceri e tria – Chickpeas cooked with garlic, bay leaves, and onions together with tagliatelle, a specialty of Apuglia.
Cicoria – Chicory or endive, in many varieties; cicoria di Bruxelles, Belgian endive.
Ciliege – Cherries.
Cilegia – Cherry, often marinated in sugar syrup or alcohol. Amarene and marasche are bitter varieties.
Cima – Breast of meat, when stuffed it is called cima ripiena.
Cime di rapa – Turnip greens, usually boiled and seasoned.
Cinghiale – Wild boar.
Cioccolata – Chocolate.
Cioccolata calda – Hot chocolate beverage.
Cipolla – Onion.
Ciriola – Small Roman bread roll.
Cisrà – Piedmontese soup of carrots, chickpeas, celery, onions and pork rind.
Ciuppin – Genovese fish soup, usually containing a purée of whiting and flounder, as well as tomato, basil and herbs.
Civet – Stew of chamois or hare marinated in red wine, carrots, garlic, onions and juniper berries.
Civraxiu – Sardinian semolina bread typically made into very large round loafs.
Classico – The historic core of a DOC wine production zone.
Coccioca – Red gurnard, usually baked, roasted, grilled or fried.
Cocciola – Cockle.
Cocco, noce di cocco – Coconut.
Coda alla vaccinara – Oxtail, grilled or roasted, a Roman specialty often stuffed into pastas or used as the basis for a meat sauce.
Coda di pesce – Isinglass, made from the dried bladder of fish and used as a gelatin.
Colapasta – Colander.
Colazione – Sometimes lunch but usually breakfast, which is correctly prima colazione.
Colomba Pasquale – Dove-shaped cake originally from Milan, a popular specialty of Easter.
Colombo – Dove, usually roasted or grilled.
Coltello – Knife.
Comino – Cumin, used as a ground spice for stews and desserts.
Composta di frutta – Stewed fruit, served as a dessert.
Conchiglie – Generic term for hard-shelled mollusks (clams, mussels, scallops, etc.); conchiglia di San Giacomo pilgrim scallop, also known as cappasanta or ventaglio. It is also the name of a shell-shaped type of pasta.
Concia – Marinade.
Condiggione – Ligurian salad with cardoons, cucumbers, tomatoes and olive oil.
Condimenti – Condiments, from condire (to season or dress); the term covers a vast range of sauces and flavorings.
Confetteria – Sweet confection.
Confetti – Sugar-coated almonds, a specialty of Abruzzo. Today they are widely used in Italy for celebrations such as wedding and christenings.
Confettura – Jam, also called marmellata, which originally meant citrus fruit marmalade.
Coniglio – Rabbit, served roasted, grilled, or stewed.
Cono – Cone, for ice cream and pastries.
Conserve – Preserves, usually referring to fruits.
Consorzio – Consortium of producers.
Conto – Restaurant bill.
Contorno – Side dish or garnish, usually vegetables or salad, to complement the main course.
Controfiletto – Sirloin steak.
Coperto – Cover charge at a restaurant for bread, glassware and linens.
Coppa – Pressed, cooked, boneless pork neck. Also named capocollo in Southern Italy.
Coppa gelato – A cup of gelato.
Coppa piacentina – Coppa made in the city of Piacenza. The climate of the area combined with a six month maturation process gives this specialty its unique character.
Corada – Calf’s lung, stewed or made into soup.
Corallo – Coral and shellfish roe.
Corata – Offal of lamb.
Coregono – Salmon trout, usually grilled or roasted.
Coriandolo – Coriander, an herb used as a seasoning, often freshly cut on top of a stew.
Cornetti – Croissant pastries, usually eaten at breakfast, most often in a bar, coffee shop.
Corvo – Either the corvine fish or the croaker fish, usually fried.
Corzetti – Ligurian pasta shaped into coin-like rounds and embossed with a pattern much like a coin.
Coscia – Thigh of meat or poultry.
Cosciotto – Leg of meat.
Costa – Chop of meat.
Costardello – Skipper fish, usually fried or salted.
Costata – Rib steak of beef or veal, also called tagliata.
Costoletta – Cutlet or chop of pork, lamb or veal, synonymous with cotoletta, the popular term for breaded veal cutlet.
Cotechino – Large fresh pork sausage from Modena, traditionally containing rind or cotica, hence the name. Commonly served with lentils, it is a favorite winter dish.
Cotica – Pork turf or rind.
Cotognata – A pureé of quince is mixed with sugar and cooked until it obtains a clear, rosy color. Cotognata is then rolled into crystallized sugar. The Italian sweet is similar to Turkish Delight.
Cotoletta – Cutlet (veal unless otherwise specified) usually breaded and fried, though geographic attributions indicate a variety of preparations. See also COSTOLETTA.
Cotta a puntino – “Cooked to the point.” Medium, referring to the degree of doneness for meat.
Cotto – Cooked.
Covaccine – Very thin pizzas topped with salt and olive oil, typical of Tuscany.
Cozze – Mussels, consumed raw but more often steamed or stewed with white wine and tomato; also called mitili, muscioli, muscoli, and peoci.
Cozzolo – Stargazer fish, usually fried.
Cozzuledda – Doughnut shaped Sardinian stuffed pastries.
Cranu pestatu – Apulian dish of pounded wheat berries and wild greens.
Crauti – Sauerkraut, consumed mostly in northern Italy along the Austrian border.
Crema – Pastry cream or other viscous substance, also custard, cream soup; dairy cream is panna.
Crema Inglese – “English cream,” a rich egg custard used as a sauce for desserts.
Crema pasticcera – Pastry cream.
Cremoso – Creamy or thick, as opposed to liquid or runny.
Cren – Horseradish, consumed mostly in northern Italy as a condiment.
Crescente – Yeast starter.
Crescenza – Soft, creamy fresh cow’s milk cheese from Lombardy.
Crescione – Cress; crescione d’acqua watercress.
Crespelle – Crêpes, sometimes sweet but usually served with fillings or sauces like pasta.
Croccante – “Crispy.” Pralines, candy made from sugared hazelnuts.
Crochetta – Croquette.
Crosta – Crust; crostata fruit tart; crostino crouton or toast with a spread.
Crostacei – General term for crustaceans, such as shrimp, lobster, crabs.
Crostata – Open-faced tart, either sweet or savory.
Crostini – Toasted bread, usually with a savory topping.
Crudo – Uncooked, general term referring to any raw food or fish.
Cucchiaio – Spoon.
Cucina – Kitchen; stove, range; cuisine, style of cooking.
Cucuzza – Sicilian term for squash.
Cugnà – A more complex Piedmontese version of cotognata. The recipe includes additions of grape must, walnuts and fruit.
Culatello – Cured pork rump, sliced and eaten as an antipasto.
Culurzones – Large Sardinian ravioli stuffed with cheese, egg, spinach, mint and saffron.
Cuoco – Cook, chef.
Cuore – Heart, such as in Cuore di bue, beef heart.
Cuscus – Couscous.
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Dado – Bouillon cube.
Daino – Fallow deer, usually grilled or roasted, often after marinating in red wine.
Dattero – Date, consumed both fresh and dried.
Dattero di mare – “Date of the sea,” a mussel-like mollusk, boiled or grilled.
Delfino – Dolphin, whose meat is usually cut into strips and dried, served as an antipasto in Liguria.
Denti di leone – “Lion’s teeth.” Dandelion greens, boiled or used in salads.
Dentice – West Mediterranean sea bream or red snapper, a fleshy fish best broiled, grilled or roasted.
Desco – Table; dining table.
Diavola, alla – “Devil’s style,” referring to hot seasoning or cooking over red hot coals, as with grilled chicken called pollo alla diavola.
Diavolilli – “Little devils.” Sugar coated almonds.
Diavolillo – “Little devil.” Also, diavolicchio. Abruzzese name for local fresh or dried chili pepper.
Digestivo – After dinner drink, such as amaro, grappa or liqueurs, said to aid digestion.
Dindo – Turkey.
Diplomatico – “Diplomatic,” a rum-soaked pound cake or lady fingers cake layered with custard and candied fruits.
Ditali – “Thimbles.” Small, tube-shaped dried pasta. Ditalini are even smaller.
Diti di apostolic – “Apostles’ fingers.” Apulian finger-shaped crêpes filled with sweetened ricotta, cocoa, and liqueur, then dusted with sugar.
Dolce – Sweet; dolci cover pastries, cakes and other sweets of the Dolce course , or dessert.
