Author Archives: IL Bistro

Pick a Pepper!

Peppers are a big part of Italian cooking, and a healthy addition to any diet. All pepper varieties are low in calories and high in important nutrients, among which are vitamin A, vitamin C, folic acid, potassium, and fiber. A dish that is rich in peppers serves to strengthen your immune system, keep your blood pressure at a healthy level, and ward off the effects of aging.

At our Seattle Italian restaurant, we make use of peppers in many delicious ways. Try a sausage and pepper pizza, a grilled Italian sausage crostini, or a cioppino with a sweet pepper-tomato broth! It’s a healthy and satisfying way to add a bit of spice to your life.

What is Antipasti?

Are you looking for something to snack on while you wait for your meal at our Seattle Italian restaurant? Don’t look for the “appetizers” on our menu! In Italy, the appetite is whetted with antipasti.

The word “antipasti” literally translates to “before the meal”. This represents the hors d’oeuvre course. In Italy, antipasti come in the form of four different categories: the meats, the vegetables, the olives, and the cheese.

  • Meats: Antipasti meats are usually served cold, like sausages, cold cuts, and cured meats.
  • Vegetables: Antipasti vegetables are generally raw or marinated. The most common selections in Italy include mushrooms, artichokes, and sun-dried tomatoes.
  • Olives: Olives are important enough for Italian cuisine to get their own category, distinct from the vegetables. You will almost always find olives in an authentic antipasti course. They will often be served either by themselves or stuffed with cheese, garlic, nuts, or peppers.
  • Cheese: Cheeses are another big part of the antipasti course, usually coming in the form of traditional Italian selections. Some cheeses will be served by themselves, some will be wrapped in meat, some will be stuffed into mushrooms, and occasionally you will find a spreadable cheese to accompany bread.

What is Italian Sausage?

If you’re familiar with Italian food, you’re probably aware that the country is known for a variety of different sausages. With that in mind, do you know what to expect when presented with “Italian sausage”, like the sausage that comes with many of the dishes at our Seattle Italian restaurant?

In the United States, the term “Italian sausage” is generally used to describe a single specific kind of sausage. This is a sausage made from pork, red pepper flakes, and fennel. The end result can be anything from mild to hot, and is characteristic of a sweet flavor. It derives its name from the fact that it gets much of its flavor from popular Italian seasonings. However, if you ask for Italian sausage in Italy, your host is not likely to know what you are talking about.

What Turns Gorgonzola Blue?

One of the problems with cheese is that it has a tendency to go off rather quickly if not taken care of. Most of us know the frustration that comes with discovering a big, fuzzy patch of mold on a block of cheese in our refrigerator. Nobody wants to eat moldy cheese, after all. Or do they? It may surprise you to learn just how many people eat moldy cheese every day at our Seattle Italian restaurant, and are happy to do so!

No, this isn’t a result of bad sanitation in the kitchen. This is the magic of gorgonzola, the famous Italian blue cheese. Like all blue cheeses, this blue-veined food is infused with mold spores as it develops, specifically the Penicillium glaucum variety. The end result is a distinctive, salty cheese that many people find irresistible.

It’s important to remember that, though many molds are toxic to humans, the molds used in blue cheeses like gorgonzola are perfectly safe to eat. This is because, unlike harmful molds, the Penicillium glaucum does not allow for the production of mycotoxins and aflatoxins. With that in mind, feel free to partake of one of our many delicious gorgonzola-based dishes at IL Bistro!

The Properties of Goat Cheese

Most of our customers are only accustomed to cheeses made from cow milk. This is why, when they come to our Seattle Italian restaurant, it can be quite a treat to try goat cheese in the form of our goat cheese ravioli or goat cheese crostini. Many people find that this cheese offers a distinctly different experience over its more conventional cousins, with a rich, satisfying taste that many find irresistible.

What makes goat cheese stand out from cow cheese is the composition of the fats in goat milk. Goats are much smaller than cows, and they do not produce the agglutinin protein which causes the fat in a cow’s milk to clump together. Therefore, the fat globules in goat milk stay more dispersed. The milk is also naturally homogenized, giving it and the cheeses made from it a creamier texture.

