When we think of Italian food, the entire culture of Italy comes to mind. Who wouldn’t want to dine like an Italian, with large family gatherings, multi-course meals, and enjoying the bold, rich flavors that Italians thrive on! We all love potluck dinners, but sometimes it is difficult to figure out what to make. Fortunately for you, there are many easy Italian dishes for potluck dinners to choose from.
If you want to go all out and serve up courses with a huge history behind the meal, then Italian food is a perfect option for you. On the other hand, if you’re looking for simplicity with an Italian touch, there are great options for every family chef out there. The best part is that many Italian recipes require similar starting ingredients, making it easy for you to get crafty in the kitchen with creative Italian dishes and save money while doing so.
In the United States, people have adopted the Italian techniques and recipes due to the taste and how simple the dishes are to make. Living in a different area than Italy, it is hard to be exact when it comes to producing the tasty food they do. Italian meals receive their tastiness through purchasing and using ingredients that are fresh for the season.
In this blog, we will be covering the basic herbs and ingredients necessary for many easy Italian dishes for potluck, some of the most popular meals and drinks you can make that originate from Italy, and how to make sure that your Italian meal plan leads to an authentic experience that only Italian food can provide. Beyond that, we will take a look at how the Italian cuisine got started and how it became as popular as it is today! Let’s get started crafting your own perfect easy Italian dishes for potluck menu that your family and friends will talk about!
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History of Italian food
Before we get started on how to make the best easy Italian dishes for potluck, let’s take a look at how it all started. You will gain a better idea of how the famous Italian meals began and how they make the food so delicious, by simple steps to get there. Potlucks are meant to serve large gatherings, for holidays and events, and when you choose to go the Italian route, you won’t be disappointed with the amount of food a simple list of ingredients can provide. Not only that, your guests will be satisfied and most likely, ready for a nap after enjoying the food that you made specifically for them!
So how did it all start? The history and background of how Italian food made its way to popularity across the globe is very extensive. There is a long history behind Italian dishes, but I will point out the important facts of Italy and how the delicious food gained its fame to many people.
How did it start?
Italian dishes are one of the most popular replicated meals across many countries. It all started with the Romans. The Empire was known to throw lavish parties where huge amounts of food would be provided to the guests. The flavor and the ingredients added to these dishes, were the main point in making the food as delicious as possible, and filling to say the least! At a very early time, Italians have been sophisticated with their techniques of preparing meals. They have always focused on the quality of the ingredients, rather than focusing on the preparation.
It is interesting to know that historians can trace back Italian meals all the way to the 4th century BC. Archestratus is the first known writer for Italian food and he was a Greek Sicilian. He actually wrote in poetry form and made it known that using top quality and seasonal ingredients were important to perfect the recipes. From Archestratus poetry, he also describes how the use of seasonings and adding a specific herb should be minimal, allowing the meal to give off its full flavor it deserves.
All the way up to the year 1000, religion played a big factor into the way that the monks of Italy consumed their food. Devouring food, of certain factors, was strongly related to sin. During this time, their diet was strictly made of bread and legumes. Cheese, egg, fruit, and vegetables were only allowed on certain days. This is where the well known Mediterranean Diet comes from, of course, without the consequences the monks would have according to their religion. Adding meat to their diet was forbidden due to the act of violence against a living animal that would provide that meat.
Dried pasta was first introduced to Italians by Arabs who brought it to the country. The pasta was manageable to travel long distances and still keep its freshness, since it was in a dried form. The pasta became known across Italy when it traveled from the ports of Sicily, and made its way into Naples and Genoa.
The development of the Italian cuisine was caused by many factors. Religion, politics, wars and neighboring countries all combine together to help the process of Italian food to evolve. After the fall of the Roman Empire, things really started to escalade, where religion played a big role. The evolution still didn’t end there though, as it continued to grow and spread across the world.
Today, Italian dishes are known to satisfy large family gatherings. Recipes are passed down from generation to generation to give the input on how to create the most perfect potluck of Italian greatness. Italians hold major pride in the colorful meals that they prepare, and with knowing their secrets on how to do it right, you can provide the same exact meal with the satisfaction they feel.
