Six Italian Cooking Words You Need to Know – La Famiglia Reno

If Italian food is your go-to – and we completely understand if that’s the case – then you’re no stranger to scanning the menu at your favorite spot. But have you ever read something off the menu, and wondered what all those Italian words actually mean? Here are six Italian cooking words you need to know – they’ll make ordering your next Italian meal that much easier!

Al Dente

We wrote about this common term last week in our pasta preferences post – al dente literally translates as “to the tooth.” You’ve likely heard it in relation to the cooking of pasta, as al dente is the usual goal. It describes cooked pasta that still has a bit of bite – the happy medium well in between undercooked (raw) and overcooked (mushy). Al dente is a term also used when cooking vegetables, as the same texture is ideal.


This is another Italian word with which you’re likely familiar. It means appetizers or starters – the traditional first course. Antipasti (with the singular antipasto) typically includes cured meats, cheeses, olives, marinated vegetables, and often, bruschetta.


Nope, this isn’t referring to pepperoni! Peperone means peppers, with the singular written as pepe.


It translates to “hunter,” and cacciatore is used to describe dishes that are served “hunter-style.” Usually, this means preparation with wine, herbs, tomatoes, onions and peperone.


This Tuscan word describes a dish enjoyed throughout all of Italy – a specific kind of salad that includes tomatoes and delicious toasted bread.


This little word references a little legume – chickpeas! Ceci can often be found in a variety of soups and pasta dishes.

The next time you enjoy a meal at La Famiglia Ristorante Italiano in Reno, see if you can find any of these Italian words on the menu – all the better to understand the many, many delicious options you have in our restaurant.

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