Words To Live By

Italian Food Forever

Alphabetical List Of Ingredients

This glossary gives a description of some of the more commonly used ingredients in Italian cuisine all categorized in alphabetical order. Simply browse through the list, or click on a letter above for the ingredient you are searching for. Don't forget to check out the additional informational links which are bolded throughout the list!
ABBACCHIO & AGNELLO - Lamb. Younger animals are called abbacchio and are usually spit roasted whole. Older lamb is called agnello, and has a stronger flavor. This lamb is usually roasted or stewed.

ACETO - Italians make both red and white wine vinegars as a by-product from their wine production. See also Balsamic vinegar.

ACETO BALSAMICO - This is considered the best of all Italian vinegars. It is dark brown in color, and has a mellow, sweet flavor. The best balsamico is produced around Modena.

ALCHERMES - A red-colored liqueur made from flowers and spices with a slightly bitter taste, traditionally used to make Zuppa Inglese.

AFFETTATO - A selection of cold cuts or cold meats often served as an antipasto.

AGLIO - Garlic. Actually a member of the lily family, garlic is a common ingredient in Italian cuisine. In moderate quantities, it adds flavor to almost any sauce, soup or stew. Garlic is also commonly used with roasted or grilled meats.

AGNOLOTTI - A Piedmontese stuffed pasta which was born as a way of using left-over meats, agnolotti are made differently depending on the meat available, local habit and the preferences of the cook. Agnolotti can be served in a broth, tossed with melted butter and fresh sage, or lavished with a truffle sauce or gravy from roasts.

AGRUMI - A general term referring to all citrus fruits.

ALBICOCCA - Appricot. Apricots, are not widely cultivated in Italy, although they are a popular fruit and used in many desserts.

ALLORO - Bay Leaf. It is almost always used dry. One dried leaf is enough to flavour most dishes, and must be removed after cooking.

ALMONDS - See Mandorle

AMARO - A bitter aperitivo much appreciated in Italy flavored with herbs. Generally consumed before meals.

AMARENA - Morello cherries. A bitter cherry grown in Italy most commonly preserved in syrup or brandy.

AMARETTI - A traditional crunchy cookie in Italy made with ground almonds.

ANATRA - Duck. 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 saut�ed.

ANCHOVIES - See Filletti di Acciughe

ANIMELLE - Sweetbreads. From the thymus glands of a calf, usually saut�ed or grilled, and often chopped up and used in pastas as a filling.

ANISE - Small plant from the parsley family with a sweet licorice flavor.

ANISETTE - Clear and sweet liqueur made with anise seeds.

APERITIVO - An alcoholic beverage often consumed before meals in Italy and thought to stimulate the appetite and promote digestion.

ARANCIA - Orange. Many varieties of oranges are grown in southern Italy and Sicily, including one of the most famous Sicilian orange, the blood orange which has bright ruby red flesh. Oranges are most commonly eaten fresh, or their juice used in desserts.

ARAGOSTA - Spiny or rock lobster, not as large as the American lobster, usually eaten boiled or grilled, often cold with a lemon or mayonnaise dressing.

AROMI - A general term for herbs like rosemary, thyme, basil, and bay leaves used in Italian cooking.

ARUGULA - See Rucola

ASIAGO - An Italian cheese from the Veneto region. When young, is mild and eaten on it's own. After it has aged, it has a more piquant, saltier flavor and is usually used only for grating and cooking.

ASAPARAGI - Asparagus. Both white and green varieties are available across Italy. Young spears are simply boiled, steamed or roasted and dressed with olive oil and grated cheese.

AUBERGINE- See Melanzane

BACCALA - Salted dried cod. Also known as stoccafisso although true stockfish is dried but unsalted. Baccala must be soaked for a couple of days, changing the water often before it can be used.

BACON - See Pancetta

BAGNET - In a dialect of Piedmont, this means sauce ("little bath"). A red and a green version are common, and both are used to accompany bollito misto, a typically Piedmontese assortment of boiled meats. The red bagn�t features tomatoes, carrots, celery, onions, and garlic that are cooked for half an hour, to which wine vinegar and sugar are added; the sauce is then simmered for two more hours. The green bagn�t is a piquant blend of anchovies, hard-boiled egg yolks, parsley, garlic, capers, bread that has been soaked in milk and squeezed dry, extra-virgin olive oil and salt and pepper.

BALSAMIC VINEGAR - See Aceto Balsamico

BARBATIETOLE - Beets. This red, succulent root of a biennial plant (Beta vulgaris). Often dressed with vinegar and served cold and sliced, but can also be served hot. Beets have a sweet, earthy flavor when roasted.

BASILICO - Basil. An herb with an intense aroma and sweet flavor it is associated with Italian cuisine more than any other herb. Often used in tomato sauces, pizza, salads, soups and omlets.

BATTUTA - A mixture of onion, garlic, fatback, and other ingredients added for flavoring a stew or soup. If saut�ed, it is called a soffritto.

BAVETTE - Ribbon shaped long pasta.

BECIAMELLA - B�chamel sauce. A white sauce made from butter, and milk thickened with flour that is used in many dishes in an Italian kitchen.

BEETS - See Barbabietole

BELL PEPPER - See Peperoni

BEL PAESE - A creamy, light Italian cheese with a mild, sweet flavor. Used as a spread or in cooking as it melts well.

BIETOLA - Swiss Chard. Popular all year round across Italy and used in many dishes.

BIGA - A starter made for bread from flour, yeast and water.

BIGOLI - Long, spaghetti-like dry pasta with a hole in the center. Traditionally they were made with buckwheat flour, but are more commonly made with whole wheat flour now.

BISCOTTI - Cookies whose name means "twice baked" that are very crunchy and made to dip into coffee or wine. See recipes for Biscotti.

BOCCON - A style of pasta from Veneto traditionally made with ricotta cheese and spinach mixed into the dough.

BOCCONCINI - "Little balls" of fresh Mozzarella. Mozzarella cheese is produced in Albruzzi-Molise and Campania and is made from fresh cows milk. Mozzarella is the larger of the balls of cheese produced in the process. The smaller balls are the bocconcini.

BORLOTTI BEANS - A small red speckled pink bean often used in soups and stews. Most often used dried rather than fresh.

BOTTARGA - These are dried, salted and pressed roe of grey mullet or tuna and a specialty of Sardinia, Sicily and Veneto. Most often it is served as an antipasto thinly sliced and dressed with olive oil, or grated over pasta.

