FIFA World Cup: 8 Italian-inspired eats for the hungry fan
Prosciutto-wrapped grissini, gelato, pizza make simple snacks for game-watching marathons
Anyone spending a lot of time planted on the couch in front of the FIFA World Cup will need something proper to nosh on - perhaps inspired by the nationalities of the competing teams.
Since Italians are known for their spectacular food, here are more than half a dozen nibbles perfect for coffee table munching, whether with friends or on your own.
These are perhaps the quickest, simplest nibble to assemble — no cooking required! Who doesn't love meat on a stick? Simply take a thin slice of prosciutto and wrap it loosely around a thin, crisp breadstick, leaving one end bare as a handle. The meat is tacky enough to stick to itself, so you won't need any help making it stay put.
Real parmigianno-regiano can stand on its own, without a bowl of pasta to support it. Just pick up a wedge and break it into chunks the size of a walnut. If you like, drizzle the pile with honey and a bit of truffle oil, then a good grinding of black pepper. The real thing is perfectly delicious straight up too!
Gelato is quintessentially Italian, eaten out of small bowls or cones. Both are ideal for eating out of hand in front of the TV or out in the street during post-game celebrations. For classic fior di latte gelato, heat one cup of heavy cream with 1/2 to 3/4 cup of sugar and a pinch of salt until it dissolves. Remove from heat and stir in two cups of whole milk, then chill and freeze in an ice cream machine. If you like, add flaked dark chocolate at the end for an Italian favourite, known as stracciatella.
Charcuterie boards are an easy way to feed friends and any number of cured meats (think salamis, prosciutto) and cheese can be haphazardly tossed onto a cutting board or platter. Fill in the gaps with chunks of rustic bread, dried fruit, nuts and crackers and you're good to go! (Or stay, as the case may be).
Fresh ricotta can be incredibly versatile once you get used to it beyond lasagna. Try spreading some on a fresh baguette or toasted crostini, then top with chopped fresh herbs or a slice of fresh peach.
Pizza is already one of the best sports-watching foods. Try grilling Italian sausage, peppers and zucchini, then tossing pizza dough on the grill for a charred, wood-fired oven effect. Turn down the heat, add your toppings and cheese, and close the lid until everything melts.
Shrimp make a quick and easy appetizer. Buy them in their shells or with just their tails on. Toss with garlic, olive oil, coarse salt and a pinch of dry chili flakes and quickly sauté in a hot pan or thread onto bamboo skewers and toss on the grill.
Granita is even easier to make than gelato and you don't need an ice cream machine. Purée equal parts strawberries and simple syrup, then freeze. You can even freeze a wedge of watermelon until solid, then scrape with a fork to break up the ice crystals. Serve like a sno-cone or if it starts to melt, sip like a slushy. It's a great way to beat the summer heat!