I'm staying in Italy for 9 months and I want to make the most out of it food-wise. Very simply, what recipes/dishes/ingredients/wines and other alcohol do you suggest I HAVE TO try while I'm here? If you can tell me the Italian word, that would be really helpful (I'm very slowly learning Italian).
I'm asking because I thought I knew something about Italian cooking...until I faced all those cheeses and wines in the market. A couple of things to keep in mind before you suggest:
1. I'm vegetarian (no meat, fish or poultry; yes to eggs and dairy) and I hate onions.
2. I love desserts.
3. I'm on a pretty limited budget so mostly I cook at home. And I have no oven (except for a microwave).
4. I'm staying put in one town in north Italy for the most part (though I will try to travel) so please don't suggest expensive restaurants in Calabria.
So far I've tried one tiramisu in a restaurant, a couple of tortas (a ricotta one that I loved), one cheap white wine that I really like...among other things. I've bought a basilico plant and have to buy one of prezzomolo soon. I've been trying different types of salads, pasta and sauces (I'm in deep undying love with pesto). Just to give you some idea...
If you've been patient enough to read this far, thanks in advance for your suggestions!