BOVOLO - Snail. Usually saut�ed with garlic and olive oil.

BRANZINO - Also known as spigola, this fish is known as sea bass in North America. Often cooked whole, it is delicate in flavor and has few bones.

BRESAOLA - Cured raw beef similar in appearance to prosciutto. A specialty of Lombardy, but enjoyed across Italy. Most often it is served as an appetizer, sliced very thin and drizzled with olive oil and lemon.

BROCCOLI RABE - See Cima di Rape

BROCOLETTI - Broccoli. Usually boiled or steamed, saut�ed in olive oil and garlic or served cold with olive oil and lemon.

BRODETTO - A general term for any fish soup or chowder.

BRODO - Broth or stock. Can be made from vegetables, meats or fish.

BUCATINI - Long strands of dry pasta with a hole in the center.

BURRO - Butter. Italian butter usually contains a higher fat content than American butter. It is used more in the north of Italy, particularly with pastries, and in some pasta or risotto dishes, but very little is used to cook with.

CACIOCAVALLO - From southern Italy, caciocavallo (meaning "cheese on horseback") comes from cow's milk and has a mild, slightly salty flavor and firm, smooth texture when young (about 2 months). As it ages, the flavor becomes more pungent and the texture more granular, making it ideal for grating.

CALAMARI - Squid or cuttlefish. Very popular in Italy either deep fried or lightly boiled and served in a seafood salad. The black ink from this seafood is used to flavor and color both pasta and risotto.

CANERDERLI - A specialty of Trentino-Adige, these bread dumplings are the Italian version of Austrian and German kn�del. Often served in rich meat broths, they are made with stale white or rye bread moistened in milk and bound with eggs, and frequently flavored with parsley, speck (a local cured ham), nutmeg, and caraway seeds. Liver is sometimes add to make canederli al fegato.

CANELLA - Cinnamon. It is most often used for baking desserts and cookies.

CANNELLINI BEANS - A white bean popular across Italy but particularly in Tuscany. Mild in flavor and shaped like a kidney bean, it is rarely eaten fresh, only dried.

CANNELLONI - Literally translated as "big tubes", this pasta is rolled around a savory filling, topped with a sauce and baked.

CANTUCCI - Hard, almond flavored biscuits or cookies commonly called biscotti outside of Italy. Originating from Tuscany, they are designed to be dipped into coffee or a sweet wine called vin santo.

CAPPELLACCI - Named for their appearance as "small hats", this pasta originates from Emilia Romagna.

CAPELLI D'ANGELO - Angel hair pasta. Best served with a light sauce.

CAPPERI - Capers are intensely flavored flower buds of a wild Mediterranean shrub. Either preserved in vinegar or salt they add a piquant, peppery flavor to Italian dishes.

CAPRINI - Goat cheese. This cheese has a very pungent flavor which becomes much stronger as it ages. Fresh it is used in salads or as an appetizer.

CAPRA - Goat. Either roasted, grilled, or, if tough, stewed.

CAPSICUM - A large fleshy pepper with a sweet/mild flavour. Can be orange, red, yellow, green or black. Also known as Bell Pepper.

CARDI - Cardoons. This vegetable which resembles celery is actually part of the artichoke family. They are eaten raw in salads, and fried, braised or baked as a side dish.

CARCIOFI - Italian artichokes. Originating in Sicily where they grow wild, they are now cultivated across Italy. A specialty of Roman cooking, they are often braised or boiled before eating. Small, tender, young artichokes can be thinly sliced, dressed as a salad, and eaten raw.

CARNE - General term referring to all meat.

CAROTA - Carrot. Combined with onions and celery it is part of the "holy trinity" in soffritto.

CASTAGNE - Chestnuts. An important ingredient in Tuscan, Ligurian and Sardinian cuisine, both fresh, and dried and milled into flour. Chestnuts are poached in wine, roasted, or fried in butter as a garnish. In Piedmonte, they candy chestnuts to make marrons glace.

CAVALO - Cabbage. An important ingredient in many hearty winter soups, there are a number of varieties found in Italy. Cavolo Nero is a very dark leafy cabbage found in Tuscany.

CAVATELLI - This pasta looks like a small ridged square that has curled up.

CAVOLFIORE - Cauliflower. Cooked in many ways including in tomato sauce. Also is used in a traditional pasta sauce.

CECI - Also known as garbanzo beans, or chickpeas. Shaped like small hazelnuts, they have a nutty flavor.

CHICKPEAS - See Ceci above.

CHITARRINE - A traditional pasta of Abruzzo made with a board with wires running across it on which the dough is rolled creating square shaped spaghetti like strands.

CIOCCOLATA - Chocolate.

CICORIA DI CAMPO - Dandelions. This peppery wild leaf can now be found in a cultivated version which tends to have a little milder flavor. Young leaves are served in salads, while older, more bitter leaves should be braised.

CIMA DI RAPE - Broccole Rabe. A green bitter vegetable unless harvested young. Looks like broccoli but has skinnier stalks. The leaves, stems and florets are eaten. Really good sauteed with garlic and olive oil and served over pasta. Also known as Italian broccoli, rabe, rapini.

CINGHIALE - Wild boar. These are the ancestors of domestic pigs which used to roam wild in the forests of Tuscany and Sradinia. The meat is used in the same manner as pork.

CIPOLLE - Onion. This vegetable plays an important part in Italian cuisine, and a number of varieties grow in Italy. The red variety are the most common variety used for general cooking.

CLAMS - See Vongole

COCKLES - See Clams

CONFETTURA - Jam. Also called marmellata, which originally meant citrus fruit marmalade.

CONIGLIO - Rabbit. Farmed and wild rabbits are often used in place of veal or chicken in Italian cuisine. It is often slow braised with herbs, wine and vegetables.

CONCHIGLE - A shell shaped dry pasta that cradles a chunky sauce well.

CONCENTRATO O PUREA DI POMODORO - Tomato Paste or Tomato Concentrate. A thick deep red paste bought in tubes or cans used in small quantities to thicken sauces or give colour and to enhance flavour.


COPPA - A salted and dried sausage made from the neck or shoulder of pork often used in sandwiches or as an antipasto. It is deep red in color and can be found in both mild and spicy versions.

CORDIAL - A liqueur, or sweet alcoholic beverage, most often consumed after dinner.

CORNFLOUR - A starch usually made from wheat. Used to thicken sauces etc. Also called cornstarch.

CORNMEAL - Ground corn used in polenta.

