One Course, Many Dishes

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A primo is a first course that technically follows an antipasto but in our everyday life, we usually have it as a main course, maybe along with a contorno. Remember how Italians eat?

We don't just eat pasta as a primo. A first course in Italy also includes gnocchi, rice, and soups. Let's look more into this.



Italians prepare pasta in many different ways. Regardless of whether it's dry or fresh pasta, homemade or store-bought, there are 3 main categories of pasta dishes.

Pastasciutta. Literally meaning 'dry pasta', this is the generic name for a dish where the pasta is boiled in salted water, drained, and dressed with various sauces. You eat pastasciutta with a fork. Examples are pasta alla carbonara, pasta al pesto, pasta al sugo.

Pasta in brodo. This is the exact opposite of pastasciutta as it's pasta cooked and served in a broth or soup. You eat 'pasta in a broth' with a spoon. Think of pastina or tortellini in brodo.

Pasta al forno. Pasta can also be baked and we call it pasta al forno, pasta in the oven. It can be lasagna or other dishes you will learn more about in this course.

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Gnocchi are small lumps of dough made with different ingredients (flour and potatoes, semolina, yellow polenta flour) most often rolled out and cut into small pieces.

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There are many rice dishes in Italian cuisine and probably the most famous one is risotto, rice cooked with broth (meat, fish, or vegetable) until it reaches a creamy consistency.



Minestra is a soup. It is the general term for a first course of vegetables, legumes, pasta, or rice cooked in a stock.



Zuppa is a broth soup prepared using different ingredients and served (or cooked) with slices of bread.

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