Dolce Torinese – A Turinese rum-soaked chocolate cake with biscuits and almonds.
Dolcelatte – “Sweet milk.” A soft blue-veined cheese similar to Gorgonzola.
Dolcetti – A general term for any small sweet cakes and cookies.
Donzelle – Tuscan fried dough balls.
Dorata – Gilt head, dorade.
Dorato – “Golden,” referring to an ingredient dipped in egg and fried until golden brown.
Dragoncello – Tarragon or estragon, a seasoning herb.
Drogheria – Shop selling both drugs and spices.
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Elice – Corkscrew-shaped maccheroni.
Elicoidali – Fat tube-shaped maccheroni.
Emiliano – Emilian granular cheese.
Emmentaler – A world-wide cow’s milk cheese originally produced in Switzerland’s Emme Valley. Emmentaler is commonly used in pasta dishes, polenta, and on pizza.
Enologo – Enologist with a university degree; enotecnico is a winemaking technician with a diploma.
Enoteca – Literally “wine library,” referring to both publicly sponsored displays and privately owned shops, restaurants featuring many wines.
Equino – Equine: horse, donkey, or mule; carne equina, horse meat.
Erba cipollina – Chives.
Erbazzone – Emilian savory pie of Swiss chard or spinach, with eggs, pancetta and grana.
Erbe – Herbs; erbe aromatiche are scented types, such as basil, rosemary, sage, thyme and parsley; erbe selvatiche are wild.
Erbe fini – A mixture of chopped herbs used as a flavoring for stocks and stews.
Ermelline – Bitter almonds.
Escabecio – Seviche, a method of preserving fish by marinating it in white vinegar.
Espresso – Coffee in Italy. A highly concentrated cup of coffee made from well-roasted Arabica beans that are forced through a pressure valve. It may also be made with a drip pot, popular in southern Italy.
Esse di Raveo – Friulian S-shaped cookies.
Estratto – Extract, as of lemon or vanilla.
Etichetta – Label.
Ettaro – Hectare (2.471 acres) the standard measure of vineyard surface in Italy.
Etto – Standard unit of 100 grams.
Ettolitro – Hectoliter, or 100 liters, the standard measure of wine volume in Italy.
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Fagianello – Young pheasant.
Fagiano – Pheasant, usually grilled, roasted or stewed.
Fagiolo – Beans, specifically shelled varieties (such as white cannellini or reddish borlotti) cooked freshly shelled (sgranati) or often dried.
Fagiolini – Green (or yellow) beans in their pods, notably string beans, usually boiled and served cold or stewed with tomato, garlic and herbs.
Fagottini – “Little bundles.” Thin pancakes filled with savory and sweet flavors.
Fame – Hunger, appetite
Far sudare – To braise.
Faraona – Guinea fowl or hen, usually roasted or stewed with herbs.
Farcia – Forcemeat, stuffing.
Farcito – Stuffed.
Farfalle – Pasta shaped like butterfly wings, often dressed with a ragù.
Farina – Flour; farina gialla, cornmeal (cf.POLENTA).
Farinacei – General term for starch foods.
Farinata – Ligurian chickpea flour pancake.
Farro – Spelt, an ancient grain predecessor of hard wheat, used in soups, breads, polenta.
Farsumagru – Sicilian braised beef or veal rolls filled with hard-boiled eggs, salami and cheese.
Fattoria – Farm or estate.
Fave – Fava beans, usually shelled and boiled or dried and reconstituted in water.
Fazzoletti – “Handkerchiefs,” Ligurian pasta sheets folded and sauced.
Fecola – Starch, like cornstarch.
Fedelini – Long pasta strands served in broth.
Fegato – Liver, usually calf’s most famous served “alla veneziana,” sautèed with onions; fegato grasso, foie gras.
Ferro di cavallo – Sicilian horsehoe-shaped bread.
Fesa – Cut of meat from the thigh or rump.
Fetta – Slice or strip, as in fetta di pane, a slice of bread.
Fette, le – Also, cavolo nero, black cabbage.
Fettuccine – Long flat egg pasta strands, 3/8 inch wide.
Fettunta – Toasted or grilled bread rubbed with garlic and olive oil, much like bruschetta.
Fiadone – Abruzzese pizza rustica, rustic pizza, made with cheese and eggs usually for Easter.
Fico – Fig, eaten fresh, stewed, marinated or made into pastries. Fico d’India is the edible fruit of prickly pear cactus.
Fidelanza – Ligurian spaghetti cooked in tomato sauce.
Fieto – Pomfret fish, usually grilled.
Figa’ – Liver; figa’ garbo e dolce, liver breaded and fried, with a touch of vinegar and sugar; figa’ col radeselo, liver cut up, wrapped in sage leaves, and fried in butter (Venice).
Filetto – Tenderloin, filet mignon.
Fillini – Very fine short strands of pasta used for soups.
Finanziera – Turinese stew of sweetbreads, chicken giblets, mushrooms and truffles.
Finocchio – Fennel, finocchio selvatico.
Finnocchiona – Tuscan salami seasoned with fennel seeds, salt, pepper, and garlic. Finnocchiona is typically aged 7 months to a year.
Fiore – Flower; fiori di zucca or zucchini squash flowers, usually battered and fried after being stuffed.
Fior di latte – Mozzarella like cheese, made from cow’s milk .
Fiorentina, alla – “Florentine style,” usually referring to a dish made with or on a bed of spinach.
Fiorentina la – The famous Florentine beefsteak, a thick T-bone from the LOMBATA, ideally from CHIANINA beef, grilled very rare over coals.
Focaccia – Puffy yeast bread baked in a pan. It may be topped or flavored with a variety of herbs like onion, fennel, or rosemary.
Focolare – Open hearth or fire place used for cooking.
Foggiano – A pecorino cheese from the city of Foggia.
Folaga – Coot, usually marinated or grilled.
Fondo – A reduction of onions and vegetables.
Fonduta – Cheese fondue, a mixture of melted cheese (usually Fontina) and wine into which foods like bread and vegetables are dipped, typical of Northern Italy. It may also be used as a sauce for vegetables.
Fongadina – Veneto stew of calf offal seasoned with bay leaves, rosemary, garlic and lemon peel.
Fontana – A mound of flour with a well in it so that it absorbs liquids and eggs.
Fontina – Soft unpasteurized cow’s milk cheese, from Valle d’Aosta.
Forchetta – Fork.
Formagella – Ligurian fresh soft cow’s, goat’s or ewe’s milk cheese lightly ripened.
Formaggio – Cheese.
Fornaio – Baker.
Forno – Oven; bakery.
Fra diavolo – “Friar devil,” any dish made with a good amount of coarsely ground black pepper or a good amount of chili peppers, a specialty of Abruzzo. Pollo alla diavola is sprinkled with cracked black pepper, flattened, and grilled.
Fracosta di bue – Rib of beef.
Fragola – Strawberry.
Fragole – Strawberries; fragoline di bosco, tiny wild strawberries. Both are served with sugar and lemon juice or with CREMA GELATO, or, much more rarely with balsamic vinegar.
Fragolino – Pandora fish, a sea bream that is good baked, grilled or fried.
Frantoio – Olive press.
Francesina – Breadstick.
Frantoio – Mill where olives are processed for oil. Also olive press.
Frasca – Friulian term for a restaurant located near a winery.
Fratteglie – Offal, innards like liver, kidneys, sweetbreads, and heart.
Freddo – Cold.
Fregamai – Ligurian pasta dumplings whose dough is rubbed through a grater.
Fregola – A large-grained couscous.
Fresco – Fresh.
Friarelli – Tips of broccoletti. In Naples, the term refers to green pickling peppers.
Fricandò – Larded cuts of veal braised in Marsala wine.
Frico – Melted cheese fritter from Friuli.
Friggere – To fry.
Frisceu – Ligurian codfish and vegetable fritters.
Frisedda – Apulian ring-shaped roll made with whole wheat.
Friselle – Twice baked breads that are soaked or sprayed with water for softening before eating.
Frittata – An omelette that has been turned over, not folded in half.
Fritto – Fried. Fritto misto is a “mixed fry” of battered or breaded vegetables, meat or seafood.
Frittura di Paranza – Neapolitan fried fish dish.
Frizzante – Fizzy or faintly fizzy (wine) or mineral water.
Fruata – Sicilian hollow loaf of bread resembling pita.
Frullato – Whipped iced fruit or coffee beverage.
Frusta – Wire whisk.
Frutta – Fruit.
Frutti di bosco – Berries, such as raspberries and strawberries.
