The Half Hour Meals’ 2012 Culinary World Tour continues its journey, this time stopping off at Italy. This is the fifth article of ten that will delve into the culinary world of famous Summer Olympic countries. Read our recipes from these cultural meccas and submit your own!

Italy is famous for its food. They pride themselves on simple, delicious meals that only use a few ingredients. One major tip to cooking Italian food is to make sure your ingredients are fresh and the best quality you can buy. This doesn’t mean it has to be expensive. Try shopping for local produce at your farmers market to get fresh ingredients at good prices. Enjoy this little trip to Italy and try some of these recipes yourself!

1. Limoncello. Limoncello is a delicious liqueur made in Southern Italy. It is made by adding the zest of lemons into alcohol and infusing it for days. It is the second most popular liqueur in Italy and is served chilled. Try this on its own or mixed in cocktails.

2. Cappuccino. This Italian coffee drink is perfect for after dinner. It had equal parts espresso and milk and is topped with milk foam. It is a luxurious drink that will be sure to impress guests.

3. Asparagus and Prosciutto. This cured ham is an Italian specialty. It is dry-cured and served either raw or cooked. It is very expensive and is served paper thin. Try this luxurious meat in sandwiches or on its own.

4. Bruschetta. This popular dish means to be grilled. The American version of bruschetta is very different than what you can find in Italy. Try this dish the way it was meant to be made: grill bread, rub a clove of garlic over it, and serve with tomato.

5. Orecchiette Con Cime Di Rape. This distinctive pasta shape is famous in Southern Italy. Its name means “little ear” as the bowl shape is reminiscent of an ear. Try this handmade pasta with pesto sauces.

6. Pork Loin with Prosciutto. Simple dishes are what makes Italian food famous. This pork dish is paired with a prosciutto cream sauce. The salty cured ham gives a rich flavor to the meal.

7. Stuffed Zucchini Flowers. This beautiful dish is known as fiori di zucca and is famous in Rome. The young zucchini flowers are stuffed with a variety of fillings and then deep fried like a fritter.

8. Grilled Vegetable Salad. There is nothing better in the summer than using your seasonal produce. Try grilling them with a little oil and balsamic vinegar for a very Italian side dish.

9. Biscotti. This twice baked cookie is an amazing accompaniment to coffee. Known as biscotti di Prato, or cantuccini, these cookies come from the Italian city of Prato. Make these with any nuts and chocolates you desire.

10. Tiramisu. This famous dessert pairs the bitter coffee with creamy custard to create a delicious dessert. It is difficult to master but the results are worth it.

Angela Nightingale

If you want to know the best cupcake shop in any major city in America, just ask Angela. This girl knows her sweets, and she isn't shy about letting you know that your german chocolate cake needs more chocolate. If you want to find Angela on any given day, she's probably looking up reviews to decide where to grab lunch, or in her downtime, binge-watching the latest 'it-series' on Netflix.

I'm all about grilling in the summertime! In fact, we make most of our meals on the barbecue when the weather cooperates.
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