The month of October means Italian Month, Vegetarian Awareness Month, and Non-GMO Month! It's such a great time of the year for us at Organico Bello because these themes celebrate the best qualities about our products - Italian food, healthy food, and the beautiful vegetables that make up our pasta sauces, salsas, and canned tomatoes. In fact, at Organico Bello, every day is Italian, Vegetarian Awareness, and Non-GMO Month!
When people think of Italy and Italian food, they think of delicious pasta. They're right to think that since it's such a staple of Italian cuisine and even goes back to ancient Rome, but did you know vegetables play just as big a part in Italian food? In fact, before Naples became a tourist attraction, it and its surrounding regions' main source of food came from the earth. Because of this, the people of Campania used to be called “Mangiafoglie” or leaf-eaters. The soil of Southern Italy is rich and full of nutrients, which it gets from the ancient volcano, Mt. Vesuvius, which shadows the valley. Vegetables are plentiful, full of nutrients, and flavorful; a perfect focus for each meal. One of Chef Neil’s favorite vegetables is from the endive family – the Escarole. Firmer than lettuce but less bitter than other members of the endive family, he prefers this due to its broad, pale leaves, which add significant flavor and bite to a salad. Unlike most lettuces, escarole isn’t masked by other ingredients in a salad. It holds its own with Parmigiano-Reggiano and olive oil, and it doesn’t wilt at the first sign of moisture.
Another favorite vegetable is Broccoli Rabe, which has a peppery, herbaceous flavor. It’s a cross between a cabbage and a turnip, and happens to look like a broccoli! In Italy, broccoli rabe, or broccoli rapa, is prized for its earthy, nutty taste, making it the perfect vegetable for sautéing and steaming, adding flavor to a bowl of soup or standing out as a side dish.
For more Italian vegetable inspiration, check out our recipe page. We've cooked up a lasagna recipe that’s totally vegan and full of great plant-based nutrients! Check out our latest recipe - Vegan Lasagna