Frutti di mare – Shellfish.
Fumetto – Concentrated chicken or beef broth.
Funghetto, al – Sautéed in very hot oil with garlic and parsley.
Funghi – General term for mushrooms. Both cultivated or wild, mostly found in the northern regions. A popular kind is funghi porcini.
Fuori stagione – Out of season.
Fusilli – Corkscrew-shaped pasta.
Fusilli al ferro – Fusilli is rolled and cut into thick squares and wrapped around a thin iron rod. They are rolled into long tubes, great for holding onto tomato or meat sauces.
Fuso – Melted, as butter.
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Galantina – Galantine, a cold dish covered with aspic.
Galletta – Dry biscuit, shaped like a flat bagel.
Gallina – Fowl.
Gallinaccio – Chanterelle mushroom, sautéed with garlic and oil or sliced fresh over salads.
Gallinella – Gurnard fish.
Gallo – Cock, rooster.
Gambero – Name used for various crustaceans, cooked in every conceivable way, from boiled to fried, hot to cold. Gambero rosso and gambero imperiale or mazzancolla are large Mediterranean prawns, also called gamberoni; gamberelli are smaller prawns; gamberetti tiny shrimp; gamberi d’acqua dolce freshwater crayfish.
Garganelli – Romagna pasta dumplings pressed to form grooves on the exterior.
Gassato, gasato – Carbonated.
Gastronomia – Gastronomy, also gourmet food or specialty store. A gastronomo or buongustaio is a gourmet, ghiottone glutton.
Gattò – Southern Italian term referring to cake.
Gattopardo – A Leopard; or Leopard fish, a strong-flavored fish usually treated to spices.
Gattuccio – Dogfish, although the Italian translation is “big cat.”
Gazzosa – Lemon-flavored carbonated water.
Gebri – Bundles of wild herbs.
Gelatina – Aspic gelatin.
Gelato – Italian style of ice cream, of wide-ranging flavors, chiefly fruit, nuts and chocolate.
Gelso – Mulberry “Genoa style,” usually with basil, garlic, and oil.
Gerstensuppe – Trentino barley and speck soup.
Ghiaccio – Ice or ice cubes.
Ghineffi di riso – Sicilian fried rice cakes with saffron.
Gianchi e neigro – Ligurian dialect, referring to fried, breaded offal.
Gianduja – Piedmontese chocolate and hazelnut paste used in desserts, ice cream and candies.
Gianfottere – Calabrian eggplant, pepper, zucchini and squash stew.
Giardiniera, alla – Dishes prepared “garden style,” with chopped vegetables and salad greens.
Ginepro – Juniper.
Ginestrata – Tuscan soup made from wild brooms and chicken broth with egg.
Giorno, del – “Today’s special” for a restaurant.
Girarrosto – Roasted on a spit.
Giudea, alla – “Jewish style.” Dishes prepared referring to the traditional cooking of the Italian Jews that lived in the ghettos of 19th century Rome.
Glassa – Pastry icing.
Gniumerieddi – Apulian dish of skewered, grilled sausages of lamb or kid.
Gnocchi – Dumplings from potato and flour or semolina, usually served dressed as a first course; Gnocchi verdi are green from spinach mixed with ricotta; gnocchetti are smaller.
Gnudi – “Nudies,” spinach and ricotta dumplings without a pasta dough to contain them.
Gobbi – Cardoons.
Gorgonzola – Strong Lombardian blue-veined cow’s milk cheese, made in and around the town of Gorgonzola.
Gramugia – Tuscan fava bean soup.
Gran bollito misto piemontese – A platter of piping hot assorted cuts of meat.
Gran bu – Very lavish Piedmontese bollito misto.
Grana – A general term that describes the grainy texture of certain Italian cheeses, oftentimes used colloquially to refer to Parmigiano-Reggiano or Grana Padano.
Grana padano – A famous Italian cheese of granual texture, aged 1 year to 18 months. Its origins date back to the 12th century. Today, its area of production expands from Piedmont to Veneto, including the province of Trento and some areas of Emilia Romagna.
Granatina – Ground beef, egg and bread shaped as a cutlet and fried.
Granchio – Crab.
Granelli – Veal testicles; meatballs.
Granita – Slushy gelato made by freezing liquid (often coffee or lemon juice) into crystals of grainy texture. It is sometimes topped with whipped cream.
Grano – Grain; wheat.
Grano saraceno – Buckwheat flour; used to prepare polenta and pasta.
Granoturco – Sweet corn.
Grappa – Spirit distilled from pomace of grapes previously crushed for wine; usually clear but sometimes amber from wood aging.
Grasso – Fat, including animal fats like lard and suet.
Graticola, alla – Grilled over a charcoal fire with a grating.
Grattugia – Grater.
Gremolata – A condiment of chopped garlic, parsley, lemon, and oil, served on the side of meats, fish and poultry.
Grigette – Small snails.
Griglia – Grill; terms for grilling over coals include alla griglia, ai ferri, alla brace; grigliata mista mixed grill of meats or seafood.
Grissini – Breadsticks.
Grolla – Multi-spouted coffee pot.
Grongo – Conger eel, usually grilled, stewed or fried.
Guanciale – Salt pork from the cheek or jowl, used as a flavoring in soups, stews, pastas and other dishes.
Guarnito – Garnished.
Guastedde – Sesame-filled roll.
Gubana – A traditional bread filled with cocoa, nuts, candied fruits and grappa. It is an Easter specialty of Friuli.
Gulasch di manzo – Alto Adige goulash of stewed meat and peppers.
Gusto – Flavor (e.g ice cream); taste; pleasure.
Guvat – Goby fish, of which only large ones are consumed, usually baked.
Imbottigliata – Bottled (all’origine implies at the source).
Imbottito – Stuffed.
Impanare – To coat with breadcrumbs.
Impanata – Pastry; turnover.
Impanato – Breaded.
Impastare – To knead, as dough.
Incapriata – An Apulian vegetable dish consisting of puréed fava beans and sautéed chicory drizzled with olive oil.
Indivia – Endive; invidia riccia and scarola (curly and broad-leafed escarole), invidia belga (Belgian endive, also called insalata belga or cicoria di Bruxelles); see also cicoria, radicchio.
Indiviola – A wild endive.
Indugghia – Calabrian sausage made from the meat, liver, lungs, and lard of pork.
Infarinata – Tuscan vegetable and cornmeal soup.
Insaccato – General term for salami and sausages.
Insalata – Salad, which may or may not include greens. Popular examples are insalata mista (mixed), insalata verde (greens only); insalata russa (mixed cooked vegetables diced with mayonnaise). Insalata di mare is a mix of cold seafood.
Insalata caprese – Sliced tomatoes and mozzarella with fresh basil.
Integrale – Whole wheat.
Invecchiato – Aged, seasoned.
Involtini – Envelopes or rolls of thinly sliced veal, pork or fish cooked with stuffing.
Kaiserschmarrn – Native to Trentino-Alto Adige, this dessert consists of strips of crespelle filled with stewed fruit. Kaiserschmarrn is served warm with cream.
Kaminwürzen – Smoked pork sausage native to Trentino-Alto Adige.
Kasher – Kosher.
Knödel – Dumplings from Trentino-Alto Adige that usually accompany stews or hearty meals of meat.
Krapfen – Sweet fritters, typically filled with cream or fruit.
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Lagane – Pasta strips, usually served with chickpeas.
Lagrumuse – Calabrian pork sausage.
Lampascioni – Bulbs of wild tassel hyacinth.
Lampone – Raspberry, preferred fresh as a dessert (as gelato or sorbetto), but sometimes marinated in sugar syrup.
Lamponi – Raspberries.
Lampreda – Lamprey eel, usually stewed.
Lanzado – Cub mackerel, a strong fish best grilled with herbs.
Lardo – Cured pork fat; fatty bacon, lardo rosa di Colonnata, a particulary prized type.
Lardo di Arnad – Cured meat from Arnad. Lardo is the layer of fat directly under a pig’s skin.
Latte fritto – Fried custard dessert.
Lasagna – A layered pasta dish baked, with fresh mozzarella, usually with a besciamella or tomato sauce. There are many varieties of this dish throughout Italy that reflect regional preferences and traditions.
Lasagne – Wide strips of egg pasta, used to make layers for lasagna.
Lasca – Freshwater fish of Lake Trasimeno, rarely seen at market.
Latte – Milk; latticini dairy products.
Lattemiele – Whipped cream mixed with honey or sugar.
Latterino – Sand smelt, usually fried or poached.
