Meal of the Week: Italian cold dishes to eat on a hot, hot day

Refreshing pasta salad from Italy
Refreshing pasta salad from Italy Copyright Savin Mattozzi/ Euronews
By Savin Mattozzi
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There is a way to survive and thrive in this unprecedented heatwave if you watch what you eat and drink. This week we embark on a culinary journey across the Mediterranean to see what locals are consuming to stay cool and fresh.


As much of the Mediterranean and Southern Europe is suffering from extreme heat that's showing no sign of easing up, many people are turning to cold cuts and easy to make dishes to feed their friends and families.

We will start our journey off with three dishes from the Italian peninsula where several record temperatures have been broken in recent days in Rome and across the island of Sardinia. What are Italians eating in this heat?

Insalata di pasta - pasta salad

Savin Mattozzi/ Euronews
Ingredients for a tasty pasta saladSavin Mattozzi/ Euronews

This dish is probably one of the most popular cold meals that everyone enjoyed across the penninsula. There are numerous regional variations and ingredients that even vary from family to family but this cold pasta is sure to refresh your day.

The past few days have been blisteringly hot in Naples, where I live, and this is one of the few dishes I can make once and eat several days in a row. It’s super simple and the only ‘cooking’ involved is boiling the pasta. Let's take a look.

What you need

250g pasta




Feta cheese



Crushed chili pepper

Olive oil


How to make it

Fill up a large pot of water and set it to boil. While the water is boiling, start chopping up your tomatoes, cucumber and onion and place in a large bowl.

After chopping up those ingredients, break up the feta cheese with your hands and rip up the basil and mint right after and place all ingredients in the bowl. Now add in your oil, salt and chili pepper and mix well.

At this point the water should be boiling and now you just add in a bit of salt to the boiling water and add in your pasta and set your timer.

Once the pasta is done cooking, drain and place in a bowl with some olive oil in the refrigerator until it cools down a bit.


Once room temperature, mix in all of your ingredients with your pasta and enjoy with some refreshing lemon water or iced tea.

Zucchini alla scapece - cold fried courgette

Savin Mattozzi/Euronews
Minty fresh zucchini alla scapeceSavin Mattozzi/Euronews

We are going to take a look at one of Campania’s favorite side dishes that uses quite a lot of mint to give the dish a refreshing and light taste that is perfect for combating the summer heat.

Zucchine alla scapece is usually eaten at room temperature as side dish or appetizer but you can turn it into a more filling meal by putting it on some bread or even adding it to a sandwich. It is super easy to prepare in a rush and you only need a handful of ingredients that you can easily get at your neighbourhood fruit and veggie stand or supermarket.

What you need

1 kilo of courgettes

3 cloves of garlic


1 cup of white wine vinegar

1/2 cup of olive oil

A handful of fresh mint

2 spears of fresh parsley



Black pepper

Chilli pepper (optional)

How to make it

Cut your courgettes into slices about half a centimeter wide or less. The thinner they are the better. Place your cut courgettes aside and start to make the marinade.

Tear or cut up all of your mint and parsley and place inside the bowl. Slice your garlic evenly and place directly into the bowl with the mint and parsley. Pour in your white wine vinegar and olive oil then mix well. After, add in your salt, black pepper and optional chili pepper for a little kick.

When all of the ingredients of the marinade are mixed well, set aside and prepare to fry your courgettes.


Cover your pan with a thin layer of olive oil and set the heat up high. After your oil has gotten hot enough, place in your courgette slices one by one making sure they don’t lay on top of each other so they can cook evenly.

You’re going to let it cook until they turn mostly brown and then flip them and do the same to the other side.

After both sides are cooked, place on a plate with a paper towel on top or a drying rack if you have one.

When all of the courgettes have been cooked, place them in your marinade, mix well and let sit for at least one to two hours before serving.

Place on a serving plate and dig into some refreshing veggies.


Melone con prosciutto - melon with prosciutto

Savin Mattozzi/ Euronews
Sweet and salty melon with cured meatSavin Mattozzi/ Euronews

I know, I know, it’s not a combination that sounds very appetizing but hear me out.

The sweet juice of the cantaloupe and the  from the prosciutto make a remarkably good paring, especially if the cantaloupe is nice and cold.

Although it might seem like a modern pairing, the ancient Greeks and Romans used to consume this refreshing and healthy snack more than 2500 years ago to keep themselves cool and energized.

What you need

Melon, preferably cantaloupe

Prosciutto crudo



Olive oil


How to make it

All you need to do for this one is cut up your melon onto slices or cubes and set aside. Get your prosciutto ready on another plate and you can simply wrap the prosciutto around the melon cubes or place it on top. Buon appetito!

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