This is considered a more upscale restaurant, compared to a family owned restaurant or a place to eat your lunch at the local deli. A ristorante will offer customers a menu to browse to choose which cuisine sounds more appealing.
A pizzeria is your typical Italian pizza restaurant. In Italy, it is very common to cook pizza in a wood-fired oven.
This type of restaurant first became known in Naples. You can choose from many pasta dishes and other main courses, just in case you feel like devouring something other than pasta.
A rosticceria is considered a fast food type of restaurant, where they mainly serve roasted meat for the main part of the meal.
This place is known to be often family owned and has a very low key style about it. The prices of meals at a trattoria will be less than the typical meal found at a ristorante.
After you have relaxed and enjoyed a meal from one of the establishments listed above, this dessert spot is the place to go. Gelato, coffee, and even liquor can be ordered here.
Key Ingredients for the Best Easy Italian Dishes for Potluck
To create easy Italian dishes for potluck, there are two main components of a meal: the flavorings, such as herbs, and the body of the meals. Let’s discover the components that you will likely use the most for these easy Italian recipes.
The Most Used Herbs and Flavorings
Classic Italian main dish recipes incorporate many herbs and flavors. In Italy, they like to use fresh and in-season ingredients for the health benefits and fresh ingredients have more flavor.
This is used to add flavor to grilled or roasted poultry and meat, roasted mushrooms, and potatoes
This is used to add flavor to seafood, soups, and vegetables.
This is used for pizza, potatoes, and grilled fish.
This is used for tomatoes and pasta dishes. Basil is good to pair it with thyme, garlic, lemon, or rosemary.
Bay Leaves –
This is used to add flavor to meat, fish, stews, and soups. They can also be steamed right along with seafood, chicken, and steamed vegetables. The leaves have a spicy touch to them and should always be removed after the cooking process. The leaf itself is very tough to bite through.
This is used to add flavor to pasta sauce, grilled fish, potatoes, and tomatoes.
This is used to add extra flavor to butter, pasta, sausage, and pork.
This is used in moderation to even out the spice the other herbs give off that are added to meals.
Other ingredients that are common for Italian dishes
Sausage, pork, ham, salami, lamb, turkey, veal
Cod, anchovies, sardines, tuna
Rice, penne, spaghetti, linguine, rigatoni, ziti, lasagna, polenta, risotto, tortellini, and stuffed pasta shells
Potato, corn, tomato, artichokes, oranges, eggplant, zucchini, bell peppers, broccoli, onion, spinach, carrots, olives, candied fruits. There are many vegan and vegetarian options with Italian meals.
Goat cheese, parmesan, mozzarella, mascarpone, ricotta, and a creamy, cheesy alfredo sauce can be made with cheese.
Common Meals One Would Find in Italy
A common breakfast you would find in Italy would consist of coffee, bread, butter, jam, croissants or even a cookie. Here is an example of a breakfast that you could easily find while in Italy:
Bread and Jam –
Simply toast a whole wheat bread slice and add some butter, along with homemade jam. Orange marmalade and peach preserve are popular toppings to add a sweet touch to get you going in the mornings.
In Italy, a common lunch would consist of small portions of soup, pasta, a vegetable, and meat. Here is an example of a soup that is widely consumed:
Minestrone soup –
This Italian side dish makes a delicious and hearty wedding soup. Garlic, oregano, and olive oil are also ingredients that can be found in this healthy soup. Use a vegetable or chicken broth and a can of crushed tomatoes to make the base. You can throw in any vegetables you have on hand to create the perfect, homemade veggie-based soup. Complete by throwing in some rice or pasta to add texture and fullness to your soup.
Traditional Italians love to plan large gatherings with many courses of food. An appetizer is the perfect start to a hearty dinner that will be served in a timely manner, after the appetizer of course. You can choose to make ricotta puffs, garlic and cheese flatbread, or Italian meatballs. If you want to create something more simple, here is an example of a well known appetizer:
Bread with olive oil
An easy way to incorporate Italian food into your meal is to make a simple olive oil dip for sliced bread. While the baguette is a popular choice for bread, you really can choose any kind for this super tasty appetizer. At its most basic level, this recipe requires extra virgin olive oil, garlic, oregano, and balsamic vinegar. There’s a good chance you already have most of these ingredients in your pantry, making this dish a money-saver.