Lattonzolo – Suckling pig or unweaned calf, best spit-roasted and basted with garlic and rosemary.
Lattuga – Lettuce, covering a range of types.
Lattume – Fish semen. In Liguria, tuna semen is air-dried, made into slim slices and served with lemon and olive oil.
Lauro – Bay leaf.
Leccarda – A dripping pan specifically used under a roast on a spit.
Leccia – Large silver-gray fish, best grilled or baked.
Leccia stella – Pompano, best grilled or baked.
Legno – Wood; forno a legna , wood burning-oven.
Legume – General term for legumes.
Lenticchie – Lentils.
Lepre – Hare.
Lesso – Boiled.
Lievito – Leavener. Lievito di birra, baker’s yeast, commonly used to make pizza. Lievito naturale is a sourdough starter. Lievito in polvere, baking powder.
Limone – Lemon; limonata lemonade; limetta or limone bergamotto lime, limoncello lemon liqueur.
Limoncello – Lemon liqueur, once associated with seaside resorts and sun-kissed islands, now ubiquitous.
Lingua – Tongue, such as lingua di bue, beef tongue, always boiled, sometimes as part of a bollito misto.
Lingue di gatto – “Cat’s tongues,” thin butter cookies.
Linguine – Flat thin noodles, mostly popular in Southern Italy; linguine alle vongole, with a red or white clam sauce.
Lucanica – Very popular pork sausage originally created in Basilicata.
Lupo di mare – Lobster.
Liquirizia – Licorice, used in candies and pastries.
Liquori – Liqueurs; the term covers the range of distilled spirits, such as grappa and brandy, and compositions, such as amaro, limoncello and sambuca.
Liquoroso – Strong wine, sometimes fortified but usually of naturally high alcoholic grade.
Lista del vivande – Menu of a restaurant. Also menú, more commonly used.
Litro – Liter.
Locanda – Inn, ancient term for a simple place with rooms, often serving meals; today synonymous with osteria or trattoria (see).
Lombata – Loin.
Lonza – Cured pork tenderloin.
Luccio marino – Barracuda, usually poached.
Luganega – Slender pork sausage, a specialty of Lombardy.
Lumache – Snails, usually quite small and cooked in tomato sauce.
Luppoli – Hops, used to make beer.
Macca – Soup made with fava beans, chili peppers, onions, tomatoes, and spaghetti.
Maccarello – Mackerel.
Maccheroni – Macaroni; in parts of southern Italy this is a generic term for dried pasta, though elsewhere it usually refers to short pasta tubes like rigatoni and ziti.
Macedonia di Frutta – Fruit salad.
Macelleria – Butcher shop, macellaio butcher.
Macinapepe – Pepper mill.
Macinare – To grind or crush food.
Macinato – Ground; minced.
Macis – Mace, a spice most often used for cookies and cakes.
Madia – Wooden trough for bread making.
Mafalda – Sicilian braided bread made with semolina flour.
Maggiorana – Marjoram.
Magro – Lean, as in carne magra, lean meat.
Maiale – Pork; maialino da latte – suckling pig; cf. PORCHETTA.
Maiocchino – Sicilian ewes’ milk cheese, often made with black peppercorns, and pressed into basket molds.
Maionese – Mayonnaise.
Mais – Corn, sweet corn; fiocchi di mais, cornflakes.
Malaga – Rum raisin flavor.
Malfatti – A type of gnocchi.
Malloreddus – “Small bulls.” Tiny Sardinian gnocchi made from semolina, saffron and shaped into small ridged dumplings with a slit down the center.
Maltagliati – Diamond-shaped, flat pasta of Mantua and the Veneto region.
Malto – Malt extract.
Mandarino – Mandarin, a tangerine like the larger mandarancio and smaller clementina.
Mandolino – Slicing utensil for vegetables, usually with several blades.
Mandorle – Almonds; mandorla amara, bitter almond.
Manfrigoli – Umbrian dish of pasta, garlic and tomatoes.
Mangiatutto – Snow peas, also a thin asparagus.
Maniche – “Sleeves.” Short tube maccheroni.
Manicotti – Large tube maccheroni stuffed with ricotta cheese and ham and baked.
Manini – Ferrarese bread shaped like crossed hands.
Manteca – Basilicata cheese with a center of butter.
Mantecato – Ingredients pounded into a form of paste. Also, a general term referring to a common technique to sautée pasta in a skillet with a bit of its sauce and grana.
Manzo – Beef from adult male or female cattle.
Maracuja – Passion fruit.
Marasca – Morello cherry used to make maraschino liqueur.
Margarina – Margarine.
Mariconda, la – Lombardian soup of dumplings made from breadcrumbs, egg, nutmeg, butter and cheese, usually served in a meat stock.
Marille – Short, ridged maccheroni joined side by side to form a double-barrel shape.
Marinara, alla – “Mariner’s style.” A quickly made sauce usually containing fresh crushed tomatoes, garlic, oregano and olive oil.
Marinata – Marinade.
Maritozzo – Roman raisin buns, traditionally made during Lent.
Marmellata – Marmalade.
Marmitta Torinese – Turinese soup of vegetables, potatoes, basil, onion and garlic, served over a slice of bread.
Marmora – Striped bream, best grilled or roasted.
Marro – Abruzzese dish of lamb’s intestines flavored with garlic, rosemary and pancetta.
Marrone – Chestnut.
Martin sec – Valle d’Aosta late-ripening pear, commonly cooked in red wine.
Marubini – Scalloped stuffed pasta rounds, a specialty of Cremona.
Marzapane – Marzipan, sweet almond paste, used in pastries; also called pasta reale.
Marzolino – Tuscan and Latium cheese similar to pecorino.
Marzotica – Aged ricotta, produced in early spring.
Masaro alla Valesana – Venetian dish of wild duck marinated in vinegar, thyme and tarragon, barded with bacon, baked, cut into pieces and sautéed with butter, wine, anchovies, onions and capers.
Mascarpone – A fresh, soft cream cheese, close to butter; unsweetened it may be used in pasta or risotto, sweetened with fruit or desserts. It is the basis for the dessert tiramisu.
Mastrich – Lombardian mixture of mascarpone, egg yolks, sugar, rum, grated lemon peel and olive oil, served chilled with chocolate sauce.
Mataloc – Domed sponge cake containing fennel, nuts, raisins, citrus zest and spices, a specialty of the Lake Como region.
Mattarello – Rolling pin.
Mattone, al – Cooking technique of flattening an ingredient with a heavy weight, while grilling or sautéeing it.
Mazoro a la Valesana – Wild duck cooked in a terra-cotta pot with herbs, sardines, and capers.
Mazzafegati – Umbrian pork sausage with orange rind, pine nuts and raisins.
Mazzancolla – Large Mediterranean shrimp.
Mazzarelle d’Agnello – “Bundle of lamb.” Abruzzese dish of lamb’s lungs and offal wrapped in chard or beet greens then braised in white wine.
Mazzetto Odoroso – Bouquet of rosemary, parsley, bay leaf, sage and marjoram used as a garnish but mostly to flavor soups and stews.
Medaglione – “Medallion,” as in a thick cut of meat or fish.
Meino – Lombardian sweet, round cornmeal bread served with heavy cream.
Mela – Apple.
Mela Cotogna – Quince, a fruit used in preserves, as a filling, and in pastry.
Melagrana – Pomegranate.
Melanzane – Eggplant.
Melassa di Miele – Bitter honey.
Melica – Cornmeal.
Melograna – Pomegranate, principally used as a flavoring and coloring in beverages
Melone – Cantaloupe or muskmelon; watermelon is cocomero or anguria.
Menola – Picarel fish, not frequently consumed, best stewed.
Menta – Mint; many species, wild and cultivated, are used in cooking and beverages.
Menta Piperita – Peppermint.
Merasca – Sour plum, used in preserves.
Merca – Salami made from gray mullet.
Mercato – Market.
Merenda – Snack, light meal or picnic, also called spuntino.
Merendine del Granduca – “Granduke’s snacks,” Tuscan crêpes with a filling of ricotta, strawberries and Malvasia wine.
Meringa – Meringue made from whipped, sweetened egg whites baked at a very low temperature.
Merlano – Whiting fish, similar to cod.
Merluzzo – Fresh cod (as opposed to ‘Baccala’).
Messciua – Ligurian chickpea soup made with wheat or spelt, berries, beans and olive oil.
Messicani – “Mexicans,” a Milanese dish of veal bundles filled with sausage and eggs, sautéed in butter and flavored with Marsala.
