Top 10 Italian Dishes
The sun-drenched Fresh, flavorful, and pleasantly simple Italian cuisine is dolce vita on a platter. However, in a country with so many different regional cuisines, the best advice is to avoid restaurants that serve "new, imaginative" cuisine and instead stick to traditional, time-honored fare. Eating is one of the most enjoyable aspects of traveling in Italy since it provides a vivid insight into the culture and traditions of each region. But, as a foodie, I couldn't help myself from producing a list of ten of the best Italian dishes.
1. Pizza Napoletana (Naples)
There are many fantastic classic Italian recipes, but none more so than Pizza Napoletana, which encapsulates the essence of Italian food. A flatbread topped with tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, and extra virgin olive oil originated in Naples between the 18th and 19th centuries. Making a wonderful Pizza Napoletana requires significantly more than simply three or four simple ingredients. History, simplicity, and high-quality, fresh ingredients make what many consider the best and most authentic pizza.
2. Lasagna (Bologna)
Lasagna (or lasagne in Italian) is comfort food made by layering pasta sheets, meat, sauce, and cheese in alternating layers. It is one of the oldest pasta recipes in the world. Garfield's favorite food is Lasagne Alla Bolognese, a meat-based Bolognese sauce made with Béchamel sauce and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese that can be served in various ways. Meatballs, sausage, ricotta, and mozzarella cheese are used instead of Béchamel sauce in the Lasagne Napoletana, which is traditionally served during the Carnivale in Naples.
3. Ossobuco alla Milanese (Milan)
Although not as famous as cotoletta, ossobuco Alla Milanese is one of the city's richest and most traditional meat-based dishes (veal cutlet fried in butter). Ossobuco is a substantial, savory Milanese dish made with slow-cooked veal shanks in white wine, meat broth, and vegetables. The traditional recipe does not use tomatoes and is finished with gremolata; a fresh seasoning made with lemon zest, garlic, and parsley originated in one of the city's neighborhood osterie in the late 1800s.
The origins of Italian gelato can be traced back to the Renaissance period, although no one knows who invented the creamy frozen treat. Although the Italians did not develop ice cream, they did improve the process throughout the years. Real gelato is created by artisans daily and contains less fat, less air, and more natural flavors than standard ice cream.
5. Panzanella (Tuscany)
Panzanella is a refreshing, nutrient-dense bread and tomato salad popular in central Italy throughout the summer. It's a staple of Tuscan cuisine, or, to put it another way, Italy's "cucina povera." Its origins can be traced to Tuscany's lush fields, where farmers relied on locally cultivated fruit to keep them going as they worked. The region's love affair with bread salads stretches back to the 14th century. However, the original recipe called for stale bread and onions because it was before the discovery of the New World and the introduction of tomatoes to Europe.
6. Focaccia (Liguria)
Focaccia is one of Italy's most popular and delectable bread, often linked with Ligurian cuisine. Its name comes from the Latin word "panis focacius," which means "hearth-baked flatbread." The famous focaccia Alla Genovese (locally known as fougasse) found in Genoa and the villages along the Italian Riviera is believed to be the greatest.
7. Spaghetti alla Carbonara (Rome)
Carbonara isn't the most ancient or well-known pasta dish in Rome (that honor goes to cacio e Pepe), but it's pure magic on the tongue. The origins of this ancient Roman delicacy are unknown. Some suggest it was a popular lunch among Italian charcoal workers because its name originates from Carbonaro (charcoal burner). In contrast, others speculate that it has something to do with the Carbonari (charcoal men), a secret Italian society, but none of these theories can be proven.
8. Cicchetti (Venice)
Cicchetti, similar to Spanish tapas, are small, inexpensive dishes of food served at Venice's traditional wine bars, known as Bacardi. These can range from artichoke hearts to bite-sized pieces of baccalà mantecato (creamed fish) and are usually served with Ombra (a small glass of wine). In a city like Venice, where touristic restaurants abound, Cicchetti bars breathe fresh air, allowing you to socialize with the locals while sampling true regional cuisine.
9. Caponata (Sicily)
Sicilian cuisine is a delicious mix of Greek, Arab, and Spanish flavors, but caponata, the island's famous eggplant dish, should be your only meal here. This warm vegetable salad's star is the aubergine, but the delightfully sweet and sour sauce makes it such a memorable vegetarian delight. Onions, celery, capers, and other veggies are commonly used. Apart from that, no standard caponata recipe exists because each house and restaurant has its unique rendition.
10. Burrata (Puglia)
If you like mozzarella, you'll fall in love with burrata. This delicious, buttery artisanal cheese from Murgia (Puglia) is prepared from mozzarella and fresh cream and is best served within 24 hours of purchase. It goes well with everything from salads to spaghetti and sandwiches, but it shines when spread on crusty bread.