OCA – Goose. Commonly roasted, often served with chestnuts.
ODORI – Refers to aromatics such as onion, carrot and celery used in recipes.
OLIVE – Olives. A wide variety of olives are grown across Italy, most being used to produce olive oil. Both black and green olives are eaten raw or used in cooking many Italian specialties.
OLIO DI OLIVE – Olive oil. In Italy, olive oil, or olio di oliva, is the most commonly used fat. It is pressed from the pulp of ripe olives. Different regions produce very different flavored oils depending on the growing conditions. Tuscan oil is most often considered the best tasting oil of all. Extra virgin olive oil is made by pressing the olives with no further processing. It’s regulation is very strict, and produces oil with a very distictive flavor. Olive oil is used as the fat of choice for most Italian recipes, while extra virgin olive oil is used uncooked as a condiment only.
OLIO SANTO – Translated as “holy water”, this is a spicy olive oil flavored with peperoncino.
ORATA – Sea Bream. This fish has a tasty, flaky white flesh, and is usually baked, broiled or cooked on a grill.
ORECCHIETTE – Called “little ears” for it’s shape, this pasta from Puglia is made from flour and water, and is often served with a vegetable based sauce.
ORIGANO – Oregano. This herb is used more commonly in southern Italian cooking, while marjoram, maggiorana is more commonly used in the north. Oregano has a stronger flavor, and is often used in sauces as well as a flavoring for meat.
ORZO – Barley, also Pearl Barley. Barley is used in porridge and soups, but also for making hot and cold beverages. The name is also given to a small dried pasta, similar to rice in shape but larger, ideal for soups.
OSTRICA – Oysters. Most commonly consumed raw or baked.