Mestolone – A wild duck.
Metodo Charmat – Sparkling wine made by the sealed tank method.
Metodo Classico – Terms for sparkling wine made by the bottle fermentation method, replacing the terms champenois or champenoise, which can no longer be used in Italy.
Mezzaluna – Curved chopping knife with two handles.
Miascia – Lombardian bread pudding made with apples, raisins, pears and rosemary.
Miccone – Lombardian large loaf of bread with a soft center.
Michetta – Milanese five-sided round, crusty bread.
Midolla di Pane – The spongy interior part of a bread loaf.
Midollo – Beef marrow, used to enrich stews and gravies, and commonly consumed from the bone of osso buco.
Miele – Honey.
Migliaccio – Any of a variety of baked cakes or puddings, particularly chestnut-flour cakes or blood pudding.
Mignozzi – Abruzzese sweet fritters flavored with Cognac.
Mignuice – Apulian semolina dumplings.
Milanese, alla – “Milan style.” Any of a variety of dishes associated with Milan, usually involving butter in the cooking process. Costoletta alla milanese is a pounded, breaded veal chop with the bone that is sautéed in butter.
Millassata – Sicilian egg omelet made with artichokes.
Millecosedde – Calabrian soup of dried beans, vegetables and wild mushrooms, served with ditalini and olive oil.
Millefoglie – “Thousand leaves.” Dessert consisting of several layers of very thin puff pastry sheets and pastry cream topped or dusted with chocolate.
Millerighe – Fat, hollow, flattened, ridged maccheroni.
Millesimato – Vintage dated sparkling wine.
Milza – Spleen of cattle, often served as a purée on toasted bread.
Minestra – Generic term for soup and also for first course (covering pasta, risotto, gnocchi, etc.); minestra in brodo is broth with pasta or rice; minestrone is hearty vegetable soup; minestrina is a light soup or broth; see also zuppa.
Minni di Virgini – “Virgins’ breasts,” puffy semolina cakes filled with pastry cream.
Mirtillo – Blueberry, consumed fresh or in a sugar syrup.
Mirto – Myrtle, used to make a liqueur.
Missoltit – Preserved fish made from Lake Como agoni.
Misticanza – Salad of wild greens like arugula, endive and watercress mixed with other fresh ingredients.
Mitili – Mussels, also called cozze.
Mocetta – Chamois prosciutto.
Moleche, moeche – Soft-shell crabs from the Venetian lagoon, usually deep-fried.
Mollica di Pane – Breadcrumb.
Molluschi – Mollusks, including octopus, squid and shellfish, such as clams and mussels.
Molva occhiona – Mediterranean ling fish, similar to cod.
Monacone – “Fat monk.” Caprese casserole made with layers of eggplant, veal, prosciutto, Fontina and tomato.
Mondeghili – Lombardian meat croquettes fried in butter.
Montasio – Mild Friulian cheese, used to make frico.
Monte Bianco – “White mountain.” Piedmontese dessert confection of chestnut purée topped with whipped cream to look like a white mountain.
Montone – Mutton, grown to a year-and-a-half in age. Because of its somewhat chewy texture, it is usually stewed or roasted.
Monzette – Sardinian stuffed snails.
Morchelle – Morel mushrooms.
More – Blackberries.
Morlacco – Veneto mountain cheese made from partially skimmed milk.
Mormora – Striped bream, usually grilled or sautéed.
Morseddu – Calabrian breakfast dish of pork tripe stewed in red wine, tomatoes, chili peppers and herbs.
Mortadella – Large pork sausage, originally from Bologna.
Moscardino – A kind of octopus, usually tiny.
Moscato – Nutmeg.
Mosciame – Dried, salted strips of dolphin, swordfish or tuna.
Mostaccioli – Small cakes of southern Italy made of honey, flour, orange peel, almonds and spices.
Mostarda – Candied fruit flavored with mustard seed, specialty of Cremona.
Mosto del Vino – Wine must.
Motella – Three-bearded rockling fish.
Mozzarella – Smooth, soft white cheese originally from milk of water buffalo (bufala), though cow’s milk fior di latte may also use the name. It is rubbery when fresh, eaten the same day. When older it is firmer, a good melting cheese for pizza and lasagna.
Muffuletta – Soft, spongy bread native to Sicily. Muffuletta is popular in New Orleans, where the term now identifies a sandwich making use of the Sicilian bread.
Muffuliette – Sicilian soft saffron and aniseed rolls.
Muggine – Gray mullet, usually grilled.
Murianengo – Blue-veined cow’s or goat’s milk cheese made along the Italy-France border
Murice – Sea snail, usually sautéed with garlic and oil.
Murseddu – Calabrian dish consisting of tripe, calf’s liver, pork liver, tomatoes, chili pepper, olive oil, red wine, bread dough, and herbs, all of which are cooked slowly in lard.
Murstica – Seasoned newborn anchovies from Calabria.
Muschiata, anatra – Barbary duck.
Muscoli – Ligurian term for mussels.
Muset – Friulian cooked pork sausage containing chili peppers, cinnamon, and white wine. It is aged for one month.
Mustazzolo – Hard Sicilian almond and clove cookie.
Mustella – Forkbeard fish.
Mustica – Calabrian hot sauce made from dried anchovy or sardine spawn, then preserved in chili peppers and olive oil.
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Napoletana, alla – “Neapolitan style.” Any of a variety of dishes associated with Naples, usually containing tomatoes and eggplant.
Nasello – Hake, often baked with a mixture of anchovies and breadcrumbs.
Navone – Parsnips, usually boiled, fried, or added to stews and soups.
‘Ncapriata – Apulian fava bean and wild greens soup or purée.
‘Ndocca ‘ndocca – Abruzzese dish of many parts of a pig cut into chunks and stewed with chili peppers, herbs, vinegar and spices.
‘Ndugghia – Calabrian pork sausage containing the lungs and liver.
Necci – Tuscan chestnut flour crêpes baked in terracotta forms and served with pecorino and ricotta.
Negroni – Cocktail of Campari and gin.
Neonata – Tiny fry fish, usually breaded and served with lemon.
Nepitella – Wild mint.
Nespola – Loquat and medlar fruit.
Nidi di Carnevale – “Carnival nests.” Tuscan dessert made of chocolate pasta ribbons coiled into nest-like shapes, then deep fried till crisp and served with a sauce of honey, brandy and blanched almonds.
Nidi di Schiuma – “Nests of whitecaps.” Sicilian capellini made into the shape of nests, then fried and drizzled with honey, cinnamon and candied orange peel.
Nocciola – Hazelnut, by far the most widely used nut in Italian cookery for everything from pastries and chocolate candies to salads.
Noci – Nuts; walnuts; noce di cocco, coconut; noce moscato, nutmeg.
Nocino – Bittersweet liqueur made with green walnuts in their husks.
Nodino – Lombardian term for a noisette of veal cut 1 1/2 inch think.
Nonna, della – “Grandma style,” any dish prepared according to a homestyle cooking tradition.
Norcina, alla – A dish made the way it is in the Umbrian town of Norcia, usually with pork.
Norcineria – Butcher shop specializing in pork and salumi; norcino pork butcher.
Norma, alla’ – Sicilian spaghetti dish, sauced with tomato, fried eggplant and grated salted ricotta. It is supposedly named after Bellini’s opera of the same name.
Nucatuli – Sicilian Christmas almond and fig pastry.
Nzugna – Neapolitan dialect word for melted butter.
Odori – Herbs.
Olandese – Hollandaise, or simply Dutch.
Olio extra vergine d’oliva del Chianti – Fruity green extra virgin olive oil produced in the Chianti area from Frantoio, Leccino, Moraiolo, and Olivastra olives.
Ombra – A social drink from the Veneto region; a small glass of white wine.
Orecchiette – Ear-shaped pasta (orecchie in Italian means “ears”) made of durum flour and water. Their thumb-sized indentations makes them ideal for rich sauces.
Orzata – A drink made of water, malted barley or almonds, and orange water.
Orzo – Barley; a small barley-shaped pasta used in soup.
Ossobuco – Braised veal shanks. The meat is first browned, then cooked with vegetables and aromatic herbs until it is extremely tender and falls off the bones. The marrow is the most delicious and prized part, it can be scooped out with a teaspoon; often served with risotto.
Ossolana, all’ – Gnocchi all’Ossolana are small boiled potatoes that are cooked in butter and garlic and accompanied by a meat sauce and cheese.
Ovini – The whole category for sheep and goat meat.
