I have taken the time to go through all my Italian cook books and you might get overwhelmed with all the iItalian words!
So.... I have translated some of them for you.
It is a long process as there are so many words, terms and methods in Italian cooking so here the start! :)
Feel free to add some comments and suggestions in the comments!
ABBACCHIO & AGNELLO – Italian for a small Lamb and an older one respectivley . The younger variation is perfect spit roasted. While the more mature lamb, which called agnello, and has a stronger flavour. This lamb is usually roasted or stewed.
2. Shoulder and Shank
ACETO – Vinegar. Italians make both red and white wine vinegars, the second is less common with a subtle flavour. See also Balsamic vinegar.
ACETO BALSAMICO – Considered the best of all Italian vinegars. It is dark brown in colour, and has a mellow, sweet flavour. The best balsamico is produced around Modena with a DOP label can be found on the bottle. See more about Balsamic Vinegar.
ALCHERMES – A scarlet coloured liqueur made from flowers and spices such as cinnamon, cloves, vanilla and nutmeg with a slightly bitter taste, traditionally used to make Zuppa Inglese.
A popular Alchermes from Florence .
AFFETTATO – A selection of cold cuts or cold meats often served as an antipasto. An Italian ritual is heading to the local delicatessen, buying some freshly sliced cured meats (cheeses and some marinated vegetables) followed by the bakery for some “panini” (Italian bread rolls) then home for lunch!
AGLIO – Garlic. Actually a member of the pungent lily family, garlic is a very common ingredient in Italian kitchens. In moderate quantities, it adds flavour to almost any marinate, sauces or soups. Garlic is also commonly used with roasted or grilled meats. In other words, Italians use garlic on almost everything!
AGNOLOTTI – A stuffed pasta originating from Piedmont, Northern Italy. Legend has it that the agnolotto was invented to use any left over meat fillet in pasta sheets (similar to a raviolo). Agnolotti can be served in a broth, tossed with melted butter and fresh sage, or modernly used with a black truffle sauce or gravy from roasts.
AGRUMI –A general term for the citrus family.
ALBICOCCA – Apricot. Apricots are not commonly grown in Italy, it is a fruit imported but a perfect fruit used with sweets and cheese plates.
ALLORO – Bay Leaf - used dry. One dried leaf is enough to flavour most dishes, and must be removed after cooking. A secret in all Italian sauces is a just a couple of bay leaves! (Below is a photo of dried bay leaves)
ALMONDS – Mandorle in Italian. The two varieties of almonds which are grown and used in Italy are dolci (sweet) almonds - used in desserts and baking. Amandorle amare (bitter almonds) are the other variation which are used in liqueurs and ammaretti biscuits .
AMARO – A bitter-sweet digestivo (digestive) consumed after a meal. Folk has it that after a big Italian super, a digestive settles the stomach! Popular brands include Montenegro and Averna. Alcohol percentage is quiet low in an amaro varying between 16%- 40%
Below is a selection of some of the more common amaro digestivi avaliable.
AMARENA – Morello cherries or sour cherries. A bitter cherry grown in Italy most commonly preserved in syrup or brandy. A popular use in Italy would be the famous Amaretti cheese cake.
AMARETTI – A traditional crunchy biscuit in Italy made with ground almonds.
ANATRA – Duck. The wild variety, masaro, is preferred for its flavour, but domestic ducks are raised as a market variety. Ducks are stewed, roasted, or braised, the breasts often grilled or sautéed. Sweet sauces compliment the subtle flavour of the duck such as apple or pear reduction.
ANCHOVIES – These are small fish preserved in oil or salt and often used in Italian dishes for flavouring. Very versatile though the taste can be quiet acquired but found in almost every Italian pantry! The famous Napoletana pizza is known for its salty anchovy and olive combination. Defiantly a stable in any pantry!
ANISE – A small plant from the parsley family with a sweet liquorice flavour.
ANISETTE – A clear and sweet liqueur made with anise seeds.
APERITIVO – An alcoholic beverage often consumed before meals in Italy and thought to stimulate the appetite and promote digestion. A popular drink is the Aporol Spritz which combines Aporol, Prosecco and soda water - finished with a slice of orange and green olives! The youth of Italy normally meet for "aperitivi" before heading out where they would have some nibblies and Aporol spritz.
ARANCIA – Orange. Many varieties of oranges are grown in southern Italy and Sicily, including one of the most famous Sicilian orange, the blood orange which has bright ruby red flesh. Oranges are most commonly eaten fresh, or their juice used in desserts while some like to add them to their salads!
ARAGOSTA – Lobster, not as large as the some of the lobsters found in Australia, usually eaten boiled or grilled, often cold with a salmoriglio dressing ( a southern Italian dressing of lemon juice, olive oil, chopped garlic, parsley and oregano. Don’t forget to season it also!)
AROMI – A term for herbs like rosemary, thyme, basil, and bay leaves used in Italian cooking.