COSTOLETTA - Cutlet or chop of pork, lamb or veal, also called cotoletta, the popular term for breaded veal cutlet. Cotoletta Milanese is a thinly breaded veal chop fried golden brown and served with lemon wedges.

COTECHINO - This is a large, fresh sausage lightly spiced and salted. It is a specialty of Emilia Romagna, and is often served on a bed of stewed lentils.

COURGETTE - See Zucchini

COUSCOUS - The separated grain of the wheat plant. When dried and milled, it becomes semolina flour, which is what pasta is made out of. However, as a grain, it makes a terrific rice substitute that has the advantage of being more flavorful (nutty with an interesting texture as long as it is not over cooked) as well as about five times quicker to make than rice.

COZZE - Mussels. These are used in many pasta and fish dishes, as well as served on their own after steaming them in a flavorful broth.

CREMA - Pastry cream or custard.

CRESCENZA - A rich, creamy, fresh cheese, also known as Crescenza Stracchino , that's widely made in Italy's regions of Lombardy, Piedmont and Veneto. Its texture and flavor are similiar to that of a mild cream cheese, and it becomes very soft and spreadable at room temperature.

CRESPELLE - Crepes. These thin pancake like sheets are filled with a savory filling for a first course, or a sweet filling for dessert.

CROSTATA - An open faced tart, either sweet or savory.

DADO - Bouillon cube for making meat, vegetable, or fish stocks.

DANDELION - See Cicoria di Campo

DIAVOLILLO - Abruzzo and Molise's super-hot chili pepper, or peperoncino rosso> Diavolillo nearly defines the cooking of these two regions. Since Abruzzo and Molise are fond of spicy food, you'll find minced chili infusing in local olive oil, ready to pour on soups, marinades for meat or poultry, and most commonly to sauce spaghetti. Spaghetti al Diavolillo is a signature dish of the area that uses this hot chili. Diavolillo is also dried and ground, flavoring much of the food in Abruzzo and Molise.

DIGESTIVO - An alcoholic beverage found in bars and restaurants across Italy. Thought to have properties to aid in digestion.

DRAGONCELLO - Tarragon, a seasoning herb.

EGGPLANT - See Melanzane


ESPRESSO - Coffee in Italy.

ESTRATTO - Extract. Can be such flavors as lemon or vanilla, or even beef.

FAGIANO - Pheasant, usually grilled, roasted or stewed.

FAGIOLI - Beans in Italian. See individual types.

FAGIOLINI - String beans, either yellow or green. Usually boiled and served cold or stewed with tomato, garlic and herbs.

FARAONA - Guinea Fowl or Hen. This bird is very popular in Italy and is prepared as you would prepare chicken. They are often pot roasted, or cooked in a casserole with wild mushrooms and other seasonings.

FARFALLE - This dried pasta is often called bowties or butterflies for it's shape.

FARINA - Flour. Most Italian bakers use 00 or doppio zero flour which is softer than all-purpose flour. If you cannot find it, use 2 tablespoons less of all-purpose flour per cup than the recipe calls for.

FARRO - Farro in Italian, this hard wheat is most often used in Tuscan cuisine. One of the hardest of all grains, it must be soaked for a long period before cooking, and is commonly used in soups and salads.

FAVA - Fava beans are best eaten very fresh in the spring and early summer when they are small and tender. Later, they can be cooked and skinned. Very popular around Rome they are often served with prosciutto or pecorino cheese. See recipe for Fava Beans.

FAZZOLETTI - Named for an irregular handerkerchief, these delicate pasta sheets are folded over a savory filling and topped with sauce and commonly baked.

FECOLA - A starch such as corn starch used for thickening and baking.

FEGATO - Liver. Usually calves liver is preferred. Fegato alla Veneziano is a famous dish made with liver.

FETTUCCINE - A broad, fresh long strand pasta commonly made from eggs and flour.

FICO - Figs. Figs are grown across Italy, and are eaten both fresh in the summer months and dried throughtout the rest of the year. Figs can be either purple or green, and both are sweet and tender when ripe. Often served on their own, figs are often served with nuts, prosciutto, salami, or cooked in desserts.

FILBERTS - See Nociole. Also known as hazelnuts.

FILLETTI DI ACCIUGHE - Anchovies. These are small fish preserved in oil or salt and often used in Italian dishes for flavoring.

FINOCCHIO - Fennel. Yet another important vegetable to Italian cuisine, it has a delicate flavor of aniseed and a very crisp, refreshing texture similar to celery. Often eaten raw, it also makes a great vegetable side dish baked or braised.

FINOCCHIELLA - Fennel Seeds. Yellowish in color and very fragrant, fennel grows wild in the highlands of Italy. The seeds are used to flavor roasts of meat and fish, as well as cured meats and sausages.

FIORE DI LATTE - "Flower of milk," a soft fresh cow's milk mozzarella.

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.

FONTINA - Genuine Fontina cheese comes from the Val d'Aosta area in Italy. It is a young cheese, with a mild, nutty flavor and creamy texture. Although it is great on it's own, since it melts so well, it is often used in cooking.

FRAGOLA - Strawberry. Fragola di bosco or selvatica is the wild type.

FRISELLE - Also known as Frisedde or Frise, this is a hard twice-cooked bread roll that looks similar to a split bagel, which is first soaked in water, then dressed with tomatoes, oregano and extra-virgin olive oil.

FRUTTA DI BOSCO - "Fruit of the forest". Refers to a mix of berries often served with lemon, sugar, or ice cream.

FUNGHI - General name for mushrooms. See Porcini

FUSILLI - Short, twisted corkscrew like pasta that holds sauce well.


GAMBERETTI - Shrimp. There are many varieties of shrimp in the waters around Italy, including gambaretti, small pink shrimp, gamberelli, larger shrimp most often used in fritto misto or mixed fry, and larger still are gamberi. Shrimp are used in a vast number of Italian recipes. Shrimp Scampi.


GARGANELLI - This fresh pasta is a square that is rolled around a dowel over a ridged comb like tool. It's final appearance is a grooved, diamond shaped tube.

GARLIC - See Aglio

GELATINA - Gelatin. Often used to make aspic dishes.

GELATO - Frozen dessert, such as ice cream or sherbet, of wide-ranging flavors, chiefly fruit, nuts and chocolate.

GEMELLI - Translated as "twins", this dried pasta looks like two strands of short pasta twisted together.

GNOCCHI - These are small dumplings, and can be made from just about any starchy vegetable (commonly the potato), ricotta cheese, or semolina flour. They are served like pasta or risotto, as a first course, and should be light in texture, and almost melt in the mouth.