Paglie e fieno – Literally “hay and straw”; mixed green and yellow pasta strands.
Pagnottella – Literally “little loaf”; a kind of brioche.
Pancarré – Sliced bread; also, a packaged bread used for canapés and sandwiches when there is a preference for regularity of shape over flavor and texture.
Pancetta – The section taken from the fat belly or cheek of a pig, consisting of alternating layers of fat and lean tissue. It can be rolled, aged, salted or smoked.
Pancotto – Bread soup, literally “cooked bread”; usually contains bread, olive oil, and cheese.
Pandolce – Similar to Pannettone, but much more dense; a traditional Genoese Christmas dessert.
Pandoro – Type of pound cake widely sold at Christmastime, along with panettone.
Pangrattato – Dry breadcrumbs.
Panettone – Italy’s best known Christmas dessert originated in Milan. Soft and spongy, it is made with a natural yeast starter, eggs, butter, candied fruit, and raisins. Shaped like a dome, variations include chocolate or vanilla icing or gelato filling.
Pane carasau – A typical thin bread of Sardinia.
Pane frattau – Sardinian dish made with Carta da Musica bread briefly soaked in warm water and topped with crushed tomatoes, grated Pecorino, and a poached egg.
Panforte (di Siena), or (Sienese) – Cake with almonds and dried fruit.
Panna cotta – A dessert of Piedmontese origins, Panna cotta is made by dissolving unflavored gelatin in milk, then whisking the milk into sweetened heavy cream (sweetened with confectioner’s sugar and vanilla extract). Panna cotta is refrigerated and served with a caramel or strawberry topping.
Pan pepato – Gingerbread (pepato itself as an adj. which means “peppered” or “spiced”).
Panzanella – Tuscan dish consisting of stale bread, tomatoes, olive oil, and wine vinegar. Extra vegetables and spices can be added to the salad based on preference.
Paparot – Spinach soup (Friuli-Venezia Giulia).
Papassine – Crumbly Sardinian sweets that are typically prepared for Easter, Christmas, and on the first of November for All Saints’ Day. Papassine are made with flour, dried fruit, eggs, sugar, lard, orange, and various flavors. Their shape varies depending on where they are made within the island.
Papazoi – Bean soup with barley and corn.
Pappa – Mush; soup thickened with bread; babyfood.
Pappa al pomodoro – One of Tuscany’s most famous soups, pappa al pomodoro is made with stale bread and ripe tomatoes with the addition of garlic, onions, and basil. Before serving, the soup must be drizzled with olive oil.
Pappardelle – Broad, flat pasta; similar to tagliatelle but much wider.
Parmigiana, alla – Parma-style, but not necessarily made with Parmesan cheese.
Passata di pomodoro – Tomato purée (typically sold in bottles or conserved in bottles, and liquid in consistency).
Passatelli – Homemade soup noodles made from a mixture of eggs and bread crumbs.
Pasta Frolla – Crumbly, rich, delicate pastry base made with flour, eggs, sugar, unsalted butter, and salt. Pasta Frolla is used in the making of sweet pies, tarts, and cookies.
Pastella – Batter.
Pasticciato – With ragú, cheese, and butter.
Pastinaca – Parsnip.
Patanabo’ – Jerusalem artichoke.
Pavese – Zuppa alla broth with bread, egg, and cheese (sometimes like French onion soup with egg instead of onion).
Pecorino – Sheep’s milk cheese (the name comes from pecora, sheep); the family is large and varied, but most often its members are on the hard and sharp side. Pecorino Romano, a hard, sharp cheese, is one of the major pecorino cheeses; it is produced in a geographically limited zone, which includes Lazio and Sardinia, as well as part of Tuscany.
Penne – Literally “feathers”; pasta “quills,” with a hollow tubular form cut short on a slant (thinner than rigatoni).
Penne all’Arabiata – Penne topped with tomato, garlic, and peperoncino.
Peoci – Mussels.
Pepe verde – Green peppercorns.
Pepe – Black pepper.
Peperonata – Stew of sweet peppers, onions, and tomatoes.
Peperoncino –Crushed red pepper.
Peperoni – Roasted red peppers.
Persa – Marjoram.
Pesca noce – Nectarine.
Pesca, pl. pesche – Peach.
Pesce serra – Bluefish, mackerel.
Pesce spada, pescespada – Swordfish.
Pesto – Sauce from Liguria, usually served on pasta; made of fresh basil, pignoli nuts, pecorino cheese, and olive oil.
Piadina – Round, flat bread from Romagna.
Piccante – Piquant; spicy.
Piccata – Slices of boneless veal, sautéed in butter with parsley and lemon.
Pignolata – Fried or baked balls of dough, which are coated half with chocolate and half with sugar glaze (from Sicily).
Pignoli – Pine nuts.
Piselli – Peas; piselli alla fiorentina, peas cooked with onion and pancetta.
Pizzella – Neapolitan deep-fried dough that can be stuffed with meats, cheese, and vegetables.
Pizzichi – Tiny, square-shaped egg pasta.
Pizzoccheri – Thick tagliatelle from Valtellina made from a mixture of buckwheat flour and all-purpose flour. They are boiled, then layered with blanched cabbage, sautéed onions and garlic, and cheese and butter.
Polenta – A thick porridge, best known for its preparation from cornmeal, though other grains (or potatoes) may be used. There are many different ways to prepare polenta, and in certain regions it can even be found as a dessert.
Plenta e osei – A dish of roasted polenta, made with skewered veal, chicken liver, bacon, buttered sage leaves, and mushrooms.
Pollame – Poultry.
Pollanca – Young turkey.
Pollo – Chicken; pollo alla diavola, chicken, split, flattened under a weight, brushed with oil and grilled.
Polpette, polpettine – Meatballs, patties, including meatless “meatballs” of other ingredients.
Polpettone – Meat loaf, often cooked in a pot rather than baked.
Polpo, polipo – Octopus.
Pomodoro – Tomato; pomodoro con il riso, tomato with rice, a large tomato filled with rice and baked with potatoes on the side, usually eaten in summer, as a PRIMO PIATTO .
Pomplemo – Grapefruit.
Porchetta – A real treat, porchetta is roasted pork stuffed with a mixture of salt, black pepper, wild fennel, and garlic. Porchetta can be eaten warm, but it is mostly savored at room temperature or cold. It can be purchased in chunks or slices.
Porcini, funghi – Boletus mushrooms, cepes.
Porcino di Borgotaro – Famous porcini mushrooms from the small town of Borgo Val di Taro.
Porco – Pig.
Perro – Leek.
Pranzo – Lunch generally, or a meal.
Prezzemolo – Parsley.
Preboggiòn – Collection of wild greens, with variances based on location and season.
Prescinsoeua – Ligurian soured milk; often used in making pesto.
Presnitz – Pastry dough stuffed with varied nuts, raisins, candied fruit, and cloves; typically served on Easter in Friuli-Venezia Giulia.
Prezzemolo – Parsley.
Primo sale – A sheep’s milk cheese in the early stages of maturation that tastes excellent grated over pasta.
Primizie – The first fruits or vegetables of the season.
Prosciutto di Parma – Salted, and aged ten to twelve months; Prosciutto di Parma is strictly produced within the province of Parma.
Prosciutto cotto – Thinly sliced ham from the hind legs of pigs that have been steam cooked.
Prosciutto di San Daniele – Salty and sweet flavor with a smooth texture; The climate of the Friuli-Venezia Giulia region give Prosciutto di San Daniele its unique characteristics.
Prosciutto toscano – Tuscan prosciutto, seasoned with black pepper and aged for eight to ten months. It is smaller, saltier, and chewier than Prosciutto di Parma.
Provola – Fresh buffalo’s milk cheese similar to SCAMORZA.
Prugna – Prune, plum.
Puntine – Small pasta for soup.
Puttanesca , alla – Literally whore’s-style; a quick-cooked tomato sauce for spaghetti that contains black olives, capers, anchovies, and red pepper.
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Q.B. (Quanto basta) – A term used in recipes to mean “as needed,” or “to taste”; literally “as much as is enough.”
Quadretti – Small, square egg pasta generally used in broth.
Quaresima – The period of time in the liturgical calendar known as Lent, meals that are served during the quaresima are by necessity meatless and spare.
Quartiretto – Roast young goat, stuffed with vegetables.
Quattro staggioni – This term literally means “four seasons” and is usually applied to a kind of pizza with four distinct toppings. Although these toppings can vary, they usually include artichokes, pancetta, and mushrooms.
