Artisan Organic Italian Food

Preserving the Tradition

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I acquired a taste for good Italian food at a young age. Living next door to a three generation Italian family introduced us to unsurpassed cuisine. Straight off the boat, Grandma’s ravioli was made from scratch. The dough was light and creamy, the filling laced with ricotta and the fresh homemade sauce was one that had simmered for days. At Christmas we joined them for course after course of antipasto, spaghetti and endless desserts including fresh cannoli, spumoni, tortoni and a huge platter of homemade mouthwatering Italian cookies.

Many years passed until I happened to meet a young Italian with an organic food company. His mission was to network with other organic producers to preserve the tradition of artisan organic food. In my later life, Italian food was mostly pizza, an occasional spinach lasagna and fettucini alfredo happily topped with asparagus. But my newly acquainted Italian friend confirmed what I feared to be true. Italians do not eat Alfredo. Pasta in creme sauce is a dish for invalids that No real Italian would ever touch. Nothing but pasta with a long time simmering tomato sauce could ever be considered real Italian food. And with that, my attention was pointed towards the real thing – Artisan organic Italian! Olive oil, all kinds of olives, tapenade, caponata, capers, Sicilian fruit conserves, candied fruits and more. Italian artisan organics emphasizes the real thing – 100 percent pure and simple.

Health Benefits

Organic Plant-based Mediterranean Diet

The good news is that you don’t have to feel guilty about enjoying Italian food. The stereotyped image of the overweight Italian has now been replaced by a health-conscious image created by the esteemed Mediterranean diet. First, dispel the myths that a big plate of pasta is the key to the diet’s success, as most Italians consider pasta to be a side dish. Stick with organic fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts and whole grains with emphasis on freshly tossed salads, antipasto and sides of fresh vegetables.

Experts also explain that although food is a major factor in the diet’s success, lifestyle is also an important component. Think about it. When Italians sit down for a meal, they do it in a relaxed, leisurely manner taking ample time to savor and digest the traditional Italian fare. Add a good walk once the food is digested and voila you have the recipe for the diet’s success!

And the well-researched health benefits of choosing low fat, high fiber and plant-based include prevention of heart disease and stroke, increased agility, reduced risk of dementia, improved cholesterol levels, reduced blood sugar levels, increased longevity and more.

Watch For the Made in Italy Label

Organic shoppers are in luck as many organic and natural food stores including mainstream groceries now feature a wide range of certified organic food and pasta with packaging happily declaring “Made In Italy.” Certified organic fusilli, penne, linguini, capellini, angel hair, manicotti and lasagna, often hand rolled and hand cut, adorn the shelves with pride.

But with glyphosate in the public eye conscious organic consumers may be looking for products tested and labeled Glyphosate Residue Free. According to GMO watchdogs, Italians have actually been ‘up in arms’ about glyphosate in their pasta for sometime. The scoop is that after a 2016 Italian ban on the use of glyphosate (used as a desiccant to dry wheat and other crops prior to harvest), Italians began to avoid pasta made with glyphosate-laden Canadian wheat. Citing Italian concerns about food-safety standards, Italy now requires country-of-origin labeling on all wheat and rice products. As a result, Canadian wheat exports to Italy have dwindled. Wondering if the so-called “safe levels” are really safe, consumers may also wish to avoid U.S. glyphosate laden crops since the herbicide is used to desiccate wheat, oats and other grains including peas, chick peas, beans, lentils sugar cane and more.

Conclusion

Choosing certified organic is the safe and healthy way to protect your family’s health and the future of the planet. Your family can enjoy all of their favorite Made in Italy and Italian food dishes made from scratch from certified organic ingredients. Enjoy the recipe below for a traditional Italian spread often served with a large Italian meal.

Black Olive Tapenade

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups pitted organic brine-cured black olives
  • 3 tablespoons organic capers rinsed
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons coarsely chopped organic parsley
  • 3 cloves organic garlic (raw or roasted)
  • 3 tablespoons fresh organic lemon juice (from 2 lemons)
  • Real salt and freshly ground organic black pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup certified organic Italian olive oil

Instructions

In a food processor, combine olives, capers, parsley, garlic, lemon juice, and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Pulse 2 to 3 times until coarsely chopped.

Drizzle in olive oil and blend a few more times to form a chunky paste, scraping down the sides if needed.

Season to taste with salt and pepper. Do not chill. Serve at room temperature as a spread on crackers or grilled Italian baguette.

 

Note: The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author(s) and contributor(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of the publisher and editors of WholeFoods Magazine.