GORGONZOLA - This is an Italian blue cheese that is creamy in color with greenish blue veining throughout. Young, it has an almost sweet, mellow flavor, although once aged it can become quite powerful.

GRANA - Two of Italy's most widely acclaimed cheeses, Parmigiano Reggiano and Grana Padano, belong to the Grana (granular) group of cheeses, those finely-grained hard cheeses which originated in the Po Valley to the north of the country. They are basically very similar cheeses although of the two, Grana Padano matures marginally faster. See more about

GRANCHIO - Crab of various types, which may be boiled, roasted, baked, or grilled.

GRANITA - Made by freezing liquid (often coffee or lemon juice) into crystals of grainy texture. Granita are usually made with a simple flavored sugar syrup rather than an egg custard or cream base as gelato is.

GRAPPA - A colorless alcohol with an alcohol content of 40 percent distilled from the pressed skins and seeds of the grapes left after wine making.

HAZELNUTS - See Nociole.Also known as filberts.

ICING SUGAR - see Sugar and other sweeteners

INDIVIA - Endive. Refers to all types in this family such as invidia riccia and scarola (curly and broad-leafed escarole), and invidia belga (Belgian endive).

INSALATA - A general name referring to all salads. 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.

INVOLTINI - Rolls of thinly sliced veal, pork or fish cooked with a stuffing.

LADYFINGERS- See Savoiardi

LAMPONE - Raspberries. Either eaten fresh or made into granita or gelato.

LARDO - An extremely fatty bacon always used in cooking.

LASAGNA - A baked layered pasta dish made throughout Italy with many variations.

LATTE - Milk.

LATTUGA - General name for lettuce.

LEAVENING AGENTS - Baking soda is sodium bicarbonate. It must be mixed with acidic ingredients to work. Baking powder contains baking soda and a powdered acid, so it can work without other acidic ingredients.

LENTICCHIE - Lentils. They grow in a pod in the area around Umbria, and are always podded and dried before using. Often stewed with vegetables as a side dish, or made into a salad, they also are served with zampone or cotecchino. See recipe for Lentil Soup.

LIMONE - Lemon. Lemons grow across Italy, both in some of the northern regions as well as the south. The Almafi coast however is the most famous region in Italy growing lemons where they flourish. The juice of the lemon is used in many Italian dishes, and enhances the flavor of many vegetable, meat, and seafood dishes.

LIQUORI - Liqueur. The term covers the range of distilled spirits, such as grappa and brandy, and compositions, such as amaro, limonello and sambuca.

LONZA - Cured pork tenderloin. Usually roasted.

LUGANEGA - This sausage is a specialty of northern Italy, and is made from pork, often containing parmesan cheese.

LUMACHE - Snails. Often prepared with garlic and olive oil.

MAIONESE - Mayonnaise.

MAILE - Pork. Much of the pork in Italy is turned into sausage, salami and hams, although Italians across Italy do enjoy fresh pork. Common methods of cooking it are roasting, grilling, and braising it with milk. Roasemary and sage are both popular herbs used with pork.

MALLOREDDUS - A southern Italian style of gnocchi made with semolina flour. In Sardinia, they also add saffron to the dough.

MANDORLE - Almonds. Two varieties of almonds are grown and used in Italy, dolci or sweet almonds used in desserts and baking, and mandorle amare or bitter almonds which are used in liqueurs and in ammaretti cookies.

MANICOTTI - Large tube maccheroni stuffed with a ricotta cheese filling and baked.

MANZO - Beef. Although much of the beef found in Italy is though to be of poorer quality than that found in North America, Tuscan beef from Val di Chiana used in the famous bistecche alla fiorentna is thought to rival any other beef worlwide. Less tender cuts of beef are stewed, braised or ground.

MARSALA WINE - A sweet Sicilian wine that adds a special flavour to meat dishes and desserts.

MARZAPANE - Marzipan. Sweetened almond paste used in a variety of desserts.

MASCARPONE - A soft Italian cheese that is a delicately flavored tripple cream cheese. Often used in the same fashion as whipped cream, it is an important ingredient in Tiramisu.

MELA Apple. Widely used in pastry and desserts.

MELANZANE - Often considered the Queen of Italian vegetables, this particular vegetable is especially popular in southern Italy. In Italy, there are a number of varieties of eggplants found, including the usual large purple variety, a delicate white version, and a striped reddish pink version. Very versatile, they add a depth of flavor to any dish they are added to. Perhaps the most famous dish known using eggplants is Eggplant Parmesan. .

MELOGRANA - Pomegranate. Principally used as a flavoring and coloring in beverages.

MELONE- Melons. A variety of fruit which all have a thick, hard, inedible rind, sweet meat, and lots of seeds. Common examples are watermelon and cantaloupe.

MENTA - Mint. Many varietes are used in cooking to flavor meats and vegetables such as zucchini and eggplants.

MIELE - Honey. There are numerous different varieties of flavored honey throughout Italy.

MIRTILLO - Blueberry. Eaten fresh or used in desserts.

MOLECA Soft shell crab. Very popular in Venice when in season, and most commonly served fried.

MOSTARDA DI CREMONA - Mustard Fruit Chutney. This Italian specialty consists of candied fruit chutney with a bite of mustard flavor that originates from Cremona. This relish is usually served with cotecchino, or a combination of boiled meats called bolito misto.

MORTADELLA - This sausage originates from Bologna. It has a distinctive pink color, and is studded with cubes of creamy fat and sometimes pistachios. It is usually thinly slices and eaten cold in sandwichesor as an antipasto with other cold cuts.

MOSTO DI VINO - Wine must. Made into a syrup and used in many traditional recipes as a sweetener.

MOZZARELLA - Mozzarella is a soft, white cheese with a very delicate flavor that is the cheese of choice for most recipes calling for a melting cheese. Buffalo mozzarella is made from water buffaloes aound the Naples area, and is best eaten fresh.

MUSSELS - See Cozze

NOCIOLE - Hazelnuts or filberts. Along with almonds, these are one of the most commonly used nuts in Italian desserts and baking.

NOCI - Walnuts. Grown throughout central and southern Italy they are usually eaten straight from the shell as a dessert. As well as a popular ingredient in desserts, they are also ground and chopped and used in a delicious sauce for pasta.

NOCINO - Bittersweet liqueur made with green walnuts in their husks.

