Italian Language Lesson 1: Amazing Food

| Fri, 04/13/2012 - 04:46

I studied Italian at school and at university and lived in Rome for nearly 5 years. My love for this beautiful language led me to consider some interesting ways to teach Italian and to start up an Italian school. I listed the top 5 things I love about Italy and came up with:

- Amazing food
- Stunning landscape
- Romantic language
- Friendly people
- Beautiful art and architecture

So I thought - what about teaching Italian through love and awareness of these wonderful aspects of Italy?

Lesson 1: Amazing food

Lesson 1 starts with food, we all know famous Italian dishes such as:

*Spaghetti alla bolognese
*Pizza Margherita

But what about some tasty Roman food treats?

Supplì: balls of rice in a little tomato sauce filled with mozzarella and deep fried
Filetti di baccalà: battered cod fillets
Fiori di zucca: Courgette flowers which are deep fried and filled with mozzarella and anchovies


All of the above are called fritti (fried food) and are often eaten as an antipasto (starter) at the pizzeria. Roman pizze have a thinner and crispier base than Neapolitan style pizze.

Some Roman piatti (dishes) include:

Pasta alla gricia: pasta with pancetta-like guanciale, pecorino cheese and pepper
Bucatini all’amatriciana: long pasta like spaghetti with a hole through the middle, the sauce is tomato based, with the ingredients used in gricia
Pasta cacio e pepe: pasta in a creamy pecorino cheese and black pepper sauce
Porchetta: roasted pork with herbs, garlic and black pepper, typical from the roman countryside

If we wanted to order food in a restaurant in Italy, we could use the following sentences:

Prendo un supplì: I’ll have a rice ball
Prendo la pasta alla gricia: I’ll have the pasta with guanciale and pecorino

Restaurant in Italy

To order drinks, we could say to the waiter:

Posso avere una bottiglia di vino?: Can I have a bottle of wine?
Posso avere dell’acqua?: Can I have some water?

And if we like our food, we could express our pleasure with the following easy-to-remember adjectives:

È buono/a: It’s nice (depending on whether the noun is masculine or feminine)
È buonissimo/a: It’s really nice (depending on whether the noun is masculine or feminine)

That’s all for now, buon appetito (enjoy your meal)!

Alesha Keene is an Oxford graduate of Italian who is now back in London after years spent living and working in Rome as a language teacher and PR consultant. Alesha is CEO and Italian teacher at Alesha’s Italian Masterclass, which runs Italian immersion courses at authentic Italian café’ in Borough Market (London Bridge). You can contact her at or through Facebook or Twitter. Her website it