Mix all the ingredients together, pour the dip into a family-sized bowl, place the warmed bread into a basket, and you’re ready to go!
The main course in Italy is simply made without a large list of fresh ingredients that need to be added to create the meal. Remember, fresh is always best! Beyond searching for the best casserole to make for dinner, here are a couple of examples to create easy Italian dishes for potluck:
Pizza and pasta
We all know what a stromboli and a calzone is, but if you’re stuck on what to bring to a potluck, perhaps one of the most consumed and best Italian kitchen recipes is the classic pizza. Plus, it’s so easy to make! Fresh tomatoes, mozzarella and Parmesan cheese, basil, and oregano are the key ingredients to a classic Margherita pizza. If you want, add a few ingredients of your own choosing to personalize it. Likewise, there are many quick & easy Italian pasta dishes. Spaghetti with Italian meatballs and marinara sauce, baked lasagna with Italian sausage, pepperoni pasta salad with Italian dressing, and beef ravioli are a few options.
In Italy, desserts can come in almost any form like candied fruits, nuts, nut brittles, gelato, baked goods, cheesecake, brownies, cupcakes, cookies, and cakes with a cherry on top. Besides serving gelato at your Italian-themed gathering, consider challenging yourself to make tiramisu, which is the most loved dessert you will find in Italy!
Complete your Italian dining with the perfect sweet and irresistible dessert. If you want to really impress your family with your cooking skills, then tiramisu is the best and most popular dessert of choice. Made primarily of eggs and ladyfingers, this tasty cake is perfect for coffee lovers, as it also contains a cup of brewed coffee.\
Bold coffee and white wine are very popular in Italy. Calabrese is a well known alternative name for the Italian wine grape sangiovese. For a big holiday celebration, whether Christmas or the 4th of July, Prosecco, a bubbly white wine that is much like affordable champagne, is a great option.
Espresso is an Italian style coffee that is made by blending a mixture of coffee beans. Many people believe that espresso is more caffeinated than a regular coffee, but that is false. Since espresso has a longer roasting time, certain amounts of caffeine are removed from the liquid. For a flavorful coffee, a chocolate drizzle can be easily added to your coffee, to top it off with the sweetness it deserves!
Italy is known to be the largest producer of wine in the whole world. Wine is used in many Italian recipes, as well as being consumed by the glass during dinner. Actually, it is very uncommon for wine to not be served with an evening meal.
Beer is not as popular as wine in Italy, but if you want to choose a beer that Italians seem to not mind, pick a pale lager.
Holidays are a beautiful time to spend with family and friends, with comfort in mind in designing the most yummy food! Most likely, a potluck will happen during these festive days and who knows how to make the easiest, tastiest, large amounts of food for the occasion? Italians, of course! With a small list of ingredients, you will be able to find many recipes to create easy Italian dishes for potluck. Remember, don’t forget to add a drink to your festive family menu!
How to Make Your Best Italian Recipes as Authentic as Possible
You’ve got your ingredients and real Italian recipes, but what makes a warm and authentic Italian experience? Well, when it comes to the Italian inspired culture, we need to look beyond the food itself. In fact, when it comes to all foreign cuisines, it is important to take into account the culture of that country so that you can get the most out of your cooking experience. Italians love to plan a multi-course meal, with even adding antipasto, which is a term that literally means “before the meal,” where either hot or cold items will be served, such as ham, sliced sausage, a marinated veggie, or bruschetta.
In regards to Italian dining, go full out. Invite all your family over and make it a family party that will be sure to be talked about years down the line. Italian culture is all about large families coming together to dine and enjoy each others’ company. It’s a great opportunity to reconnect with family you seldom see, or to simply spend more time with the family you do see. While making easy Italian dishes for potluck, here are some extra tips for you, when you are ready to make potluck dishes authentic, the Italian way:
- Always use fresh ingredients and only use ingredients that are in the right season where you live. It is best to purchase locally grown products or even grow your own produce from a garden.
- Italians thrive on making dishes that are simple, easy to follow recipes, but of course, still just as tasty as a recipe that has twenty ingredients listed!