NUTELLA - A thick smooth paste made from chocolate and hazelnuts. Can be spread on plain cookies, bread, or toast.

OCA - Goose. Commonly roasted, often served with chestnuts.

OCTOPUS - See Polipi

ODORI - Refers to aromatics such as onion, carrot and celery used in recipes.

OLIVE - Olives. A wide variety of olives are grown across Italy, most being used to produce olive oil. Both black and green olives are eaten raw or used in cooking many Italian specialties.

OLIO DI OLIVE - Olive oil. In Italy, olive oil, or olio di oliva, is the most commonly used fat. It is pressed from the pulp of ripe olives. Different regions produce very different flavored oils depending on the growing conditions. Tuscan oil is most often considered the best tasting oil of all. Extra virgin olive oil is made by pressing the olives with no further processing. It's regulation is very strict, and produces oil with a very distictive flavor. Olive oil is used as the fat of choice for most Italian recipes, while extra virgin olive oil is used uncooked as a condiment only.

OLIO SANTO - Translated as "holy water", this is a spicy olive oil flavored with peperoncino.

ORATA - Sea Bream. This fish has a tasty, flaky white flesh, and is usually baked, broiled or cooked on a grill.

ORECCHIETTE - Called "little ears" for it's shape, this pasta from Puglia is made from flour and water, and is often served with a vegetable based sauce.

ORIGANO - Oregano. This herb is used more commonly in southern Italian cooking, while marjoram, maggiorana is more commonly used in the north. Oregano has a stronger flavor, and is often used in sauces as well as a flavoring for meat.

ORZO - Barley, also Pearl Barley. Barley is used in porridge and soups, but also for making hot and cold beverages. The name is also given to a small dried pasta, similar to rice in shape but larger, ideal for soups.

OSTRICA - Oysters. Most commonly consumed raw or baked.

PAGLIA E FIENO - Translates as "Straw and Hay." This is a mix of green spinach pasta and yellow egg tagliatelle or tagliolini, commonly sauced with cream, ham and peas. A Tuscan specialty.

PAGNOTTA - A large round loaf of bread.

PALLIARD - Thinly pounded slices of meat, often veal, chicken or beef.

PALOMBO - Dogfish. Commonly stewed or used in soups.

PAN AL LATTE - A light, spongy, cake-like type of bread.

PAN BIGIO - "Gray bread." Coarse gray-colored bread made of unrefined flour.

PANCETTA - Unsmoked bacon made from pork belly and then cured in salt and spices giving it a mild flavor. It can be eaten raw as an antipasto, but is usually cut into strips and fried to flavor many Italian dishes.

PAN CON UVA - Raisin bread.

PAN DI RAMERINO - Bread flavored with rosemary, a Tuscan specialty.

PAN DI SPAGNA - Sponge cake. Used in many Italian desserts such as Cassata, and Zuppa Inglese.


PANETTONE - A tall, fat cylindrical egg-rich cake studded with candied fruit and served traditionally at Christmas and Easter. A specialty of Lombardy.

PANFORTE - A dense, cake filled with dried fruits, nuts and spices that is a specialty of Tuscany at Christmas.

PANINO - A bread roll, generally made for sandwiches.

PANNA - Heavy Cream. Used in sauces and deserts. The most famous sauce using cream is Fettuccine Alfredo.

PAPPARADELLE - A favorite in Tuscany, this pasta consists of long ribbons of fresh pasta about 1 inch wide.

PARMIGIANO REGGIANO - Parmesan. One of the best known Italian cheeses which is made in a strctly regulated fashion around the Parma area. Parmesan is a dry cheese, and has a mild flavor. It can be eaten on it's own, or grated and used in many dishes in an Italian kitchen, particulary to top a finished pasta dish.

PASSATA - Pur�e of Tomato. Also used to make sauces. If you pass chopped or whole tomatoes through a food mill or blend them you will get passata.

PASSATELLI - A traditional first course in the neighboring regions of Romagna and the Marche, passatelli were named because they are passed through a special iron that looks like a slotted spoon mounted on two horizontal handles. In Romagna, the dough is made with fresh bread crumbs, eggs, Parmigiano, and a grating of nutmeg and lemon zest; beef marrow can be used to make passatelli particularly rich. In the Marche, passatelli include ground beef, and the lemon is omitted.

PASTA FROLLA - Short pastry used in baking both sweet and savory dishes.

PASTA GRATTUGIATA - Pasta dough that has been dried and then grated into very small grains, and cooked as couscous or served in broth.

PASTA SGOGLIATA - Puff Pastry. Also called millefoglie.

PASTA VERDE - Green Pasta, most commonly made with chopped or pureed spinach.

PASTELLA - A basic batter used for deep frying, consisting of flour and water, and sometimes eggs.

PASTINA - Any tiny dried pasta most commonly used in soups, as for Pastina in Brodo.

PATATE - Potato. Patate fritte are french fries, and patatine potato chips.

PECORINO - All Italian cheeses made from sheep's milk are called pecorino although they may vary greatly in texture and flavor.

PELATI - Peeled Canned Tomatoes. You can either peel fresh tomatoes, remove the core and seeds or buy bottled or canned varieties, either whole or chopped. Buy a good imported brand, as the good brands are less acidic and give a good proportion of tomatoes to liquid. San Marzano tomatoes are an exceptionally flavorful tomato either canned or fresh.

PENNE - Shaped like a quilll from where it's name originates, this dried pasta shape is very common.

PEPATO - Sicilian pecorino cheese, with black peppercorns set in the middle of the cheese. Has a very sharp flavor.

PEPE NERO - Black Pepper. Pepe bianco, white pepper, and pepe rosso, red pepper are also commonly used.

PEPERONI - Sweet Peppers. These peppers, also know as capsicums, come in a variety of colors. They have a sweet taste and crunchy texture, and are used in many regional recipes across Italy, often being roasted first.

PEPERONCINI - Red chilies. These dried, hot peppers are added to many southern Italian specialties, including pasta sauces and pizza.

PERA - Pear. Eaten fresh in place of dessert but also made into preserves, sorbetti and pastries.

PESCA - Peach. Eaten fresh in place of dessert but also made into preserves, sorbetti and pastries.

PERCIATELLI - Dried, thick strands of spaghetti with a hollow center.

PERSICO - Fresh Water Perch. Most commonly fried.

PESCE SPADA - Swordfish. Most often sold in steaks, they can be found throughout Italy. Often grilled or roasted, they are also sliced thinly and rolled around a flavorful filling before grilling.

