If you ever plan in staying more than a couple of weeks in Italy, and happen to have access to a kitchen, it would behoove you to save money and try cooking at home from time to time. Authentic Italian food is easy to make if you take the time to become familiar with how Italians live.
There are no Starbucks, Coffee Beans or the like in the country. Like there food, good coffee and cappuccinos are made from local, organic and fresh ingredients from the surrounding countryside. If you’re buying anything here your food will have a natural shelf life and go back within the week, unlike the preservative filled and overly processed foods in the U.S. And buying fresh ingredients for cooking in Italy is the key. When sautéing or pan-frying sauces, or what have you, use a good extra virgin olive oil. You can’t use that oil to deep-fry anything, but extra virgin olive oil can be used for dressing up dishes, drizzling on bread, tomatoes and the like.
The Italian stables for vegetarians are extra virgin olive oil, fresh bread, fruits and vegetables. You can create hundreds of combinations of sandwiches, snacks, various dishes and appetizers. Also, keep things such as dried lentils and beans, instant polenta, arborio rice for risotto, red wine vinegar, toasted breads, fresh lemons for juice and zest, and spices such as cumin, cardamom, fennel seeds, ginger, pimento in your pantry.
And finally, take your time cooking and enjoy your food with local wines.
For more meal ideas check out my book, “The Beginners Guide to Becoming a Vegetarian,” on Amazon.