Food> Glossary



cacciatore, alla Literally "hunter-style"; alludes to the varying methods of stewing lamb, chicken, veal, and rabbit. Northern ingredients typically include tomatoes, while those of central and southern Italy predominantly use rosemary, garlic, and vinegar.

cacciucco A Tuscan stew made by the Etruscans as long as three thousand years ago, cacciucco is made either with fish and seafood or with meat. In both cases, many varieties of meat or fish are cooked with vegetables and given an especially sharp flavor by a generous quantity of garlic and chili pepper. The seaside town of Livorno is famous for its fish and seafood cacciucco.

caciocavallo A type of hard cheese, typical of Sicily, somewhat similiar to provolone, which is made of whole milk, processed without cooking, and aged for at least two months. Though it is often smoked, its flavor is also affected by the amount of time it is aged.

cacio e pepe (pasta) pasta, usually spaghetti or other long pasta, topped with grated pecorino romano cheese and black pepper

cacioricotta A hybrid between caciocavallo and fresh ricotta, cacioricotta is a hard cheese made from sheep's milk and cow's milk in Southern Italy. A specialty in Apulia and Basilicata, cacioricotta is excellent grated over pasta, especially orecchiette, or even shaved over salads.

calamari (pl.) squid

calzone A savory turnover made with pizza dough, folded over itself, and then baked or fried. Traditional stuffing for calzone involves the use of tomatoes, mozzarella or fresh ricotta, and salami. The types of stuffing vary in different Italian regions.

canavesani agnolotti pasta stuffed with rice, beef cooked in red wine, cheese, truffles, cabbage, and garlic

canederli Dumplings made with cubed leftover bread soaked in milk, water, or broth then enriched by speck and/or cheese and herbs. Canederli are served to accompany hearty, flavorful dishes like stews, boiled meat or soup.

canestrini (pl.) small pasta for soup (may also allude to anything shaped like a small basket)

cannoli A Sicilian specialty, named for its pipelike shape and intended as a treat at Carnevale, cannoli spread through Italy and were eventually a fixture in almost every pastry shop. The elaborately flavored dough is rolled and shaped around a metal cylinder, then deep fried. When cool the crisp cookie-like tubes are filled with a sweetened ricotta mixture enriched with candied fruits and small bits of chocolate. The origins of cannoli, also called Turkish hats, can be traced back to the Saracens or even to pre-Christian times.

cannoncini A belligerent name for a harmless, sweet pastry shell. Cannoncini literally means little cannons, a reference to the pastry's slim, tubular shape. Cannoncini are made by rolling a single strip of puff pastry dough around a thin metal cylinder, then baked. Most connoncini are filled with something sweet, such as pastry cream, whipped cream, sugary almond or pistachio paste, or fruit jam.

cantucci, cantuccini (pl.) Tuscan almond cookies that resemble small biscotti; traditionally dunked in Vin Santo.

capellini fine strands of pasta (literally "fine hair"), usually used in soup

capocollo The name of both a cut of pork and a cured meat obtained from the upper part of the neck and the shoulder of pork, mostly prepared in central and southern Italy. Meat and fat are cut into large chunks and flavored with different spices in different regions, and cured for four months to one year. The cured meat is thinly sliced and eaten raw in delightful antipasti platters.

caponata Sicilian dish featuring cubed eggplant, celery, and onions- previously fried- paired with tomatoes, raisins, pine nuts, olives, vinegar, and sugar. Usually caponata is enjoyed as an antipasto, as a side dish or a topping for bruschetta.

cappelletti A ring-like band of stuffed pasta with a peaked point in front and a pinch in the back. Different fillings are used to stuff cappelletti, but the two most typical are a delicate meat purée or cheese. This delicious pasta is usually served in meat broth or in tomato sauce.

caprese (adj.) literally "of Capri"; mozzarella and tomato salad with basil

carbonara, alla A delectable sauce which is typically paired with spaghetti in the region of Lazio. This sauce is prepared by sautéing cubed guanciale in lard and adding it to beaten eggs and Pecorino Romano.

carbonara, pasta alla Pasta (generally spaghetti) with egg yolks, bacon (guanciale), pecorino romano or (less traditionally) Parmesan cheese, and black pepper.

carbonnade This robust stew hails from the northern region of Val d'Aosta but is also common in France, where it is called carbonade. (In the rest of Italy, it goes but the name of carbonata.) To make carbonnade, lean stewing beef is cut into strips, dredged in flour, and browned in hot butter; onions are stirred in and browned, the shole is deglazed with a full-bodied red wine, and salt is stirred in. As the meat cooks and the sauce reduces, more wine and a generous amount of pepper are folded in; the end result is a rich, densely sauced stew best accompanied by steaming hot polenta.

carpaccio Raw beef filet in paper-thin slices seasoned with olive oil, mustard, lemon, and pepper, but today carpaccio can also be of raw fish or vegetables. To make paper-thin slices, place the filet in the freezer for 15 minutes before slicing it with a sharp knife.

carpione A treatment for freshwater fish, particularly carp, trout, and eel. To prepare in carpione means frying the fish in olive oil, then marinating it with vinegar and aromatic vegetables for up to one week. Carpione is usually presented as an appetizer.

carta da musica A staple in Sardinia, carta da musica is an extremely thin bread that owes its name to its parchment-like appearance. Its preparation is lengthy and complicated, indeed a yeasted dough is prepared with durum flour and all-purpose flour, left to rise, kneated, stretched repeatedly with a rolling pin, left to rise again, baked, cooled, and baked again until dry and crunchy.