Winter is here and while it hasn’t been terribly cold yet along the Front Range in Colorado, the January doldrums have arrived. Grey skies and brown plants don’t do much for people’s mood, but Pinocchio’s Italian Eatery in Brighton, CO, has just the thing to put a smile on your face this winter.
Italian dishes are a winter favorite because so many of them are rich and thick—and they don’t just warm your throat for a moment’s respite, but keep you full and warm well after the last morsel of food has left your plate. The best Italian dishes for winter are those that emphasize this warm richness and keep you warm all season long. Here are some of our favorites:
Polenta is a simple but well-loved Italian dish that comes from the northern regions of the country. Regular polenta is a porridge-like dish that has dozens of variations depending on the local cuisine and tastes of the chef.
Polenta taragna, which was developed in the Bergamo Alps region, is an extra-creamy, extra-delicious adaptation of the simpler polenta recipe. Polenta taragna adds richer ingredients that make it fulfilling for even the coldest of winters; the ‘taragna’ variation includes buckwheat (rather than simple cornmeal); as well as real milk, butter and plenty of cheese.
Beef Braised in Barolo
If you’re looking for something that’s a little more hearty, we recommend beef braised in Barolo. This is one of the most popular Italian dishes in the entire world — and for very good reasons. This traditional dish originated in the Piedmont region of Italy and is easily identified by its dark aroma, which comes from the generous use of Barolo wine.
Like many hearty Italian dishes, this dish calls for various vegetables — such as onion, carrot, celery, and potato — but the true star of this meal is the beef, which must be marinated for at least 24 hours in Barolo before being cooked and served with vegetables that have been cooked with plenty of butter.
Nothing says cozy like a warm bowl of delicious, hearty ribollita. Ribollita is a classic Tuscan soup that is traditionally made with leftover bread and vegetables from the kitchen. The typical ingredients in a classic version of this soup are leftover bread, white kidney beans, and a variety of vegetables.
The soup is traditionally served with leftover bread added to the soup while it is still on the pot, and stirred until it has broken into smaller pieces; this allows for the bread pieces to become saturated with the soup. However, some variations of the dish reserve adding the bread until the very end to keep it crisper and to keep the bread flavor distinct from the soup.