What are some general rules for an Italian first (Primi) course?
I've been searching online for some general rules or guidelines to the Italian Primi course, but am only finding the same information over and over again.
Are there any do's and don'ts to the Primi course? Or is there any important information that you could tell me about it?
Also, what are some first course meals that would be served for a special occassion?
- HCCLv 41 decade agoFavourite answer
As Italian cooking depends on theme, variation, and quanto basto (just enough), so too with the classic Italian meal. Save for the rare exception (such as ossobuco e risotto, served as one dish Milanese style), there is no dominating main course. Instead, a series of small courses that play off each other are presented. During an ideal dinner, participants experience the crisp and the soft, the complex and the simple, the pungent and the mellow.
To whet your appetite, and to introduce a theme, antipasti are sometimes served. This could be prosciutto di Parma with melon, Tuscan crostini smeared with liver spread, or vegetables dressed with olive oil.
The first course (primi or minestra) can be a risotto, a soup, or a pasta served in a broth or sauced. No matter what is served first, it is served in a bowl, and it always, always precedes the meat, fish, or fowl course.
When dining out in Italy, the choice of a second course (secondi) is made after you've eaten the first course. This way, a diner can evaluate the experience of the first course and decide on its best counterpoint for the second. One or two vegetable dishes (contorno) often round out this course.
After the vegetable dishes are cleared, and the second course completed, salad is served.
The meal closes with a sweet (dolci), often fresh or marinated fruit.
For example, "fish" is the theme of this meal composed by Marcella Hazan. The antipasto is tiny boiled shrimp served warm and seasoned with lemon juice, olive oil, and parsley. Next (primi) comes a squid and clam risotto to make "peppery comments." Then (secondi), a turbot baked with potatoes and garlic is served. After the turbot, a bitter salad of radicchio and field greens cleanses the palate. The closing course is fresh fruit sliced and served in wine.