Rabarbaro – Rhubarb.
Rafano – Horseradish.
Ragu’ – Generically, a hearty sauce, usually meat sauce, and subject to great regional variation; cf. BOLOGNESE.
Rapini – This is the Tuscan name for broccoli di rape, know in the United States as broccoli rabe. The stems, tender leaves, and buds of these vegetables of the turnip family are all eaten, and are usually boiled before sautéing to decrease their bitterness.
Ratafià – Sweet liquor made from bitter cherries.
Raviolo – (pl.) Ravioli, small stuffed pasta prepared in a variety of ways, but most traditionally filled with ricotta (with or without greens) reginelle (pl.) pasta strips with curly edges.
Razza – Skate (ray).
Ribollita – Bread-thickened kale soup (Tuscany).
Ricciarelli – Sienese almond cookies, typically covered with a layer of powdered sugar.
Ricotta romana – Produced using whey obtained from sheep’s milk. Ricotta romana is sweet and soft.
Robiola – Creamy, rich, and white cheese.
Rinforzo – Literally means “reinforcement.”
Risaia – Rice paddy.
Robiola – A mild and buttery cow’s milk cheese used in numerous dishes like pasta, appetizers, and salads.
Rocciata di Assissi – Mixed-fruit roll with nuts.
Romana, alla – Rome-style, a term whose definition varies depending on the individual dish.
Romanello – Very hard skim milk cheese whose main purpose is for grating.
Rosmarino – Rosemary.
Rosolio – A delicate liqueur made by macerating rose petals in an alcoholic infusion. Moderately alcoholic, Rosolio has a sweet taste and a unique bouquet. Serve with dessert.
Rosumada – Milanese eggnog, traditionally prepared with red wine, but for which water or milk is sometimes substituted.
Rotelle – Wheel-shaped pasta; also known as rotini.
Roventino – Typical Tuscan blood sausage.
Rucola – Eruca sativa; used in mixed salads. Known as arugula in the US.
Ruote – Literally means “wheels”; wheel-shaped pasta.
Ruspante – Free-range.
Saba – A grape syrup commonly produced in Emilia-Romagna by boiling and reducing white grape must. It is used to make thirst-quenching drinks as well as sweet toppings for desserts.
Sagne – (pl.) Short broad strips of pasta made from chickpea or spelt flour; nickname for lasagna.
Sagne chine – The Calabrese version of lasagne, sagne chine are stuffed with a combination of ground pork, fresh peas, diced mozzarella, mushrooms, artichokes, and sliced hard-boiled eggs.
Salame della Duja – Piedmontese pork sausage preserved in fat.
Salame di Varzi – Top-quality DOP pork salami produced in the village of Varzi.
Saltimbocca – A classic Roman dish that consists of slices of veal topped with prosciutto and a leaf of sage and held together by a toothpick. The meat is sautéed in butter until golden, then deglazed with white wine. Saltimbocca literally means “jump in your mouth.”
Salto – Lightly-fried.
Salumeria – A shop dedicated only to the retail of cold cuts and cured meats.
Salvia – Sage ( herb).
Salviata – Sage custard.
Sambuca – Anise flavored liqueur, customarily served con le mosche (“with flies”) meaning with three coffee beans floating in it.
Sanguinaccio – Blood pudding, black pudding, blood sausage; sweet pudding made from pig’s blood and chocolate.
Sarda – Sardine.
Sardenaira – Ligurian focaccia created by Admiral Andrea Doria. Sardenaira is topped with tomatoes, onions, basil, garlic, olives, capers, and anchovies.
Savoiardi – Long, think, ladyfinger cookies with an airy, delicate bite. Savoiardi measure about three inches long, 3/4-inch wide and 1/2-inch tall, ballooning outward slightly at both ends. A thin layer of sugar is sprinkled on top before baking. They are also known as biscotti al cucchiaio.
Scaccia – Pasta pie baked with tomato and broccoli.
Scachi – Tiny “crackers” for soup.
Scafa peas – Artichokes, fava beans, and potatoes stewed lightly in white wine.
Scalogna, scalogno – Shallot.
Scamorza – One of the most beloved plastic curd cheeses, scamorza is an ivory-colored cheese, made with sheep’s or cow’s milk, cinched with a string, giving it a characteristic pear shape. Scamorza can be either fresh or smoked and can be consumed within one or two days of production.
Scarpetta, fare la – The practice of wiping one’s plate with a piece of bread in order to soak up any remaining sauce. (Note: Though the practice is not considered polite at the finest of tables, its omission in certain situations can run the risk of offending the cook, especially if she is somebody’s mother).
Scorfano – Mediterranean scorpion fish (rascasse).
Schlutzkrapfen – Pasta from Trentino-Alto Adige; filled with sauerkraut, cheese, herbs, and potatoes.
Scialatielli – Chewy, handmade pasta from the Amalfi Coast often served with seafood sauces.
Scorfano – Mediterranean scorpion fish.
Scorzonera – A black or brown, scaly root used in numerous ways around the kitchen. Scremato – Literally “uncreamed”; skimmed.
Seadas – Sweet fried ravioli stuffed with Pecorino and grated orange or lemon zest; typically served with warm honey.
Segale – Rye.
Segato – Finely chopped and mixed with cheese.
Semifreddo – Literally “half cold”; a term used to allude to ice-cream-based desserts; type of soft ice cream made from meringue and whipped cream.
Semini – Literally “little seeds”; small pasta for soup resembling literal meaning.
Seppia – This cephalopod (called cuttlefish in Italian) is a close cousin to the squid, or calamare. Seppia and squid can be used almost interchangeably in cooking. Cuttlefish meat is generally more tender than squid and is often cooked with its ink, nero di seppia, an edible brown-black liquid very similar to squid ink. (The color sepia, a dark reddish-brown, takes its name from the cuttlefish ink that used was once used to make the pigment).
Serpentone – Umbrian pastry served on New Year’s Day; stuffed with walnuts, apples, wine-soaked almonds, and figs. Serpentone looks like a coiled snake.
Sfuso – In bulk; i.e., not packaged; vino sfuso, is bulk wine.
Sgonfiotti – Pastry puffs, fritters.
Sgroppino – Liquid sorbet containing alcohol.
Sgusciato – Shelled.
Sidro – Cider.
Soffritto – Soffritto is a combination of vegetables — carrots, onions, celery, and garlic — that are chopped and slowly cooked in butter, olive oil, or lard until they wilt and become aromatic. Soffritto is the starting point in building layers of flavor in most Italian dishes, and is often added to meat, fish, pasta, or rice.
Sogliola – Sole.
Sopresine – Small pasta for soup.
Soppressa – A Veneto sausage.
Soppressata – In northern Italy the term Soppressata refers to a cured meat made with parts of the pig’s head. In central and southern Italy it is a cured meat that goes by the name of coppa; in the rest of Italy, a lean and fatty pork meat combined and pressed together to yield a sliceable salami.
Sospiri di monaca – Literally “nun’s sighs”; cookies made from chocolate-covered almond or hazelnut paste (Sicily and Sardinia).
Speck – A smoky cured meat of Trentino-Alto Adige obtained from smoking the boneless haunch of a pig, then curing it for a long time until it takes on a rosy hue and a delicate flavor. Speck is chopped and folded into the batter for dumplings or is sliced and layered over pizzas or salads.
Spezie – Spices.
Spigola – Sea bass, striped bass .
Spina – Birra alla spina – Draft beer.
Spinaci – (pl.) Spinach.
Spongata – Described in some cookbooks as a sweet bun and found in many regions, spongata dates from Ancient Rome, where it was born as an unleavened pastry dough filled with honey. In classic versions from Parma and Busseto, the pastry is a rich cookie dough and the filling has been embellished to include almonds, toasted hazelnuts, walnuts, raisins, orange and citron peel, pine nuts, white wine, brandy, cinnamon, pepper, mace, and coriander.
Spuntino – Snack.
Squarciarella, alla – In a mushroom sauce.
Stelline – Small star-shaped pasta for soup.
Stiacciata – Flat bread, similar to focaccia.
Stinco – Shank of veal or pork, often roasted, though also braised.
Stivaletti – Literally, “little boots”; small, curving pasta tubes.
Storione – Leek.
Stracciatella – An ice cream, similar to chocolate chip, in which the chocolate is said to resemble the eggs in the soup, stracciatella all’ romana.
Stracciatella all’Romana – Egg-drop broth, where the eggs supposedly resemble “stracci,” meaning “rags.”
