Wednesday, June 24, 2015

'Tis The Seasoning

When it comes to cooking, seasonings are a chef's best friend. A simple dish can be drastically changed with the addition of spices, and there are hundreds of varieties in the world to help make that happen. Spices can help bring out the potential of a a dish by giving it an aromatic flare as well as adding that special flavor needed to seal the deal for the best meal ever. Italy is home to some of the most sought after seasonings, and Ariosto is the top Italian producer in creating some of the most memorable blends in the market. This post will go into detail about Ariosto, a general overview of Italian seasoning & food and some suggested recipes on how to use these excellent spice blends.

Who Is Ariosto?

Ariosto was founded in 1962. Click to see Ariosto products!

The following is a small excerpt of the origins of Ariosto from the beginning.
"We are at the end of the 50s, in the countryside of the province of Reggio Emilia. A restaurant specializing in roasted meats, is rapidly making its reputation grow by word of mouth among visiting costumers. But what is the secret? It is the special blend of herbs with which the cook flavours meat: a typical preparation of the area called 'consa' made with garlic, rosemary, sage and other herbs finely chopped. The restaurateur, at the end of the meal, also has the good habit of offering its customers a small gift, a portion of that delicious preparation which gives a unique flavour to his dishes"
This initiative was so successful that it encouraged him to start a small artisan production of this special blend and market it under the name of Ariosto, as the poet Ludovico Ariosto's birthplace is nearby and also for the sound similar to the words roast, the dish from which it all started.

During the following years, thanks to the work of Marco Gozzi, the company Ariosto develops brand awareness at a national level in many countries around the world, continually expands the range of products and keeping, despite the passing of time, the same wise genuineness.

Even to this day, Ariosto's preparations are still made in the traditional way using the original recipes with certified raw materials and the most rigorous food hygiene checks. Ariosto is able to bring to the table dishes so rich in flavour and so tempting in aromas thanks to the wisdom of an “Emilian” cook and the generosity of nature, the real "parents" of Ariosto.

Italian Food & Seasonings 101

With Italian seasonings, the standard formula usually comprise of the following ingredients: basil, oregano, rosemary and thyme with common additional ones such as garlic powder, sage and cilantro.

Ariosto's spice blend seasonings have an excellent range of choices which use a secret recipe of the best combination of selected herbs, spices and Sicilian sea salt. These are perfect to flavor meat, fish and side dishes. Herbs Ariosto often use include rosemary, sage, juniper, bay, oregano, garlic, thyme, sweet marjoram, basil, coriander, onion, parsley, carrot and celery to produce the traditional Mediterranean mix. Ariosto seasonings do not contain preservatives, coloring or Monosodium glutamate (MSG).

The most common thought of what Italian food comprise of include pizza and pasta. While these are definitely delicious and seen a lot, those are but a drop in a bucket of what Italy has to offer in its food culture. Italy's food origin dates back more than 2000 years ago during the reign of the Roman Empire. After the fall of this empire, the diversity of Italian food began to spread when the city states each developed an identity and traditions of their own. As a result, unique cooking styles and methods were born from characteristics of cheeses to how wine is produced. Even to this day, there are distinct styles between northern and southern Italy with each region carrying their own traditional methods reflecting its deep culture and history through their cooking. 

Suggested Recipes

Cheesy Oven-Baked Gnocchi


  • 1.1 lb (about 500 g) gnocchi pasta dumplings, ready-made or homemade
  • a bottle of tomato sauce
  • a clove of garlic
  • Ariosto Tomato Based Pasta Sauce Seasoning
  • 3.5 oz (100 g) of mozzarella or provoletta cheese
  • black pepper 
  • Olive oil
  • basil
  • 1.7 oz (50 g) parmesan cheese

  1. Sauté the garlic in the oil, then add the tomato sauce and Ariosto seasoning as well as a bit of pepper. Let simmer.
  2. Cook the gnocchi pasta just to the point of 'al dente' ('to the tooth' in Italian, meaning cooked so as to be still firm when bitten, not over-cooked or mushy). Then drain the water.
  3. Mix the hot gnocchi in a pot with mozzarella cheese and basil.
  4. Pour the pasta mixed with mozzarella and basil into a baking dish, and top with parmesan cheese.
  5. Place baking dish in oven set to grill for 15 minutes (or in the microwave for about 7 minutes) or until it melts the cheese. Remove from oven and serve warm.
  6. Serve your Cheesy Oven-Baked Gnocchi with a Dolcetto di Alba wine. The goodness of simplicity. 

Roasted Shrimp


  1. Turn the oven on 180° C or 350° F.
  2. Wash the shrimp under water and put them in a pirex or any oven safe dish one next to the other.
  3. Cover them with the extra virgin olive oil and Ariosto Roasted & Grilled Seafood Seasoning, a little chive and some freshly ground pepper.
  4. Cut the lemon in half and set aside two or three slices for garnishing the plate. Peel the rest of the lemon and cut it in small pieces after you’ve removed all the seeds.
  5. Mince the garlic and distribute the garlic and lemon over the shrimp.
  6. Garnish with the lemon slices.
  7. Bake it for 15 minutes and serve hot.

Roasted Ham & Cheese Potatoes


  1. Peel the potatoes, wash them and cut them into 4-5 slices lengthwise.
  2. Line a baking tray with parchment paper and arrange the potato slices. Season them with a little oil and Ariosto Cooked Potatoes Seasoning. If you use the Ariosto seasoning you do not need to add salt.
  3. Preheat the oven to 180° C or 350° F and bake the sliced potatoes for about 15-20 minutes.
  4. Chop the cheeses and ham.
  5. Place the first potato slice on a tray lined with baking paper and add on top some bits of cheese and ham, put another slice of potato over it and repeat the operation up to recompose the potato.
  6. Place in the oven at 180° C or 350° F for 5-10 minutes. The potato stack should be well browned and the cheese should be melted.
  7. Serve immediately.

