Tomatoes are one of the most important parts of Italian cuisine. That doesn't mean that you can't find a delicious meal that is made without tomatoes. The problem for most vegetarians is that many of the non-tomato dishes are fish based. However, there are some fantastic options available. Below you will find a list of some great entrees that don't have a single slice of tomato, a drop of tomato sauce, and no meat or fish. There is even a tomato free pizza for people who will be dining out at a pizzeria.
Spaghetti Aglio E Olio
When you think of spaghetti, do you think of lots of red sauce? Well, if you travel to Naples you will find that spaghetti is rarely served with a tomato sauce. Instead, the common sauce is garlic and olive oil (aglio e olio.) It's an incredibly simple dish. Garlic is minced and sautéed in oil until it is almost dissolved into the oil. Then pepper flakes (peperoncino) are added. The oil absorbs the heat from the chili peppers, and has the nutty flavor of the garlic. The cooked spaghetti is tossed in with the oil. Fresh parsley is added as a garnish, and a grating of pecorino romano is added to the pasta right before plating.
Cacio e Pepe
This name translates to cheese and pepper. It's another simple dish. Cheese, black pepper, and pasta are the only ingredients. The pasta is normally spaghetti, vermicelli or capellini. A hard cheese, such as pecorino romano, and warm butter is tossed in with the cooked pasta. A bit of the cooking water is added to the pasta, perhaps a small ladleful, in order to help the cheese and butter combine together. The reason that the cooking water is used, and not fresh water, is that the cooking water will be very starchy and not ruin the mouth feel of the pasta as fresh water would.
Wild Mushroom Risotto
If you're not in the mood for pasta, then try risotto. This is the classic rice dish of Italy. It's a bit creamier than Indian, Mexican, or Asian style rices. The reason the dish is so creamy is that very starchy rice is used, such as arborio, and the rice is cooked in a rich broth.
A typical wild mushroom risotto will start with the rice being cooked until tender in a broth. Sometimes white wine is added to give a more complex flavor to the broth. When the rice is near tender, grated cheese and mushrooms are added. The rice is never cooked until is dries out. The texture should be very rich and creamy.
Pizza Ai Quattro Formaggi
Yes, you can eat pizza even if you're allergic to tomatoes. The classic Italian example is the 4-cheese pizza. This pizza has no tomato sauce. The crust is covered in olive oil and a combination of 4 cheese. There is always mozzarella, ricotta and a hard cheese such as
parmigiano-reggiano The fourth cheese will vary depending on the recipe. Some chefs will use a small bit of an Italian blue cheese such as gorgonzola, while others might use shredded provolone. Visit www.pizzeriaromaak.com for more information.