I’d like to introduce you to 10 traditional and authentic Italian cucina povera recipes which have been passed down within my family.
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What is Cucina Povera?
These are “cucina povera” style recipes, which essentially means “peasant food” (literally “poor cooking” or “poor kitchen”).
Since I shared a load of English and Scottish recipes when I was in those respective countries, I thought it would be nice to do the same with Italian recipes, given that I’m currently in Italy right now. I came to speak on a round table at the Turin Epicurean yearly event featuring everything from food to fashion. More to come on that soon!
Cucina Povera dishes are mostly always made using super simple recipes, containing a minimal of ingredients. Usually, the products and seasonal and locally grown. As you would probably guess, those ingredients must be the best quality. There’s nothing to hide the lack of flavor otherwise.
Cucina povera recipes are the antitheses of American “Italian” chain restaurant’s dishes. If you enjoy this type of menu, that’s totally fine, just know that there is essentially nothing on it that is truly Italian.
Traditional Italian food is not smothered in sauces, tons of cheese and/or “lots of herbs and spices”. Those are American concoctions. Authentic Italian dishes are mostly light, include lots of vegetables, very little cheese (even on pizza) and are very healthy/nutritious.
Most “Italian” recipes I see aren’t even remotely Italian
I get very upset seeing many bloggers sharing “Italian” recipes when they have made up a recipe including tomatoes and oregano on their own and call it “Italian”. People in the US also tend to think that Italian food is heavy and fattening.
It’s very frustrating as I’m trying to share and inform readers what REAL Italian-style food looks and tastes like. Cucina povera recipes fall under the classification of the Mediterranean diet which is extremely healthy and nutritious!
Since you may have never heard of or seen these dishes before, I’m adding a comment left by a reader below each photo. It may entice you to try something really new!
I hope you enjoy my family’s recipes: a true taste of Italy. (Click on the dish title for the full recipe.)
10 Italian Cucina Povera Recipes Passed Down
Within my Family
1. Pasta and Beans (aka Pasta e Fagioli)
6. Cabbage and Rice
10. Cioffe (Bows)
I hope you enjoyed these recipes, and if you’d like to see more of my Italian recipes, just click HERE.
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