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!