01 of 08
When It's Hot Out...Italian cooking varies tremendously from season to season, so much that were you to visit the country in January and then again in July you might think you had gone to two different places.
In the summer months lighter dishes prevail, cool antipasti, simple pasta dishes with quickly cooked sauces, simple vegetables, quickly cooked meats -- especially fried meats, which are done quickly, and grilled meats, which can be cooked outside -- and creamy spoon desserts.
This site has a number of... collections of summer recipes, and here you will find them gathered in one place, for easy perusal. Enjoy!Continue to 2 of 8 below.
02 of 08
Picnic Foods and Other Cool DishesPicnic foods are almost by definition cool, dishes one prepares ahead and brings in a hamper. However they are much more versatile than that, and Italians are just as happy to enjoy them indoors, seated around the table (or in a restaurant, even) when it's hot out.
Many picnic food also make fine antipasti, which is why we're beginning with them. Case in point the insalata caprese shown here, which is presented somewhat differently -- the caprese is generally prepared plate by plate, with... the slices of tomato and cheese laid flat -- in the occasion of an elegant dinner on a summer evening.Continue to 3 of 8 below.
03 of 08
Summer Primi: Pasta and Risotto
If I close my eyes and think pasta, what generally comes to mind is something along the lines of penne with a succulent, meaty Bolognese sauce.
But not in summer, when the air shimmers and the asphalt is softening, because at that point Bolognese sauce is just too much. Pomarola, the simple tomato sauce that is called Marinara in the US, on the other hand... Quite refreshing, as is pesto alla genovese, clam suace which I prefer without tomato), and more.
In short, light, refreshing pasta sauces.
The... same is true for risotto: while a meaty risotto made with cheese too is one of the hottest dishes on the planet, if you begin with summer vegetables or fish, the result will be an extraordinarily refreshing risotto that will help keep the heat at bay.
Since tomatoes play such an important role in summer pasta sauces, I have also assembled a collection of red sauces that will give good leads.Continue to 4 of 8 below.
04 of 08
Fish is an ideal summer ingredient: It cooks quickly, tends to be light (a boon to the digestion), and is quite tasty, just the thing to perk up an appetite prostrated by the heat.
Favorite Italian Summer Fish Recipes.Continue to 5 of 8 below.
05 of 08
As is the case with everything else, Italian meat dishes tend to be lighter in summer than in winter: Dishes that are cooked quickly, and if possible out of doors, where heat isn't as much of a problem.
Some of these recipes are so good you'll find yourself enjoying them year round, but they are especially nice in the summer months.
And here you'll find specifics on steak, which is very much Italian.Continue to 6 of 8 below.
06 of 08
Italian Summer Vegetables
Visit an Italian market in summer and you're in for a treat: An extraordinary variety of peppers, eggplant, tomatoes, zucchini and more, all of which can easily be transformed into light, refreshing summer dishes.
Among the most summer popular vegetables are:
Peperoni, Bell Peppers
Zucchini and Zucchini Blossoms (see also step by step instructions for frying zucchini or squash blossoms)
And, of course, stuffed summer vegetables.Continue to 7 of 8 below.
07 of 08
Italian Summer Desserts
Italians invented Gelato, and it comes as no surprise that most of the most popular Italian summer desserts are chilled to one degree or another. What better way to end the meal?
Italian Summer Desserts.
A couple of More Detailed Discussions:
Gelato, or Ice Cream...
Cocomero, Anguria, or... Watermelon
Pesche, Peaches.Continue to 8 of 8 below.
08 of 08
Last Thing: Preserving Summer!
If you have a vegetable patch, or live near a good farmer's market, take advantage of this bounty, canning and preserving some for the winter months. Itlaians certainly do, and if you visit an Italian supermarket during the summer months you will find bins of canning jars and bottles of all sizes, and also lids and everything else one needs to set summer's bounty aside for the winter months.
Jams And Other Delights: Commercial is fine, but home made jams are much tastier.
Mostarda, Fruit... preserves with a zesty zing to accompany winter meats and vegetables.
Pickles and More: Again, what you make at home will be tastier than commercial products.
Liquori Casalinghi: An astonishingly rich universe, and home made liqueurs also make fine gifts.