ASIAGO – An Italian cheese from the Veneto region. When young, is mild and eaten on it’s own. After it has aged, it has a more sharp and salty in flavour and is usually used only for grating and cooking. Another popular
ASAPARAGI – Asparagus. Both white and green varieties are available across Italy. Young spears are simply boiled, steamed or roasted and dressed with olive oil and grated cheese. Some like to wrap the asparagus in prosciutto and sear it on a grill.
BACCALA – Salted dried cod. Also known as stoccafisso although true stockfish is dried but unsalted. Baccala must be soaked for a couple of days, changing the water often before it can be used. A real traditional Italian dish!
The term can also be used as to poke fun at someone who has done something silly!
Below is an image how you might find baccala in cetain delis around Australia with an Italian infulence. The Portuguese are known to make a decent baccala also - But ours in better!
BAGNET – In a dialect of Piedmont, this means sauce (“little bath”). A red and a green version are common, and both are used to accompany bollito misto, a typically Piedmontese assortment of boiled meats. The red bagnet features tomatoes, carrots, celery, onions, and garlic that are cooked for half an hour, to which wine vinegar and sugar are added; the sauce is then simmered for two more hours. The green bagnet is a piquant blend of anchovies, hard-boiled egg yolks, parsley, garlic, capers, bread that has been soaked in milk and squeezed dry, extra-virgin olive oil and salt and pepper.
BALSAMIC VINEGAR – Vinegar. Italians make both red and white wine vinegars, the second is less common with a subtle flavour. The most famous Balsamic is produced in Modena.
BARBATIETOLE – Beetroot. This red, succulent root of a biennial plant (Beta vulgaris). Often dressed with vinegar and served cold and sliced, but can also be served hot. Beetroots have a sweet, earthy flavour when roasted and a great with a perfectly grilled steak.
BASILICO – Basil. A herb with an intense aroma and sweet flavour. It is associated with Italian cuisine more than any other herb. Often used in tomato sauces, pizza, salads, soups and pasta. Simply if your cooking an Italian dish, you'll never find an out of place for a basil leaf!
BATTUTA – A mixture of onion, garlic, fatback (the fatty side of pork used perfectly in cooking), and other ingredients added for flavouring a stew or soup. If sauted, it is called a soffritto.
BAVETTE – A long, ribbon shaped pasta - similar to spaghetti.
BECIAMELLA – Bechamel sauce. A white sauce made from butter, and milk thickened with flour that is used in many dishes in an Italian kitchen. One of the main ingredients when layering a Lasagna.
BEL PAESE – A creamy, light Italian semi-soft cheese with a mild, sweet flavour. Used as a spread or in cooking as it melts well. Bel Paese translates to “beautiful country” from the Lombardy region. The cheese takes 6-8 weeks to mature with a flavour compared to mozzarella.
BIETOLA – Swiss Chard. Popular all year round across Italy and used in many dishes.
BIGA – A starter or pre-fermentation, made for bread from flour, yeast and water. Generally they are dry and thick and used in the popular ciabatta bread.
BIGOLI –A dry pasta which is long - similar to spaghetti but with a hole in the centre. Traditionally they were made with buckwheat flour, but are more commonly made with whole wheat flour.
BISCOTTI – Biscuits whose name means “twice baked” that are crunchy and made to dip into coffee in the mornings (an “Italian breakfast”) or wine
BOCCON – A style of pasta from Veneto traditionally made with ricotta cheese and spinach mixed into the dough.
BOCCONCINI – “Little balls” of fresh Mozzarella. Mozzarella cheese is produced in Albruzzi-Molise and Campania and is made from fresh cows milk. Mozzarella is the larger of the balls of cheese produced in the process. The smaller balls are the bocconcini.
BORLOTTI BEANS – A small red / pink bean often used in soups and stews. Most often used dried rather than fresh.
BOTTARGA – These are dried, salted and pressed roe of mullet or tuna. A specialty of Sardinia but also produced in Sicily and Veneto. Most often it is served as an antipasto thinly sliced and dressed with olive oil, or grated over a simple pasta.
BOVOLO – Snail. Usually sauted with garlic and olive oil. You may think of snails being French - but the Italians eat them too!
BRANZINO – Also known as spigola, this fish is known as sea bass in other parts of the globe including Australia. Often cooked whole stuffing the fish with lemon (or lime) and other herbs such as parsely, it is delicate in flavour and has few bones.
BRESAOLA – Cured raw beef similar in appearance to prosciutto which has been dried for two to three months. A specialty of Lombardy, but enjoyed across Italy. Most often it is served as an appetiser, sliced very thin and drizzled with olive oil and lemon.
BROCCOLI RABE – See Cima di Rape
BROCOLETTI – Broccoli. Usually boiled or steamed, sautéed in olive oil and garlic or served cold with olive oil and lemon.
BRODETTO – A general term for any fish soup or chowder.
BRODO – Broth or stock. Can be made from vegetables, meats or fish.
BUCATINI – Long strands of dry pasta with a hole in the center.
BURRO – Butter. Italian butter usually contains a higher fat content than Australian butter. It is used more in the north of Italy, particularly with pastries, and in some pasta or risotto dishes, but very little is used to cook with. The colour is a lot whiter than ours which is a yellow colour.