- To cook spaghetti or any noodle, Italians prefer the noodle to be firm to the bite, where it isn’t too soft to chew.
- When mastering the Italian way of cooking pasta, you should always mix and stir the sauce and pasta together while the meal is being prepared. In the United States, we tend to serve the noodles with the sauce placed directly on top of the pasta. In Italy, since flavor has a strong meaning to them, by cooking the noodles with the sauce, the process allows the pasta to absorb the sauce. Try that technique for a flavor boost to satisfy your guests at your next potluck. Then, when you are ready to sprinkle parmesan cheese on top of the spaghetti, you will notice that the cheese begins to melt.
Cleaning Up After Potluck
This is the part of those large gatherings that almost anybody can dread, besides the bonus of possibly having leftovers that you can refrigerate. Lucky for you, I have some awesome tips on how to clean up those dishes in a flash. After making your easy Italian dishes for potluck, why not have an easy way to clean up, to keep the simplicity flowing? Let’s learn what to use and how to get the job done, the easy way!
Here at Champion Supplies, we can supply the best products for you to use. We keep our customers in mind and provide products that will save you money, get the job done correctly, save your time, and leave you completely satisfied. Adding our products to your home cleaning collection is the perfect way to go and will quickly become your favorite household tool. Let’s take a look at what you would need to clean up after you provide easy Italian dishes for potluck.
This degreaser, that we proudly provide, is known as the #1 best kitchen degreaser on the market. It comes to you in a 32 ounce bottle that is transformed into 256 gallons of cleaner after you mix it with water! That will last a lot longer than the typical cleaner you will find at the local store. So, why do I think this degreaser is the best to choose? I will gladly explain.
It is so important to keep a clean kitchen, from pests and built up grease. It is just as important to find a cleaner that is not made from harmful chemicals, especially since food can be contaminated from those left over toxins! This product that we supply is made from a 100% biodegradable formula and is phosphate free. It is made in the USA and completely safe for your septic tank.
The Champion Ultra Concentrated Degreaser can be used well beyond dish cleaning, wish is a huge reason why I personally love this degreaser. It can unclog your faucets, clean your kitchen floor without leaving residue, restore your appliances, be used as a detergent booster to remove stains from your clothing, clean workshops, garages, tools, automobiles, walls, counters and kitchen cabinets.
How to use the Champion Ultra Concentrated Degreaser to clean dishes
To successfully clean that pot, pans, dishes, glassware, and silverware left over from the potluck, simply add 1 ounce of the cleaner to 8 gallons of water. If you would need a smaller amount, you can add ¼ tablespoon of the degreaser to 1 gallon of water.
Now that you know what the ultimate cleaner for those dirty dishes are, what can you use to actually spread the cleaner around the dish to clean it properly? At Champion Supplies, we can provide you a handy kitchen tool to become your dish cleaning helper.
This scrubber is 100% stainless steel, which means that it will not rust or sour easily. It is made to be long lasting, easily rinseable, and dishwasher safe. Not only can you use it on your dishes, it can be used for grills and ovens as well.
How to use the Champion Stainless Steel Scrubber?
When you have your sink filled with the Champion Ultra Concentrated Degreaser and water, place the pan (or whatever dish it may be) into the mixture. Let the pan soak in the cleaner. To add a little more strength to baked on grease, you can feel free to squirt some more of the degreaser directly onto the pan. Take the stainless steel scrubber and drench it in the water/cleaner mixture within your sink. Scrub the pan with the scrubber in circular motions. Rinse the pan under running water from the sink.
It’s as easy as that! With the combination of the Champion Ultra Concentrated Degreaser and the Champion Stainless Steel Scrubber, your easy potluck dish will have a easy clean up method to go along with it!
Italian food has more to offer than a mere change of dinner choices. By immersing yourself into a culture that is family-oriented and merry, you’ll find that the energy of such a lifestyle impacts your own family experience. So, invite all your family over, pop the cork off that bottle of wine, and fully indulge in all that the Italian culture has to offer.
When you are invited to a potluck or host your own gathering, choosing easy Italian dishes for potluck makes those large meal preparations easy! Italian recipes have simple ingredients and here at Champion Supplies, we can provide you a simple resolution on cleaning after the fun filled party!