La Cusina Povera literally means “The Poor Kitchen”, but it really refers to the frugal genius of poor Italian cooks who made the most out of what they had during hard times.
Over the past couple of decades, it’s become part of today’s mainstream cooking style. The idea is to cook with what you have available in your pantry to transform humble ingredients into exquisite and delicious dishes without overspending on your grocery shop or unnecessary trips to the grocery store.
A list of 5 popular La Cusina Povera dishes:
- Ribollita: Ribollita is a famous Tuscan bread soup, a hearty potage made with bread and vegetables. There are many variations but the main ingredients always include leftover bread, cannellini beans, lacinato kale, cabbage, and inexpensive vegetables such as carrot, beans, chard, celery, potatoes, and onion.
- Pasta e Fagioli: Pasta e fagioli, meaning “pasta and beans”, is a traditional Italian soup. It is often called pasta fasul in the United States, derived from its Neapolitan name, pasta e fasule. Like many other Italian favorites, including pizza and polenta, it started as a peasant dish, being composed of inexpensive ingredients.
- Bruschetta: Bruschetta is an antipasto from Italy consisting of grilled bread rubbed with garlic and topped with olive oil and salt. Variations may include toppings of tomato, vegetables, beans, cured meat, or cheese.
- Minestrone: Minestrone is a thick soup of Italian origin made with vegetables, often with the addition of pasta or rice, sometimes both. Common ingredients include beans, onions, celery, carrots, stock, and tomatoes. There is no set recipe for minestrone, since it can be usually made out of whatever vegetables one has.
- Spaghetti Alla Puttanesca: Spaghetti alla puttanesca is an Italian pasta dish invented in Naples in the mid-20th century. Its ingredients typically include tomatoes, olive oil, anchovies, olives, capers and garlic, in addition to pasta.