Italians are known to place a strong emphasis on family meals and for cooking up large feasts to be shared with the entire family. This is why you'll almost always find a big pot of soup being cooked at Italian dinners, as soups are easy to share with everyone. If you're going out to an Italian restaurant for dinner, you definitely want to order a soup for your appetizer, as Italians have perfected the craft of cooking soup. If you don't know what you should order next, here are 3 hearty, traditional soups that are a favorite amongst diners all over the world.
A Taste of the Sea with Zuppa di Pesce
Italy is surrounded by coastlines, and naturally, they have made a delicious and refreshing soup from all of the fresh seafood that can be easily purchased at the ports. To get the most authentic tasting experience possible, you need to make sure that the Italian restaurant you are visiting is using fresh seafood to make this particular soup; otherwise, it just won't taste right.
Zuppa di Pesce is more of a stew than a soup. It is very light and flavorful and usually features the fresh catches of the day. Just about any type of seafood can be used in this dish with the exception of extremely strong, oily fishes like salmon or mackerel. The seafood is stewed with wine and marinara sauce with cooked vegetables, like carrots, onions and celery, before being garnished with parsley. The tanginess of the marinara sauce will open up your appetite for the entree.
A Taste of the Simple Life with Pasta e Fagioli
If you want a taste of a soup that is commonly considered as a staple in Italian households, you cannot go wrong with ordering the Pasta e Fagioli. This soup literally means "pasta and beans," so it's not hard to guess what the primary ingredients are. Despite the fact that the ingredients found in Pasta e Fagioli are relatively simple, this soup packs a punch in terms of flavor, as it encompasses the flavors of thyme, rosemary and bay leaves. This soup is generally served with parmesan cheese grated on top and with a side of bread. While Pasta e Fagioli is traditionally served without any meat added in, some restaurants have started to incorporate pancetta into the soup. The pancetta enhances the flavor of the soup; however, you're not missing out on much even if your soup doesn't have this new ingredient in it.
A Taste of History with Stracciatella
If you're a vegetarian or would prefer a soup without any meat, you cannot go wrong with Stracciatella soup, which was traditionally served on Easter Sunday only. Stracciatella soup, also known as the Italian egg drop soup, is literally made from shredded cooked eggs swirled around in a vegetable broth, topped with some pasta bits and seasoned with just salt and pepper. You can add grated parmesan cheese overtop. Overall, this soup is not very hearty nor rich, but it will definitely fill you up. Although simple, this soup is very popular because it has a very unique texture.
Skip filling appetizers on your next trip to your local Italian restaurant. Instead, consider ordering an Italian soup to start off your meal. You'll be surprised at just how flavorful the soups can be without filling you up to the point where you won't be able to enjoy your entree. Most Italian restaurants will offer many different varieties on their menu, so you'll definitely find something that will appeal to your palate. There's no harm in being adventurous and trying something new.Share