Italy probably makes you think of the “Dolce Vita”, the Trevi Fountain in Rome, and the spectacular rise and fall of the Roman Empire.
There’s another thing Italy’s really famous for… the flavours of the food grown and made there. Italian food is often thought to be the best in the world and we’re inclined to agree!
In terms of simplicity and freshness, Italian food is pretty unbeatable. Mediterranean ingredients are both delicious and healthy.
Whether you’re just learning to cook or you’re quite experienced in the kitchen, there are plenty of Italian dishes that anyone can enjoy!
While we’re not going to give you the recipe for each thing, there are plenty of Italian cuisine and cooking websites you can check out for step-by-step guides.
By the end of this article, you should have some ideas for cucina della mamma or homemade Italian cooking. There’s no tinned spaghetti and meatballs and instant minestrone soup here!
The average person in the UK consumes 75 grams of pizza per week. This is just under a quarter of a typical pizza per person. It just goes to show how popular they are.
Much to the chagrin of Italian pizza chefs, though, most pizza aren’t cooked or prepared how they should be.
Every good pizza starts with the dough. (Source: Petrovhey)
To make a pizza worthy of their praise, you’re going to have to focus on the dough. In order to get a thin base, you’ll need the following ingredients:
The dough is then spread out without using rolling pin and baked in a very hot oven. Now that we’ve got the base, let’s have a look at the toppings.
Here’s our non-exhaustive list of the best traditional Italian pizza recipes for you to keep in mind for your next cooking tutorial.
The magherita pizza is arguably one of the most popular pizzas of all time. It’s an Italian speciality, too.
It was made to seduce Margherita of Savoy but has since become a staple of most pizza parties.
Despite the name, marinara pizza isn’t a seafood pizza. It was regularly eaten by Italian sailors in Naples, where it was created.
It’s important to choose the right ingredients. (Source: Diapicard)
You don’t need a love of the sea to enjoy it, though.
Anyone who’s visited Naples will know that pizza reigns supreme there. The following ingredients will be necessary:
The calzone, which probably gets its name from a stocking due to its shape, can come with a number of different fillings.
The authentic Neapolitan calzone is made from these main ingredients:
There are 14 billion plates of pasta consumed around the world every year! Let’s be honest… who doesn’t have a couple packets of pasta in their cupboards at all times?
Fusili, penne, spaghetti, ravioli, etc.: there are as many types of pasta as there are Italian towns!
Whether you’re doing carbonara or bolognese, you need to cook the pasta correctly. (Source: JESHOOTS)
Pasta is regularly cooked al dente, which means “to the tooth”.
When cooked in this way, pasta is better for your health and it tastes better! You should generally take the pasta out a minute before the time on the packet.
Don’t hesitate to put the pasta in a lot of water to. Pasta that’s free to move around tends to taste better.
This is one of the most popular dishes in the world. We have to warn you, though, as any Italian chef will tell you, even though it’s creamy, there’s not actually any cream in a traditional Italian carbonara.
The Italian recipe calls for:
That’s it! It’s so simple… There are no words to describe how tasty it is.
A delicious bolognese sauce is made from:
Authentic Genovese pesto, which goes great with pasta, is made of:
Lasagna is layers of pasta sheets with filling between them topped with cheese which is then cooked in the oven. Traditional lasagna has bolognaise sauce but there are varieties with spinach and ricotta, salmon, etc.
While we can’t go into details on all the different pasta dishes, special mentions need to go out to spaghetti alla puttanesca, meatballs with a marinara sauce, fettuccine alfredo, and stuffed pasta like tortellini.
The first thing you need to consider when making an Italian risotto is the rice! Arborio or carnaroli rice, which are both grown in the north of Italy, are both good choices.
Whatever the flavour of your risotto, you have the get the basics right if you want it to be good.
Risotto goes well with dry white wine. (Source: PhotoMIX-Company)
For a traditional risotto, you’ll need:
You’ll also need a lot of patience. Don’t take your eyes off your risotto and stir it constantly.
Squid ink risotto originated in Venice and that’s where you’ll find the best in the world. In addition to the basic risotto ingredients, you’ll also need 500g of seafood, a pot of squid ink, and shallots.
Here you can just add porcini mushrooms to the traditional risotto recipe. Regular mushrooms can work, too.
Arancini, which are fried rice balls from Sicily, are often eaten as a starter (or antipasti). You’ll need the following ingredients:
While this is the original recipe, there are other variations which can be stuffed with tomato and mozzarella, for example.
Italy isn’t just pizza and pasta, after all! There are many more traditional Italian recipes that you should be aware of if you want to start cooking delicious Italian dishes.
This popular Italian dish, which is often served with rice or potatoes, is made up of:
Thin, crunchy, and golden (at the same time!), the secret to veal Milanese is in the breadcrumbs.
When making veal Milanese, you have to choose the right bread. (Source: Couleur)
You’ll need the following ingredients:
Here’s another Italian starter which might surprise you with its simplicity. Layers of aubergines breaded with flour and eggs with a layers of mozzarella, parmesan, and tomato sauce between each one. Then you can pop it in the oven!
Carpaccio, which works great as a starter, is slices of finely cut raw beef atop parmesan, olive oil, basil, and sometimes a bit of rocket. You can also get salmon, aubergine, or tomato/mozzarella carpaccio (a good vegetarian option).
Before you get your limoncello or coffee, don’t forget to get a delicious Italian dessert! Italian desserts have made their way into almost every restaurant due to how good they are.
This amazing coffee dessert is one of the most popular in the world. However, you really need to try an authentic Italian one.
When you make tiramisu, you have to let the coffee cool down. (Source: Alexas_Fotos)
Here’s what you’ll need to make tiramisu:
You should use mocha coffee and let it cool.
Panna cotta is another famous Italian dessert. It originated in the Piedmont region. To make an authentic Italian panna cotta, you only need 4 ingredients:
Panna cotta goes great with a raspberry coulis. (Source: GregReese)
It’s particularly nice with a raspberry coulis, chocolate, or caramel.
In Italy, panettone is popular for celebrating the end of the year. It’s also popular in a few other European countries.
This sweet bread with raisins and fruit can be quite complicated to make, but with a bit of practice, you’ll get there. You’ll need:
The traditional recipe calls for raisins, candied oranges and cirtron, two vanilla pods, and rum. However, you can also have chocolate chips.
Cassata is a delicious Sicilian cake made from:
Water and liqueur is also used to keep it moist.
Now you should have a few ideas for Italian dishes to make, just make sure your cupboards and fridge are kept well stocked with Italian sausage, prosciutto, pancetta, porcini mushroom, potato (for gnocchi), plenty of vegetables, balsamic vinegar, and olive oil, of course.
Patience, passion, and practice are the three most important ingredients, though. Nevertheless, a tutor in Italian style cooking could help you progress more quickly!