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Glossary of Italian Food Terms
This is a list of some useful food words or terms that you may find in
Italian recipes, while dining at an Italian restaurant, or traveling in Italy.
A

Abbacchio: lamb
Aceto: vinegar
Affumicato: smoked
Aglio: garlic
Aglio e olio: garlic and oil
Agnello: lamb
Agrodolce: sweet/sour
Al dente: firm (literally to the tooth)
Amaretti: crisp cookies made with bitter almonds
Amaretto: a sweet liqueur flavored with almonds
Anace/Anice: anise
Anguille: eel
Anisette: a colorless liqueur flavor with anise
Antipasto: literally 'before the meal'
Arborio: a medium-grain rice used for making risotto
Arogosta: lobster
Arancia: orange
Arancine: fried rice balls with meat or other filling
Ardente: hot, piquant
Arrostito: roasted
Arrosto: a roast
Asparagi: asparagus

B

Baccala: salt cod
Bagno caldo: hot dip
Balsamico:  an aged Italian vinegar
Basilico: basil
Bigne: fritters
Biscotti: literally 'twice cooked,' it refers to all kinds of cookies
Bistecca: beefsteak
Bollito misto: mixed boiled meats served with various sauces
Bottarga: preserved roe of tuna or mullet
Braciolette: small beef rolls
Braciole: stuffed meat rolls
Brodo: broth
Bruschetta: toasted bread served with various toppings
Budino: pudding
Buongustaio: gourmet

C

Cacciatore: hunter's style
Calamari: squid
Calzone: pizza dough that is filled and baked or fried
Cannella: cinnamon
Cannellini: white kidney beans
Cannoli: filled pastry tubes
Capocollo: a hot spiced ham
Caponata: eggplant relish
Capozzelle: lamb's head
Capperi: capers
Cappone: capon
Carciofi: artichokes
Carnaroli: a medium-grain rice used for making risotto
Carne: meat
Cassata: a Sicilian cream-filled layer cake
Cavolfiore: cauliflower
Cavolo: cabbage
Ceci: chick peas
Cioppino: shellfish stew
Cipolle: onions
Conserva: preserves
Cotolette: cutlets
Cotto: cooked
Cozze: mussels
Crema: cream
Crespelle: crepes
Crostata: a sweet or savory tart
Crudo: raw

D

Dolce: sweet
Dolci: sweets and pastries

F

Fagioli: beans
Farcita: stuffing or filling
Farro: an ancient grain similar to spelt
Fegato: liver
Festa: holiday
Fico: fig
Filetto: fillet
Finocchio: fennel
Focaccia: flatbread served plain or with various toppings
Formaggio: cheese
Fra diavolo: literally 'of the devil'
Fragole: strawberries
Frittata: an open-faced omelet
Frittelle: fritters
Fritto: fried
Frutta: fruit
Frutti di mare: seafood
Funghi: mushrooms

G

Gamberetti: shrimp
Gardiniera: mixed pickled vegetables
Garofani: cloves
Gnocchi: dumplings eaten with a sauce or in broth
Grana Padano: a cow's milk hard cheese
Granchio: crab
Grappa: liqueur made from the must of grapes
Griglia: grill
Grissini: breadsticks

I

Imbottire: to stuff
Imbottita: stuffed

L

Lauro: bayleaf
Lenticchie: lentils
Limone: lemon

M

Maiale: pork
Mandorle: almonds
Manicotti: baked pasta tubes with a filling
Manzo: beef
Marinara: a plain tomato sauce
Marinare: to marinate
Marsala: a rich brown fortified wine
Mascarpone: creamy, soft, mild cheese
Melanzane: eggplant
Minestra: soup (usually thick)
Minestrina: thin soup
Minestrone: thick mixed vegetable soup
Mortadella: a large cured and spiced pork sausage
Mosto Cotto: grape juice cooked to form a thick dark syrup
Mozzarella: a pure white soft cheese

N

Natale: Christmas
Nocciole: hazelnuts
Noce Moscata: nutmeg
Noci: walnuts

O

Olio: oil
Olio di oliva: olive oil
Origano: oregano
Orzo: small, seed-shaped pasta
Ostriche: oysters

P

Pancetta: salt-cured pork, unsmoked bacon
Pane: bread
Panella: fried chickpea bread
Panettone: a fruit-filled yeast bread
Pangrattato: bread crumbs
Panna: cream
Panna Cotta: literally 'cooked cream,' served for dessert
Panna montata: whipped cream
Parmigiano: a hard cow's milk cheese
Pasqua: Easter
Pasta Frolla: pastry dough
Pasticcio: pie, pastry, or cake
Pecorino: sheep's milk cheese
Peperoncini: dried red chiles
Pesto: a sauce from mashed ingredients, usually basil
Piccante: spicy
Pignoli: pine nuts
Piselli: peas
Pizelle: embossed wafer cookies
Pizza Dolce: cake or sweet bread
Polenta: a type of cornmeal
Polipi: octopus
Pollo: chicken
Polpette: meatballs
Pomodori: tomatoes
Porchetta: whole roast pig cooked with herbs and garlic
Porcini: meaty wild mushrooms
Primavera: springtime
Prosciutto: salt-cured, air-dried pork
Provolone: a straw-white cheese, sometimes smoked

R

Ragu: meat sauce for pasta
Rapini: another name for broccoli rabe
Ribollita: Tuscan bread and vegetable soup
Ricotta: a fresh, mild cheese
Ripieni: stuffed
Riso: rice
Risotto: rice cooked and stirred with broth until creamy
Rollatini: small stuffed meat rolls, sometimes in a sauce
Romano: a hard Pecorino cheese
Rosmarino: rosemary
Rustico: country-style

S

Salami: ground meat cured, seasoned and shaped like a sausage
Salsa: sauce
Salsiccia: sausage
Salso: salt
Saltari: sauteed
Salumi: collective name for salami and similar cured meats
Salvia: sage
Sambuca: a colorless liqueur made from anise
San Giuseppe: Saint Joseph
Sarde: sardines
Scaloppine: thinly sliced meat
Sedani: celery
Sfogliatelle: Neopolitan pastry filled with flavored ricotta
Sopressata: a type of salami
Spagna: sponge cake
Spiedini: anything cooked on a skewer
Spinaci: spinach
Stega: a yellow liqueur made from herbs
Stufato: stew
Sughi: sauces
Sugo di carne: meat sauce

T

Taralli: round sweet or savory biscuits
Tonno: tuna
Torrone: nougat-type candy
Torta: tart

U

Una festa: a saint's day
Uove: eggs
Uva: grapes

V

Verdure: green vegetables
Vitello: veal (calf)
Vongole: clams

Z

Zabaglione: whipped egg custard serve as dessert or a sauce
Zafferano: saffron
Zampone: sausage-stuffed pig's foot
Zenzero: ginger
Zeppole: a fried pastry
Zucca: squash
Zuppa: soup

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