PESCIOLINI - Tiny fish that are coated in a light batter and deep fried.

PESTO - A sauce made from blending fresh basil with garlic, parmesan cheese and toasted pine nuts. Traditionally, it is made by hand with a mortar and pestle. This sauce is used on pasta, as well as to flavor other dishes such as soups as a garnish.

PIADINE - Thin rounds of bread that are grilled on a special pan called a testo and served with cold meats and cheeses such as prosciutto, salami and provolone.

PICCIONE - Cultivated Pigeons. Also known as torresani. These are farm-grown birds, preferably less than seven months old. Piccione selvatico, is a wild pigeon, also called colombaccio or palombaccio.

PICI - Twisted Tuscan noodles made by hand with a grooved rolling pin like tool.

PINOLI - Pine Nuts. These are actually the seeds from the stone pine trees that grow along the Adriatic sea. They are usually toasted before using, and are used in many Italian dishes both sweet and savory.

PISELLI - Peas. Usually boiled and served with onions and garlic as a side dish, or added to soups and stews. Pisellini are small or baby peas.

PISTACCHIO - Pistachio. A favorite nut for snacking, pastrymaking, gelato and as a flavoring.

PIZZA - A flat yeasted bread topped with a variety of toppings, commonly including tomato sauce, cheese, meats, and vegetables.

PIZZA DOLCE - Sweet Pizza. A dessert form of pizza which is topped with a variety of nuts, candied fruit, citrus and sweet flavorings.

PIZZA RUSTICA - A savory tart made with ricotta, mozzarella, prosciutto, mortadella and seasonings that originated in Abbruzzi.

PIZZOCCHERI - Fresh buckwheat noodles that are usually 1/2 inch wide and 4 to 5 inches long. The dish is completed with chopped potatoes, cabbage, cheese, butter and garlic.

POLENTA - A staple in northern Italy for centuries, polenta is a type of cornmeal made from ground maize. Generally, in Italy two common types are used, coarse and fine. Polenta can be served soft as a porridge type of dish topped with sauce and meat, or allowed to cool and harden and then served fried or grilled.

POLIPI - Octopus. Much larger than squid, they are generally coked long and slow to tenderise them after being pounded with a mallet before cooking. Great in salads with other seafood, or on it's own.

POLLO - Chicken. Very popular in many dishes such as Chiken Cacciatore, or Chicken Parmiagiana. A gallo is a cock or rooster, a gallina a hen. The free-range variety is pollo ruspante, while pollastro or galletto is a young chicken.

POLPETTA - Meatball. Made from a variety of ground meat, fish or vegetables, that is most commonly fried, boiled, or cooked in sauce.

POLPETONE - Meatloaf. Commonly made with a combination of ground meats, often with some vegetables such as mushrooms and onions, and cheese added.

POMMAROLA - A simple tomato sauce.

POMODORI - Tomatoes. Most definately one of the most important ingredients in Italian cuisine, a number of varieties of tomatoes are grown across Italy. The best tomato for cooking is always said to be the San Marzano tomato which can be found now canned and imported from Italy.

POMPELMO - Grapefruit. Eaten fresh or made into marmalade.

PORCHETTA - Whole suckling pig, boned, stuffed with herbs and roasted over an open fire or in a wood-burning oven. In North America, porchetta can also refer to a boneless, rolled roast of pork studded with garlic and herbs.

PORCINI - Porcini mushrooms are definitely the most famous of Italian mushrooms and many varieties can be found across Italy. Young, fresh porcini can be sliced and eaten raw, while larger caps are best grilled or sauteed. Dried porcini are also popular, and added an earthy depth of flavor to many dishes.

PORRO Leak. Most commonly used in cooking, particulary soups and stews.

POWDERED SUGAR - Icing sugar or confectioner's sugar.

PREZZEMOLO - Parsley. The Italian version is the flat leafed variety which has a fresh, robust flavor. It is used throughout Italian cooking to flavor an unlimited number of savory dishes.

PROSCIUTTO - Italy is famous for it's prosciutto crudo, or cured ham, and the most famous ones come from the area around Parma. San Daniele hams, produced in the Friuli region are also a very popular prosciutto. Commonly eaten fresh as an antipasto, it can also sometimes be cooked to flavor other dishes.

PROVOLONE - This is a southern Italian cheese that is straw white in color, with a smooth texture. Milder, fresh provolone can be eaten on it's own, although once aged it is generally used in cooking.

PRUGNA - Plumb. This fruit is commonly eaten fresh, stewed, or made into preserves and dessert pastries. Prugna secca refers to dried prunes.

PUNTARELLE - Wild chicory spears, with a sharp, bitter flavor that are eaten raw and dressed with olive oil, lemon juice, vinegar, garlic and anchovies.

QUADRUCCI - Stuffed pasta squares that are added to soups, or clear broth.

QUAGLIA - Quail. A popular small, wild game bird that is usually roasted or grilled.

QUINQUINELLE - Quenelles. Dumplings commonly made from a mild fish like pike, which are bound together with egg whites and seasonings.

RABARBARO - Rhubarb. Usually sweetened to overcome it's tart flavor, and then made into a condiment or pastry. There is also a liqueur made from it. Rhubarb should be cooked because cooking inhibits or destroys the oxalic acid it contains. The oxalic acid in raw rhubarb or in rhubarb leaves is toxic.

RADICCHIO - Red chicory. Generally two main varieties are found , including the round Radicchio di Verona and the long leafed Radicchio di Trevisio. This leafy vegetable has a bitter flavor, and is generally better cooked which tempers the bitterness. It can be found in salads in small quantities however, as well as being cooked in many ways.

RAGU - Meat Sauce.

RANA - Frog. A specialty item, often served fried or in risotto.

RAPE - Turnips. Often roasted which brings out it's sweetness.

RIBES - Currants. Either black or red which are usually used in cakes and cookies.

RICCIO DI MARE - Sea Urchins. Eaten raw when fresh from the sea, as well as being added to pasta.

RICOTTA - Ricotta is actually a byproduct of cheese making, and is made from reheating the leftover whey mixed with milk. It is creamy and smooth, and can be used in both sweet and savory dishes.

RICOTTA SALATA - Ricotta cheese, usually made from ewe's milk, conserved in salt, then left to age until hard. Pleasantly salty yet creamy in flavor. A favorite for grating over pasta, particularly in such famous dishes as Pasta alla Norma.

RIGATONI - Larger than penne, but similar in shape, these are fat tubes of dried pasta with ridges..