Strangolapreti – A thin, slightly curled pasta, usually handmade with water, eggs, and flour. In southern Italy the same name applies to gnocchi.
Strangozze – Maccheroni-like pasta from Umbria made with only flour or semolina and water.
Strapazzate – Uova, scrambled eggs.
Strascenate – Shell pasta.
Strascinati – Grooved pasta from Basilicata made only with flour and water.
Stricchetti – Pasta in the form of two bow-ties.
Strigolo – (pl.) Wild, spinach-like greens used in salads or for boiling.
Stringhetti – Egg pasta similar to tagliolini.
Stronghe – Long maccheroni.
Struffoli – Small balls of fried pasta held together with honey and decorated with candied fruit.
Suppa quatta – A Sardinian soup made by layering rustic bread with sliced Pecorino. Meat broth is then added and the dish is baked until the broth is nearly all absorbed by the bread.
Suppli – Rice croquette made and sold in pizzerias; found all over Italy, but most popularly found in Rome. The word, which is Roman, comes from the French for surprise, and owes its name to the glob of mozzarella hidden inside. The snack’s full name, supplí al telefono, is derived from the strings of mozzarella that form as the cheese melts and that are said to resemble telephone cords.
Surecilli – Literally, “little mice”; small gnocchi.
Taconelle – Pasta squares.
Taccozze – Puff pastry for noodles.
Tagliata – A very fine slice of beefsteak; in general, the steak is very rare and multiple slices are served.
Tagliatelle – Flat noodles, usually made with egg.
Taglierini – A thinner version of tagliatelle, taglierini are a thin, ribbon pasta with a flat, rectangular cut. Made with semolina flour and water, taglierini are good with any vegetable or fish-based sauces.
Tajarin – Thinner version of tagliatelle from Piedmont.
Taralli – Crisp, black pepper-laced, pretzel-shaped snacks made in southern Italy. There are sweet versions where sugar and cinnamon are added to the batter.
Tarantello – A Pugliese cured-tuna salami.
Tardura – Fresh bread crumbs held together by egg and cheese, and cooked in broth.
Tartar – A type of non-sweet pudding, made from egg, milk, cheese, onion, and spices.
Tartufo – (1) Truffle, the tuber; (2) A chocolate ice cream dessert molded into the shape of a truffle, and covered in chocolate.
Tartufo d’Alba – White truffle from the small town of Alba, in the province of Cuneo.
Tartufo di Norcia – Black truffle from the town of Norcia, in the province of Perugia.
Testoni – Young eels.
Tigelle – Rounds of bread dough that are cooked over a burner in a special 2-sided metal pan called a “stampo per tigelle.” Crunchy on the outside but soft and doughy on the inside, they are sliced open at the table, filled and eaten like a sandwich. Though the traditional filling is a pesto made from garlic, rosemary, lard and Parmigiano cheese, it is also common to eat the dough rounds stuffed instead with sliced, cured meats such as salami, prosciutto or mortadella.
Timo – Thyme; thymus gland.
Tiramisú – Literally it means “pick me up”; a rich, layered dessert of sponge cake with brandy and ESPRESSO, MASCARPONE with egg, and chocolate.
Tonnarelli – Long, slightly square handmade spaghetti most commonly served with amatriciana sauce.
Tonno – Tuna.
Torcinelli – Lamb liver rolled in caul fat, tied, then roasted; usually flavored with parsley or garlic.
Tortelli – Small pie or omelet, which is sometimes sweetened; filled pasta rectangles, often twisted at the ends and resembling pieces of wrapped candy.
Tortellini – Small rings of pasta filled with meat; generally found in broth, but sometimes served topped with a sauce.
Tortelloni – Large, triangle-shaped pasta filled with ricotta, grana padano, eggs, parsley, and a hint of nutmeg. Usually served before Christmas because they do not contain meat. Tortelloni can also be stuffed with pumpkin purée.
Tosella – Slices of fresh cheese sautéed in butter.
Totano – Squid.
Tozzetti – Cookies from the region of Latium, made with beaten eggs, sugar, aniseed, white wine, hazelnuts, and almonds.
Tramezzino – Tramezzino is the Italian name for sandwich, created by the fascist regime to replace the foreign expression. The word tramezzino means “in the middle” and it refers to the ingredients that are placed between the two bread slices. Typically, tramezzini are triangular- shaped and are stuffed with cold cuts, tuna, or vegetables.
Trenette – Long pasta, similar to linguine.
Triglia – pl. Triglie – Red mullet.
Tripolini – Small egg-pasta bow-ties used in soup.
Troccoli – Rustic tagliatelle made of durum flour and eggs, then cut with a special tool, called troccolo, which looks like a grooved rolling pin. Usually served with meat sauces.
Trofie – Small rolled pasta from the region of Liguria made with water, salt, and flour. The dough is kneaded by hand for ten minutes, then cut into tiny pea-size bits and rolled under the palm to create an elongated shape with curling ends. Oftern served with Pesto sauce.
Trota – Trout; trota iridea, rainbow trout; trota salmonata, a pink fleshed trout.
Tuffolone – Large tubes of pasta, typically stuffed and ultimately placed in the oven for baking.
Uardi e fasui – Bean and barley soup.
Ubriaco – Literally means “drunken,” it refers to dishes containing large amounts of alcohol.
Uccelletto – Indicates the dish has been cooked with sage or bay leaves. This is the traditional method of preparing small game birds (uccelletto in Italian), and has lent its name to dishes like fagiolini all’uccelletto, which is comprised of cannellini beans, tomato, and sage.
Umbrici – fat, handmade spaghetti from Umbria.
Unto – Oily, greasy.
Uva concord – American grape.
Uva Fragola – Black grape used to make “fragolino” wine; Uva Fragola is literally called strawberry.
Uva Italia – Large Muscat grape; known to be one of the best of Italy.
Uva Regina – Elongated grape known for its golden hue and sweet taste.
Uva spina – Gooseberry.
Uvetta – Raisins.
Valigini – Literally, “little cases” or “purses”; meat rolls filled with parsley, garlic, egg, cheese, and bread crumbs.
Vaniglia – Vanilla.
Vanillina – Vanilla-flavored sugar used in baking and sold in little envelopes.
Vermicelli – The word most commonly used in Campania and in Calabria to describe thin spaghetti.
Verza – Savoy cabbage.
Verzata – Cabbage casserole.
Veste verde – Wrapped in vine leaves.
Vianda – Dried, homemade pasta from Genova.
Viccillo – Ring-shaped pasta filled with salami, mozzarella, and hard-boiled egg.
Vignarolla – Roman dish served in the spring containing braised fresh peas, fava beans, artichokes, and possibly bacon (guanciale).
Vin santo – Tuscan dessert wine, with a nutty-caramel flavor and a deep golden color, traditionally served with cantucci.
Vinello – A light table wine (i.e., the type of bottle brought on picnics).
Violini – Goat prosciutto, sliced by hand with a long blade (as if playing a violin).
Vitella, vitello – Veal.
Vongole – Clams; vongole veraci, small clams with a pair of tiny “horns” on the meat.
Vuotazucchine – Long corer used to make a cylindrical hollow in zucchini so that they can be stuffed.
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Zabaglione – A dessert of egg yolks, sugar, and Marsala, or an ice cream of the same flavor, sweetened egg custard with Marsala; often spelled Zabaione.
Zafferano – Saffron.
Zaleti – A flattened cookie-like pastry common of Emilia-Romagna, Veneto, and Trentino-Aldo Adige.
Zenzero – Ginger; red pepper.
Zeppole – Southern Italian sweet fritters; prepared during Carnevale.
Ziti – Long, hollow pasta tube.
Zucca – Pumpkin; squash, winter squash; see also fiore.
Zucchero – Sugar.
Zucchine, zucchini – Summer squash, zucchini.
Zuccotto – A type of semifreddo dessert molded into a hemispheric shape; its name probably derives form the slang meaning of zucca (literally, “pumpkin” or “squash”), which is “head.”
Zuppa angelica – A sponge cake dessert topped with a chocolate cream sauce, and similar to Zuppa Inglese.
Zuppa Inglese – A desert of English origin, consisting of wedges of sponge cake or ladyfingers dipped in sweet wine or liquor. Whipped cream, candied fruit and chopped bittersweet chocolate are then layered in between. Zuppa Inglese is similar to the English trifle.
Zurrette – Sardinian recipe similar to the Scottish haggis. Lamb’s blood, lardo, cheese, and bread are stuffed into a lamb’s stomach and boiled.
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