Thanks to their subtle yet filling flavour, courgettes are exceedingly popular as a replacement for standard carbohydrates.
Endlessly versatile, courgettes can turn any store cupboard ingredient into a respectable meal. Thanks to their subtle yet filling flavour, courgettes are currently a buzzword in the food world with health fanatics using them to make courgetti (courgette spaghetti) or zoats (zucchini oats), replacing standard carbohydrates. To eat them the Italian way, add them to pasta alla norma, turn them into a gratin or blend with Parmigiano into a fresh tasting but hearty soup.
Grown primarily in Sicily, the round variety has a far meatier flavour, with considerably less seeds. (£2.9/kg)
The round aubergine is quite similar to its more traditional long, black counterpart, with the difference between them being that the round variety has a far meatier flavour, with considerably less seeds. Grown primarily in Sicily, its shape makes for easier peeling and grilling, as well as adding a little intrigue on plates. Cook it into a traditional Sicilian caponata or combine it with stronger flavours such as goat\'s cheese, fig, bacon or anchovies. For an interesting Italian-style dish, slice it, then top with pesto, a slice of beef tomato and mozzarella and a drizzle of olive oil, then put in the oven for 15 minutes. Voilà!
You can almost taste the Sicilian sun and pure quality in these sun-ripened tomatoes. (£3.15/kg)
These pure, sun-ripened tomatoes are as natural as they come. Versatile, delicious, and colourful, their robust flavour is the perfect accompaniment to an array of Italian meals. Eat them on their own, roasted on their stem and served with a white fish, or add them to pasta.
Tomatoes are an all-rounder, which is why you should invest in the very best. (£4.75/kg)
With a rich, full-bodied, mildly acidic flavour, cherry tomatoes have long been a staple in Italian cuisine. Cook them into a passata and then use as a base for a range of dishes such as pasta alla norma, eat them in a caprese salad or roast them in the oven to have for breakfast with scrambled eggs.
Highly associated with Italian cuisine, add it raw or cooked to recipes for an intriguing twist.
Crunchy and slightly sweet, fennel adds a refreshing twist to the ever popular Mediterranean cuisine, in particular of course: Italian. Like a sophisticated marmite - you probably either love it or hate it. Its slight aniseed flavour that goes gorgeously with fish, or use it to spice up your usual side dishes by adding it to a potato gratin.
A ribbed silver-grey skin with an orange and quite sweet inside: this variety is good boiled, pureed, or used to make desserts.
The bright orange color of the vegetable is a dead giveaway, as pumpkins are loaded with an important antioxidant, beta-carotene. Pumpkin should be refrigerated in a covered container or wrapped in foil or plastic wrap. In the fridge, the pumpkin will typically last 2-4 days. To freeze, cut it up and deseed, cook until soft, remove pulp and mash, cool and place into airtight plastic bags. In the freezer, it can last up to 12 months.