Have you ever been following a recipe that says, “cook until al dente,” but you have no idea what it means? Or perhaps you’ve gone to a restaurant that doesn’t explain its menu items and you’re left wondering what “antipasto” or “Caprese” means.


At 3 Sons Italian, we work hard to serve delicious food without being pretentious. We don’t mind if you ask questions, soak up your sauce with your bread or request a to-go box for your leftovers. In fact, we’re eager to get everyone on board with cooking terminology and Italian words. We think it only strengthens your appreciation for “buon cibo.” (That’s “good food.”)


Here are some words and phrases you may run across while cooking for eating Italian cuisine:


  • Al dente: This literally translates to “to the tooth.” It means firm, such as cooking noodles until they’re firm, not mushy.


  • Antipasto: This translates to “before the meal” and you’ll often see antipasto on the menu under appetizers. Our antipasti (the plural of “antipasto”) platter is a selection of Italian meats and cheeses with relish sides and crostini.


  • Bianco: Meaning “white,” this refers to a dish without tomatoes or tomato sauce. A white pizza, for example, would just have cheese on the crust, not sauce.


  • Bruschetta: Toasted bread served with toppings, such as garlic and tomatoes


  • Capocollo: A lightly spiced and smoked cold cut


  • Caprese: Sliced fresh mozzarella and tomatoes with fresh basil and balsamic reduction


  • Cioppino: A shellfish stew


  • Crostini: Toasted bread with toppings


  • Diavolo: A spicy sauce used for pasta or seafood


  • Dolce: Sweet


  • Focaccia: A flat, oven-baked Italian bread


  • Gnocci: This is the Italian word for “dumpling.” Most gnocchi is made from potatoes, although there are other kinds.


  • Marsala: A wine made in the area around Marsala in Sicily.


  • Pancetta: Salt-cured pork; unsmoked bacon


  • Pomodoro: Italian for “tomato”


  • Ragu: A tomato-based sauce that simmers for a long time


  • Risotto: Rice cooked with broth until creamy


  • Vongole: Clams


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Buon Appetito!    


3 Sons Italian Restaurant & Bar

14805 West 64th Ave., Arvada