From pasta to prosciutto – 4 Italian recipes to try today

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From pasta to prosciutto – 4 Italian recipes to try today

Want to know your prosciutto from your speck? What’s the difference between burrata and mozzarella? How should you serve Gorgonzola? If you want to broaden your knowledge on Italian ingredients, we’re breaking down our favourite deli Italian cheeses and cured meats that can turn even the simplest of dishes into epic gourmet meals.

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Italian food is so varied – there’s a dish for everyone. You can turn humble ingredients like tomatoes and pasta into gourmet meals. Whether you prefer to pile your pizza with tons of toppings, or go over the top with cured ham and mature cheese platters, the options are endless. Take a walk through the Italian food aisle in Woolworths stores and you’ll be amazed by the various shapes of pasta, creamy and tomato-based sauces, a selection of jarred olives and capers, exotic cheeses and dry-aged cured meats.

While simple ingredients are staples in most pantries, you may be unfamiliar with ingredients such as Gorgonzola, prosciutto crudo, speck and burrata. Here’s the lowdown:

Prosciutto and speck

Prosciutto is thinly sliced pork leg meat, which is salted and air-dried for long periods. This drying period can range from nine months to over two years! It’s marbled with fat that melts in your mouth and can also be fried until crispy. It’s great on pizza, but feel free to add it to pasta, salads, sandwiches or as a salty accompaniment to charcuterie boards.

Speck is another dry-cured Italian cold meat. The meat is trimmed, salted and flavoured with garlic, pepper, juniper berries, nutmeg and other aromatic herbs and spices. It’s then delicately smoked and matured for at least 4 to 5 months. It has a subtle aromatic, smoky flavour. It can be served similarly to prosciutto, but try pairing it with sweet melon in summer to really bring out its flavour.

Get the recipe for tomato rigatoni here.


Easily identified by its blue-green veins, this semi-soft, creamy cheese is matured for up to 60 days. It has a strong, mature flavour and pairs well with fresh fruit such as apricots and figs. Going savoury? Make an easy creamy sauce and toss it with pasta.

Get the recipe for creamy Gorgonzola gnocchi here.


Burrata is a fresh, mild, soft cheese that’s usually confused with mozzarella. Burrata has an outer “pouch” filled with a creamy, combination of curds and fresh cream called stracciatella cheese. If you tear it apart, the stracciatella will ooze out. It’s usually sold in a tub filled with brine to keep the cheese fresh and creamy. Serve it as is with toasted ciabatta, or take salads, sarmies and baked pasta to a new level. We’ve opted to keep it fresh on a home-made pizza base with fresh marinated tomatoes. It’s the perfect balance of creamy, sweet, herby and acidic.

Get the recipe for Caprese pizza here.

If meat and cheeses aren’t your thing when it comes to Italian feasting, pasta will never disappoint. We’re obsessing over conchiglie pasta. It’s a large, shell-like pasta that can be filled before baking. Amp up meat-free Mondays with baked conchiglie stuffed with spinach and ricotta. This vegetarian pasta bake comes together in under an hour and is a delicious departure from everyday pantry pasta dishes.

Get the recipe for baked conchiglie stuffed with spinach and ricotta here.

Photograph: Sadiqah Assur
Recipes: Jacquline Burgess
Food assistant: Claire van Rooyen

Explore Woolworths’ selection of Italian imported cured cold meats and award-winning cheeses. Take your pick from salty speck and prosciutto crudo and creamy cheeses such as Gorgonzola and burratina mozzarella. 

Shop at Woolworths.

TASTE Article by: TASTE

The TASTE team is a happy bunch of keen cooks and writers, always on the look out for the next food trend or the next piece of cake.

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