As one of our Pasta Pantry mottos go, “when it comes to good food, we’re all Italian at heart.” Food is a great way to learn more about a country’s culture. While we love preparing a variety of foods for you to try, we also love sharing the history behind some of our tastiest items. Today, we’ve picked a few of our favourite items to give you a brief explanation behind their meaning. Bust out one of these words during lunch or dinner with your friends; you’ll instantly become the expert on Italian food, especially when you swing by Pasta Pantry! (for added effect, you can even talk with your hands)
Have you ever tried to describe pasta that’s cooked perfectly? For the true Italian experience, your pasta needs to be slightly firm when eating it. In Italian, this is known as “al dente,” which roughly translates into “to the tooth” in English. When preparing pasta, it’s important to know when this stage occurs. Your pasta will continue cooking after you drain the water; if you leave it in for too long, it’ll become soggy (that’s one of our biggest nightmares besides people buying store-bought sauce).
When it comes to cheeses, it’s easy to mix things up. Our Pasta Pantry Mac N Cheese uses four different types, including Grana Padano Parmigiano, Pecorino Romano, Asiago, and Ricotta…but what’s the difference between them all? While they might sound like a mouthful, they’re actually quite simple. Grana Padano Parmigiano, which is known to be one of the most popular cheeses to come out of Italy, has a particular grainy texture, whereas Pecorino is a pasteurized salty cheese that comes from sheep’s milk (in fact, pecora means sheep in Italian).
Perhaps the most versatile of our cheeses, Asiago can be enjoyed both as soft cheese on sandwiches or as a hard cheese to be used for sauces, soups, and salads. Ricotta, the Italian word for “recooked,” is a soft, creamy cheese that comes from cow’s milk. It can be used for things like lasagna and our very own Mac N Cheese, but also for sweet treats like cheesecake!
When it comes to Italian desserts, it’s tough to top the mighty tiramisu. Originating from the Italian phrase for “pick me up,” this heavenly dessert made up of lady fingers, mascarpone, and topped with a generous amount of cocoa makes for a treat that can’t be passed up. While we do encourage sharing, you might want to get multiple slices—its truly that good.