When I first traveled to Italy as a college student, I had difficulty at first when I tried to read and order at an Italian restaurant. I thought back to how many lessons I had had in Italian through high school and college and then realized that the reason was simple: Italian courses in school did not focus on the vocabulary I needed as a traveler.
Years later, when members of the Italian-American Society of Peoria would ask me if I could help them with Italian before a trip to Italy they had planned—for vacation or to visit long-lost Italian relatives—I remembered my own difficulties, and I created the Conversational Italian for Travelers series of books. These books focus on the vocabulary and phrases we all need to know to enjoy our trip to Italy!
Along these lines, last week, I asked the Conversational Italian! Facebook group, “What is your favorite Italian dish for Il Secondo, or the second course?” I posted about one of my favorite dishes my mother would make when I was growing up as a child, called braciole, and the family tomato sauce recipe she would cook this rolled-up meat in.
I’d love to hear about more Italian favorites! Continue the conversation on this blog, and join us on our Facebook group if you like!
Read the list below of cooking methods and types of meats found on menus in Italian restaurants, taken from Chapter 17 of Conversational Italian for Travelers and see if it reminds you of your favorite Italian dish!
Cooking Methods in Italian
|al forno||baked (lit. from the oven)|
|alla griglia/ai ferri||grilled|
|alla cacciatora||stewed in a pot (as a hunter would make)|
Meat Dishes in Italian
|la cotoletta||cutlet (meat without bone)|
|la scaloppina||very thin cutlet|
|la costoletta||chop/rib (bone in meat)|
|l’arrosto||the roast (to be sliced)|
|bistecca alla fiorentina||steak florentine style|
|al sangue||rare meat|
|ben cotto||well-done meat|
|cotto a puntino||cooked just right|
|il sugo di carne||gravy|
|il petto di pollo||chicken breast fillet|
|il guanciale||bacon from pig cheeks|
|la capra/il capretto||goat/kid|
*When ordering a steak in Italy (wonderful grilled steaks, called bistecca alla fiorentina, can be found in Tuscany, for example), it is not really possible to order how the steak should be cooked. Instead, it is usually left for the chef to decide, based on the cut of meat and the style of the dish.