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10 Traditional and Authentic Italian Dishes — Passed Down within an Italian Family — (Cucina Povera)

Cucina Povera which literally means ‘poor kitchen’, involves a type of cooking prepared by the lower class of a given society. Peasant cooking tries to use whatever is present in the kitchen, household, farm, etc. to prepare meals. The practice of "cucina povera" can be seen in every society and is really about making appreciable food with unpretentious, yet high quality, and easily available ingredients.

Cucina Povera dishes, as a rule, are always made using super easy recipes that contain a minimal number of ingredients. Generally, the products are seasonal and grown locally. As you would probably guess, those ingredients must be the best quality.

Authentic Italian food is not covered in sauces, loads of cheese and lots of herbs or spices. Traditional Italian dishes are light most of the time, including plenty of vegetables, modest amounts of cheese (even on pizza) and are very healthy and nutritious. Cucina povera recipes come under the category of the Mediterranean diet which is extremely wholesome and nutritious!

The practice of cucina povera is quite inspirational, being the no-waste “poor cooking” tradition from rural Italy. Starting from bruschetta to biscotti, many of the countless original products and dishes that we enjoy today were invented out of necessity by peasants over hundreds of years, who made the most of simple ingredients available.

Primarily, Prosciutto was flavoured and healed to allow the ham to last through the long, cold winters. Stretching a loaf of bread over a period of a week or so leads to delicious dishes, such as bruschetta, panzanella and ribollita. Biscotti are the quintessential cookies that were cooked twice as they would last longer, not (just) because Tuscans loved the crunch. Nothing edible was ever, ever tossed out.

We should be grateful for the centuries-old Cucina Povera traditions that exist even today in regional Italian cuisines and never fail to amaze us.

10 Italian Cucina Povera Recipes

Some of the recipes that are highly recommended for you to try & are very simple and delicious:

Pasta and Beans (aka Pasta e Fagioli)

Pasta e Fagioli by Saveur


Roasted Red Pepper

Cabbage and Rice

Dried Zucchini

Credit: Low Carb No Carb

Dried Zucchini with Pancetta and Potatoes

“The stew sounds delicious, love the pancetta and other veggies and the fact that the zucchini doesn’t get mushy.”


Zucchini and Mushrooms

Credit: Eatingwell

Pickled Eggplant


Cucina Povera is indeed a true simple pleasure in life.


Source(s): christinascucina, eataly, scordo

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