Goat cheese is also characteristic of a wonderfully tangy taste, which is brought on by the strong presence of caproic, caprylic, and capric acids. Each of these are three times stronger in goat milk than in cow’s milk. Come and taste the difference it makes at IL Bistro today!

The Many Benefits of Salmon

Who doesn’t love salmon? If you’re a fan of this delicious pink fish, then you’ve got a friend in IL Bistro. Indeed, our Seattle Italian restaurant enjoys a special relationship with this classic fish that comes from operating in the Pacific Northwest. It is for this reason that we are happy to offer you salmon fresh from the nearby Pike Place Market in our delicious Linguini di Maré so that you might enjoy its great flavor and impressive health benefits.

Nutritionally, salmon is head and gills above the average fish. In fact, it is one of the healthier food substances you can add to your diet. Representing both a “fatty” fish and a low rung of the food chain, it provides you with a high dose of the crucial omega-3 fatty acids we all need without exposing you to a high level of mercury.

On top of this, salmon is a source of lean, low cholesterol protein and a great supply of many valuable nutrients; a single four-ounce cut of salmon can provide you with more than your entire daily recommended value of vitamin D, as well as half of your requirement of vitamins B2 and B12. Make salmon a bigger part of your life today, with IL Bistro!

The Benefits of Free-Range Chicken

A free-range chicken is a chicken that has not been confined to a cage for its whole life. They have been given access to an outdoor environment, where they are able to stretch their legs and graze. There are numerous benefits to eating free-range chicken, including the following:

  • It’s often forgotten that chickens are not strictly herbivorous, so chickens in cages aren’t being fed the protein they need. Free-range chickens have access to the insects they need to eat to stay healthy, which means their meat has more omega-3 and other important nutrients.
  • Chickens raised in cages are highly prone to stress, which puts them at risk of disease. They can therefore be raised without the antibiotics that other chickens need, which provides for a healthier meat.
  • Many people find that free-range chicken has a richer, more pleasing flavor compared to more common chicken meat.

When you come to IL Bistro, you can enjoy free-range chicken in the form of our pollo arrosto. Come and taste the difference at our Seattle Italian restaurant today!

Marinara: The Sauce of the Sailors

Marinara is a popular type of Italian red sauce made from tomatoes, onions, herbs, and a variety of other ingredients. It is characteristic of a somewhat spicy taste that comes from the garlic, basil, oregano, and occasionally chili peppers. It is commonly used throughout the world, well loved for its simplicity and great taste.

The familiar marinara sauce can be traced back to the 16th century, when the Spanish explorers introduced the tomato to the Mediterranean region. Seafarers in Naples first used the tomato to create marinara. A simple and meat-free sauce that could be easily prepared and stored in a time before modern refrigeration techniques, it was a very appealing sauce for sailors to consume during long sea voyages. it was therefore named for a derivation of marinaro, an Italian word for “seafaring”.

Many Italian-style dishes make use of marinara, as it pairs well with the mild taste of chicken and many pastas. In Italy, it will often also be used as a dipping sauce for fried mozzarella sticks, calzones, and other finger foods. At our Seattle Italian restaurant, you can experience this classic favorite on our lasagne, our grilled Italian sausage crostini, and more.

The Real Mozzarella Experience

Have you ever had really good mozzarella? This classic Italian cheese may seem mundane enough, but to the true cheese buff, you probably wouldn’t allow that anything you can find in the United States could be called real mozzarella. Indeed, if you want the true, traditional mozzarella experience, you may have to make the trip all the way to Italy.

Though most of today’s mozzarella is made from conventional cow’s milk, traditional mozzarella is made from the milk of the water buffalo. Further, unlike many cheeses that need to be aged for months or years at a time before they’re ready for consumption, mozzarella is known for being best when eaten fresh. To get the best experience, you should be eating your cheese within mere hours of its manufacture. It is therefore that many aficionados will tell you that you can only truly experience this classic cheese in Naples, where it is still manufactured according to traditional, hand-made processes.

In case you can’t make it all the way to Naples, you can always come to IL Bistro for a fine, mozzarella-based dish. Come and join us for some antipasto misto, caprese, or more!