RISO - General term for rice, of which Italy has over 50 varieties, including both short and long grain.

RISOTTO - Italian style of rice. The best variety of rice to use for making risotto are Italian arborio, vialone nano, or carnaroli. Risotto is used interchangebly with pasta as a first course, and is much more commonly seen in nothern Italy, particulary in Lombardy than it is in southern Italy.

ROBIOLA - Fresh robiola is used in numerous dishes both sweet and savory, from pies to pasta to antipasti, and is sometimes marinated in extra-virgin olive oil with herbs and spices. Made mostly from cow's milk (sheep's and goat's milk were more common decades ago), robiola is mild and buttery when fresh (aged only 8 to 10 days) and sharper when matured (aged 40 to 50 days).

ROGNONE - Kidneys. Lamb and veal kidneys are usually considere the best.

ROSMARINO - Rosemary. This popular culinary herb grows wild across Italy. Rosemary is often used with grilled or roasted meats, and is a delicious addition to roasted potatoes.

ROSOLIO - Rose Liqueur. A cordial, traditionally made from rose petals, rose oil and sweetened with honey.

ROTOLO - A roll of meat or pasta, usually stuffed, and commonly poached.

RUCOLA - This is a bitter, pungent green used in salads, and in pasta sauces. Grows wild in the Italian countryside, although is also now cultivated commercially.

SALAMI - There are an endless number of different types of Italian salami from the various regions across Italy.

SALE - Salt. A fundamental flavoring and preserver of foods, and in Italy it is almost always drawn from the sea.

SALMONE - Salmon. Salmon is usually poached, grilled or roasted. It may be served cold as part of an antipasto table.

SALMORIGLIO - Calabrese and Sicilian condiment of olive oil, salt, garlic, oregano, parsley and lemon, often used as an easy delicious sauce for seafood.

SALSA - Sauce. A general term referring to a number of dressings or condiments.

SALSICCIA - Sausage, of which there are hundreds of varieties in Italy, most made with pork and seasonings.

SALUMI - generic term for salt-cured meats, such as salame, salsiccia, prosciutto, bresaola. A salumeria is a shop where salumi are sold.

SALVIA - Sage. This is another popular Italian culinary herb that grows wild across the Italian countryside. It has a very strong flavor, so needs to be used sparingly, but it combines well with most meat and vegetable dishes.

SAMBUCA - A colorless Italian liqueur with a strong flavor of aniseed.

SARDE - Sardines. Small fish under 5 inches in length with an oily flesh. Best eaten when very fresh, although they can be bought preserved in both salt and oil. Fresh sardines are often fried, or baked.

SAVOIARDI - Ladyfingers. Little, dry, finger-shaped sponge cakes. Used for such famous desserts as Tiramisu and Zuppa Inglese.

SCALOGNO - Scallion. A variety of onion with small bulbs, and long stiff green leaves. Usually eaten raw. Also called spring onion, or green onion.

SCALOPPINA - A thin, pounded piece of meat, commonly veal, either breaded and fried or saut�ed with a wide variety of ingredients on top.

SCAMORZA - Uncooked Abruzzese and Molise stringy curd cheese made from whole cow's milk, and even smoked. Often used in place of mozzarella.

SCAMPI - Prawns. It is most often cooked in wine and garlic or grilled with olive oil and lemon.

SCAROLA - Escarole. Either used in salads or soups, or stewed with garlic and served as a vegetable side dish, cold or warm.

SCHIACCIATA - A thin Tuscan flatbread, usually topped with olive oil and salt.

SCOTCH BONNET PEPPER - Capsicum tetragonum. Similar to Habanero Pepper.

SCUNGILLI - Also a Mollusk Gastropod - "Buccinidae" - found in more temperate waters than conch, with a darker meat and stronger flavor, perhaps less "sweet". This is more properly known as "whelk". These are generally removed from their shell and sold already steamed and ready to eat. The meat is kind of a circular meat, about 1 to 2 inches in diameter, perhaps 10 to 20 of these in a pound.

SEDANO - Celery. Also called accia. Used in soffritto as a flavor base for many Italian dishes.


SEMI DI SESAMO - Seame Seeds. Used on specific regional breads as well as some cookies.

SEMOLINA - A yellow flour ground from high protein Durum wheat. Semolina is used in many brands of dried pasta because of its ability to stand up to kneading and molding. It is also used to make Gnocchi Romana.

SEPPIA - Cuttlefish. Ink from this seafood is used to make black pasta, a Venetian specialty.

SHALLOTS - Small pointed members of the onion family that grow in clusters something like garlic and have a mild, oniony taste. Not the same as green/spring onion.

SHRIMP - See Gamberetti

SOFFRITTO - A combination of celery, onion and carrot that is lightly fried in olive oil. It provides the base for many Italian recipes, especially soups and pasta sauces. Optional addition of a clove of garlic, maybe a tablespoon or two of parsley, or a few leaves of fresh sage are added.

SOGLIA - Sole. A delicately flavored flatfish that takes well to saut�eing, grilling and marinating.

SOPPRESSA - Minced pork "pressed" into form similar to a large salame in Veneto; soppressata refers to various types of salumi in Italy.

SORBETTO - Sherbet or sorbet of soft texture based on fruit, sometimes with wine or spirits, usually not made with milk as in other countries.

SOTTACETO - Foods preserved in vinegar, generally vegetables, including mushrooms and pickles.

SOTT'OLIO - Refers to foods preserved in olive oil such as vegetables, mushrooms, tuna, sardines, anchovies, small cheeses, and salami.

SPAGHETTI - Long, thin strands of dried or fresh pastathat is the most popular form of pasta in Italy if not worlwide. It is made both fresh and dried.

SPALLA - A shoulder of veal, lamb or pork, or pork shoulder salt-cured like prosciutto.

SPATZLE - Originating from Germany, these small dumplings are popular in the Alto Adige region. They can be made with many different ingredients, and are often served in a meat broth.

SPECK - Bacon that is made from boned pork flank, and either brine - or smoke-cured.

SPELT - See Farro

SPEZZATINO - Refers to a stew containing small pieces of meat. Often cooked in a casserole or earthenware pot.

SPINACHI - Spinach. Often saut�ed and served as a side dish, although it is also used as a salad when the leaves are young. Older leaves are ofyen blanched, and used in soups, or in fillings for pasta.

SPREMUTA - Juice of freshly squeezed fruit. Succo is the generic term for juice.