1 COMMENT

  1. HISTORY OF ALFREDO DI LELIO CREATOR IN 1908 OF “FETTUCCINE ALL’ALFREDO” (“FETTUCCINE ALFREDO”), NOW SERVED BY HIS NEPHEW INES DI LELIO, AT THE RESTAURANT “IL VERO ALFREDO” – “ALFREDO DI ROMA” IN ROME, PIAZZA AUGUSTO IMPERATORE 30

    With reference to your article I have the pleasure to tell you the history of my grandfather Alfredo Di Lelio, who is the creator of “Fettuccine all’Alfredo” (“Fettuccine Alfredo”) in 1908 in the “trattoria” run by his mother Angelina in Rome, Piazza Rosa (Piazza disappeared in 1910 following the construction of the Galleria Colonna / Sordi). This “trattoria” of Piazza Rosa has become the “birthplace of fettuccine all’Alfredo”.
    More specifically, as is well known to many people who love the “fettuccine all’Alfredo”, this famous dish in the world was invented by Alfredo Di Lelio concerned about the lack of appetite of his wife Ines, who was pregnant with my father Armando (born February 26, 1908).
    Alfredo di Lelio opened his restaurant “Alfredo” in 1914 in Rome and in 1943, during the war, he sold the restaurant to others outside his family.
    In 1950 Alfredo Di Lelio decided to reopen with his son Armando his restaurant in Piazza Augusto Imperatore n.30 “Il Vero Alfredo” (“Alfredo di Roma”), whose fame in the world has been strengthened by his nephew Alfredo and that now managed by me, with the famous “gold cutlery” (fork and spoon gold) donated in 1927 by two well-known American actors Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks (in gratitude for the hospitality).
    See the website of “Il Vero Alfredo”.
    I must clarify that other restaurants “Alfredo” in Rome do not belong and are out of my brand “Il Vero Alfredo – Alfredo di Roma”.
    I inform you that the restaurant “Il Vero Alfredo –Alfredo di Roma” is in the registry of “Historic Shops of Excellence” of the City of Rome Capitale.
    Best regards Ines Di Lelio

    IN ITALIANO

    STORIA DI ALFREDO DI LELIO, CREATORE DELLE “FETTUCCINE ALL’ALFREDO” (“FETTUCCINE ALFREDO”), E DELLA SUA TRADIZIONE FAMILIARE PRESSO IL RISTORANTE “IL VERO ALFREDO” (“ALFREDO DI ROMA”) IN PIAZZA AUGUSTO IMPERATORE A ROMA

    Con riferimento al Vostro articolo ho il piacere di raccontarVi la storia di mio nonno Alfredo Di Lelio, inventore delle note “fettuccine all’Alfredo” (“Fettuccine Alfredo”).
    Alfredo Di Lelio, nato nel settembre del 1883 a Roma in Vicolo di Santa Maria in Trastevere, cominciò a lavorare fin da ragazzo nella piccola trattoria aperta da sua madre Angelina in Piazza Rosa, un piccolo slargo (scomparso intorno al 1910) che esisteva prima della costruzione della Galleria Colonna (ora Galleria Sordi).
    Il 1908 fu un anno indimenticabile per Alfredo Di Lelio: nacque, infatti, suo figlio Armando e videro contemporaneamente la luce in tale trattoria di Piazza Rosa le sue “fettuccine”, divenute poi famose in tutto il mondo. Questa trattoria è “the birthplace of fettuccine all’Alfredo”.
    Alfredo Di Lelio inventò le sue “fettuccine” per dare un ricostituente naturale, a base di burro e parmigiano, a sua moglie (e mia nonna) Ines, prostrata in seguito al parto del suo primogenito (mio padre Armando). Il piatto delle “fettuccine” fu un successo familiare prima ancora di diventare il piatto che rese noto e popolare Alfredo Di Lelio, personaggio con “i baffi all’Umberto” ed i calli alle mani a forza di mischiare le sue “fettuccine” davanti ai clienti sempre più numerosi.
    Nel 1914, a seguito della chiusura di detta trattoria per la scomparsa di Piazza Rosa dovuta alla costruzione della Galleria Colonna, Alfredo Di Lelio decise di aprire a Roma il suo ristorante “Alfredo” che gestì fino al 1943, per poi cedere l’attività a terzi estranei alla sua famiglia.
    Ma l’assenza dalla scena gastronomica di Alfredo Di Lelio fu del tutto transitoria. Infatti nel 1950 riprese il controllo della sua tradizione familiare ed aprì, insieme al figlio Armando, il ristorante “Il Vero Alfredo” (noto all’estero anche come “Alfredo di Roma”) in Piazza Augusto Imperatore n.30 (cfr. il sito web di Il Vero Alfredo).
    Con l’avvio del nuovo ristorante Alfredo Di Lelio ottenne un forte successo di pubblico e di clienti negli anni della “dolce vita”. Successo, che, tuttora, richiama nel ristorante un flusso continuo di turisti da ogni parte del mondo per assaggiare le famose “fettuccine all’Alfredo” al doppio burro da me servite, con l’impegno di continuare nel tempo la tradizione familiare dei miei cari maestri, nonno Alfredo, mio padre Armando e mio fratello Alfredo. In particolare le fettuccine sono servite ai clienti con 2 “posate d’oro”: una forchetta ed un cucchiaio d’oro regalati nel 1927 ad Alfredo dai due noti attori americani M. Pickford e D. Fairbanks (in segno di gratitudine per l’ospitalità).
    Desidero precisare che altri ristoranti “Alfredo” a Roma non appartengono e sono fuori dal mio brand di famiglia.
    Vi informo che il Ristorante “Il Vero Alfredo” è presente nell’Albo dei “Negozi Storici di Eccellenza – sezione Attività Storiche di Eccellenza” del Comune di Roma Capitale.
    Grata per la Vostra attenzione ed ospitalità nel Vostro interessante blog, cordiali saluti
    Ines Di Lelio

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