Zucchini Fritters

  • 2 medium zucchini
  • 3 tablespoons grated pecorino romano
  • 4 tbsp. Ariosto Pastella 
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vinegar
  • milk to taste
  • pepper to taste
  • salt to taste
  • peanut oil for frying

  1. Wash the zucchini, remove top and bottom, Grate and put  into a bowl and let sit in water with a little salt for 10 minutes. 
  2. Add the grated cheese, baking soda, vinegar, pepper, Ariosto Impan and enough milk to make a soft and sticky, but not liquid, dough.
  3. Heat the oil up very well, take a little dough with a spoon, pour in the oil and fry on both sides until golden brown.
  4. Absorb excess oil on a few paper towels and serve immediately after seasoning with salt.
Bucatini Puttanesca

  • 200g (7 oz) bucatini pasta
  • 6 ripe tomatoes
  • a generous handful of capers (conveniently find capers here)
  • a dozen black olives from Gaeta
  • 3 anchovy fillets in salt
    • Optional: Capers wrapped in Anchovies (find here)
  • Ariosto Garlic and Chili Seasoning
  • salt
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • basil
  • parsley

  1. Add in a large pan some extra virgin olive oil and a good quantity of Ariosto Garlic and Chili Seasoning. Let it rest for a few minutes in order for it to release and enhance all the flavors.
  2. Meanwhile clean the anchovies removing any salt, roughly chop the olives removing the stones, rinse the capers, chop parsley and basil, wash the tomatoes and cut into strips.
  3. At this point, add the anchovies into the hot oil and let them dissolve, add the olives and capers, sauté, then add the tomato slices and season with salt, but not too much. Let the tomato cook for a little bit, then add the chopped parsley and basil.
  4. Cook the bucatini pasta “al dente”  in salted boiling water, then drain and pour in with the sauce and sauté until nicely coated.
  5. You can eat them right away or cold. The flavour will remain intact.

Drumsticks Chicken With Ariosto Seasoning

  • 6 pieces of chicken drumsticks and thighs
  • 2 onions
  • 8 oz of white wine
  • 8 cherry tomatoes (find Italian ones here)
  • 1 tsp capers (find various types here)
  • 2 handfuls of green olives (Castelvetrano olives available here)
  • zest of lemon
  • 4 tsp Extra Virgin olive oil
  • 2 tsp Ariosto Roasted and Grilled Meat Seasoning

  1. Score chicken skin (cut with knife in diamond pattern) in a couple of places and season with 2 tsp Ariosto Roasted and Grilled Meat Seasoning.
  2. Heat olive oil in pan and brown chicken pieces on both sides over high heat. Lower the heat, add white wine and finely sliced onions and tomatoes.
  3. Cover and simmer for 25 min. If needed add a small amount of hot water. Finally add the olives, capers and lemon zest.
  4. Finish cooking on high heat for about 5 minutes or until the sauce has the desired consistency.

Tuna & Sweet Corn Fishcakes

  • 1 can of tuna (find Spanish tuna here)
  • 2 heaped tablespoons of sweetcorn
  • 50g stale bread
  • 1 tablespoon grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 bunch parsley chopped
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 egg
  • Ariosto IMPAN Breadcrumbs with Egg
  • Seed Oil

  1. Preheat the oven to 199°C or 390°F.
  2. Put the bread to soften in warm water and drain the tuna.
  3. In a bowl, add the egg, Parmesan cheese, tuna, chopped parsley, and the now soft bread (squeezed from all the excess water), mix well with your hands or if you do not like the feeling, with a fork.
  4. When the mixture is well blended, add the sweetcorn, stir further and let it stand a few minutes. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and with the aid of a spray or brush, grease it lightly.
  5. Pour the Ariosto IMPAN into a bowl, get a handful of the tuna mixture from the bowl, shape it into a ball, press it to make it look like a burger and bread very well with IMPAN, place them on the greaseproof paper and repeat with the remaining mixture until it is all used up.
  6. Sprinkle another drop of oil on the Tuna and Sweetcorn Fishcakes or grease them with the brush and bake for about 15 minutes.

Best Ever Beef Stew
By Mrs. Happy Homemaker

  • 2 pounds beef stew meat
  • ½ cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon seasoning salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ¼ cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 heaping teaspoons Ariosto Stewed Meat Seasoning
  • 4 medium to large red skinned potatoes, washed & diced
  • 3 large carrots, peeled & sliced
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  1. Shake the beef stew meat in a resealable plastic bag with the flour & Ariosto Stewed Meat Seasoning until evenly coated. Heat the olive oil in a skillet; add the floured stew meat to the pan & brown on all sides. Remove using a slotted spoon or tongs & place into the bottom of a slow cooker. Season with pepper.
  2. Saute the diced onion in the same hot skillet for 2 minutes. Don't worry about cleaning it out in between - that's added flavor! Transfer the onions into the slow cooker as well. Pour the Worcestershire sauce, water, & beef demi glace (or Swanson Flavor Boost) into the skillet and whisk until mixed, making sure you scrape up any browned bits in the bottom of the pan. Turn off the heat & set aside.
  3. Add the diced potatoes, carrots, celery, & bay leaves to the slowcooker. Now, pour the broth/Worcestershire mixture in the crockpot as well. Cover; cook on low for 8 hours. Remove the bay leaves before serving.

These are just a few recommended recipes you can try with each Ariosto spice blend seasoning available. You can find more recipes by clicking the Recipe tab on each product page. Please go to The Gourmet Import Shop to find these products and more. Feel free to try and share with others!

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