SPRING ONION - See Scalogno

SPUGNOLE - Morel mushrooms. Not as well used as the porcini, but they are found in many recipes.

SQUASH - See Zucca

STIGGHIOLE - Grilled lamb intestines or caul-wrapped bunches of lamb innards and vegetables popular in southern Italy.

STRACCHINO - A very young cheese with a very soft, creamy texture. It is most often eaten as a dessert cheese, or used as a stuffing in focaccia.

STRANGOLAPRETI - Translated as "priest stranglers," these are small potato gnocchi of Trentino served with tomato sauce. It is said they received their name because visiting priests would gorge themselves on them and choke.

STRINGOZZI - Thick Umbrian spaghetti, often served with a truffle or hearty meat sauce.

STREGA - A bright yellow Italian liqueur with a bittersweet taste.

STRUTTO - Lard. Lard, strutto, or butter are generally used for most Italian baking. Shortening is solid, white fat made from hydrogenated vegetable oil, and is more commonly found in North America.

SUGO - Sauce or gravy, when based on cooked meat. Also called rag�, and most often is used with pasta.

SUN-DRIED TOMATOES - Pomodori secchi in Italian. Preserving tomatoes in this manner intensifies their flavor and gives them a unique sweetness that is delicious in many dishes. They can be found dried, or dried and preserved in oil, and are most often soaked in water before using in soups or sauces.

SWORDFISH - See Pesce Spada

TACCHINO - Turkey. A New World bird, usually roasted, though the breast meat is made into scaloppine.

TAGLIATELLE - Long, flat, ribbon-like fresh pasta.

TALEGGIO - A square, creamy cheese produced in Lombardy.

TANGELO - Citrus fruit cross of a tangerine and a pomelo. Larger than a mandarin and a little smaller than an average-size orange. Skin colour is a bright tangerine and they mature during the late mandarin season. Mandarins, Tangerines or Oranges may be used instead.

TARTUFO - Truffles. These are part of the mushroom family, and are found underground near oak trees. They are firm, and irregular in shape, and have a very pungent, earthy aroma and flavor that is prized throughout Italy. Very expensive in price, they have a short season. Truffled flavored oil is much more reasonable in price than fresh truffles, and is now readily available.

TIMO - Thyme. An herb pungent in flavor and excellent in soups, stuffing and seafood recipes.

TOMATOES - See Pomodori

TOMATO SAUCE - A red sauce generally flavored with garlic and spices served on such foods such as pasta.

TONNARELLI - Roman spaghetti with squared off sides, similar to maccheroni alla chitarra in Abruzzo.

TONNO - Tuna. Tuna, referring more to the red meat variety than the albacore. It is eaten fresh, cooked in a variety of ways, or more often preserved in oil. Tonnato refers to tuna-flavored sauce most commonly served on veal scalopini.

TORTELLI - Fat elongated ravioli stuffed with ricotta and spinach or winter squash.

TORTELLINI - Small stuffed pasta nuggets filled with various ingredients, usually meat or cheese.

TORTIGLIONI - Short fat tubes of dried pasta with grooves.

TOSCANELLI - Variety of small Tuscan brown beans.

TRENETTE - Traditionally made with flour and water, this pasta shape from Liguria resembles small twists. Commonly topped with a pesto sauce.

TRIGLIA - Red mullet. These are small, bony fish that are red in color and have a unique flavor similar to shrimp.

TRIPPA - Tripe. Usually prepared by stewing it in a tomato sauce.

TROCCOLI - Apulian ribbon-like egg spaghetti cut with a ridged rolling pin called a troccolo, commonly served with a tomato-and-garlic sauce to which a mixture of egg and pecorino is added, then fresh asparagus.

TROTA - Trout. Most often served grilled or baked.

UCCELLETTO - General term for little bird or fowl, although there is a famous Tuscan bean dish called Cannellini all'Uccelleto referring to the fact the beans are cooked as they commonly prepare small game birds.

UNSALTED BUTTER - Often recommended for cooking, particularly in baking. Many people prefer the taste of unsalted butter.

UVA - Grapes. Italy is the world's largest producer of grapes, most being used for wine production.

UVA PASSA - Raisins. Used in the making of many desserts as well in other savory dishes particularly in Sicily.

UVO - Egg. Italians are not big egg eaters, particularly for breakfast, but they do make fritattas with eggs and vegetables which are often sliced in wedges and added to an antipasti platter.

VANIGLIA - Vanilla. Vanilla, used almost exclusively as a flavoring for pastries and desserts in Italy, both from a bottled extract or preferably, utilizing the scraped seeds from fresh vanilla beans.

VEDURA - Usually refers to green,leafy vegetables, though the term does refers to garden produce in general, including legumes and roots. Italians eat a wide range of vegetables, both fresh and cooked.

VERMICELLI - Literally translating as "little worms", it is the name for very thin spaghetti, less than a tenth of an inch thick, well loved in southern Italy.

VERMOUTH - Vermouth can be either white (dry), or red (sweet), and both are made from white wine flavored with aromatic extracts and spices. While both types of vermouth are consumed in assorted beverages, white, dry vermouth is also used in cooking in place of a dry white wine.

VERZA - Savoy cabbage, usually boiled or saut�ed.

VIN SANTO - A "holy" sweet wine from Tuscany made from semi-dried grapes with a long, slow fermentation. Often served with small almond cookies called cantucci for dipping.

VINEGAR - See Aceto

VITELLO - Veal. This is one of the most commonly used meats in Italian cuisine.

VONGOLE - Clams. There are many types of clams found across Italy, and they are commonly used in soups, pasta, risotti, and salads.

ZAFFERINO - Saffron. This flavoring ingredient consists of the dried stigmas of the saffron crocus. Very expensive, it imparts a warm golden color and subtle flavor to risotti and sauces. The most famous Italian dish using saffron is Risotto Milanese.

ZAMPONE - This is a specialty sausage from Modena, and is a pig's leg stuffed with minced pork shoulder and other cuts of meats. It has a unique flavor and is quite fatty. It is commonly served with stewed lentils as a side dish.

ZITI - Tubular maccheroni originally from Southern Italy.

ZUCCA - Commonly known as winter squash in North America. A family of vegetables that has a thick, hard, usually inedible rind, rich-tasting meat, and lots of seeds. Pumpkin is a popular filling for tender tortelli in Mantua, and is also used in risottos and soups.

ZUCCHERO - General name for sugar.

ZUCCHINI - A long, green squash that looks something like a cucumber. Also known as vegetable marrow, and courgette.

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