Part of the secret of life is to eat what you like - Mark Twain
When it comes to traditional Italian food, the main components are local Italian ingredients, cooking practices and culinary techniques. Italian food in Italy may in fact, taste very different to how it tastes across the world. But there is no denying that Italian food has influenced and attracted love from every corner of the world. You would hardly find anyone who doesn't enjoy a cheese pizza or pasta!
Traditional Italian food is characterized by its simplicity. Italian cuisine relies a great deal on fresh and seasonal ingredients that make for a world class ragu alla bolgnese or Margherita pizza. Along with this, another key distinguishing factor is the authenticity of Italian food. Italians have mastered the art of preserving original recipes across many generations. Added to this is the regional diversity of Italian dishes. It is this diversity that adds the richness to Italian cuisine.
Traditional Italian Food You Must Try
Some of the key elements of traditional Italian food include pasta, tomatoes, cheese, meat and olive oil. Italian cuisine originated on the lines of Mediterranean cuisine. Cheese itself is of so many different types-
- pecorino romano
A traditional Italian meal typically consists of up to 10 courses of which aperitive, antipasto, primo and dolce are the most important ones.
Ragu Alla Bolognese
It is the national dish of Italy. It is essentially the famous Bolognese sauce that is so extensively used across the whole of Italian cuisine. The best part about this sauce that can be used with most traditional Italian dishes and also, it forms the core element of many celebrated Italian pasta variants like spaghetti, fettuccine, pappardelle, and tagliatelle. It can even be served as a bread topping. This authentic Bolognese sauce is made with the following ingredients-
- minced beef
Although the sauce has originated in the city of Bologna, you can find it most Italian food in Italy. A food tour in Bologna is the stuff of dreams for many people, especially who love to eat and respect food.
Top Picks in Italian Food Rome
Packed with flavors, extremely appetizing, delicious and simple- that's Roman cuisine for you. Italian food Rome has kept up with age-old traditions of swearing by the poor man's food philosophy. Most Roman dishes use very few ingredients in a creative manner. It is a cuisine rich in character and pays homage to the Lazio region's local delicacies.
Suppli at I Suppli
I Suppli is a takeaway food joint in the Tratervere locality of Rome. Their fritti or deep-fried goodies are the best Italian appetizers. They are light and comforting and are the perfect sides for a personal pan pizza. The suppli is a classic fritti which is a fried ball of rice, ragu, and mozzarella.
Fiori di Zucca at Emma
Baccalà at Dar Filettaro
The Baccala is salted cod fish fried in egg batter and served hot. The cod fish is a popular ingredient in Mediterranean cuisine and the Roman-Jewish use it as a staple. Dar Filettaro serves the town's best baccala near Camp de Fiori and has been satiating the cravings of many patrons since the 1950's.
The Most Iconic Italian Food Milan
Rich is the word to describe traditional Milanese cuisine. Milan is a landlocked region and that is why no staple recipe in Milan uses the fish. Instead they use any form of meat with lots of butter and cooked in the finest olive oil. Meat and butter, put together, form a deadly combination giving rise to a creamy, rich and delicious cuisine. Italian food Milan is a hot favorite cuisine in Italy.
Milan is also one of the most affluent Italian cities. It has happily shied away from the complexities of politics and the Roman Church, And this is primarily to help the city's business-oriented bourgeoisie class to grow and thrive. And the outcomes are reflected in Milanese cuisine which is often about luxury and an appeal to the elite. Saffron, a very expensive ingredient, sometimes even more expensive than gold, is one of the core ingredients of the Milanese risotto that sets it high above its contenders. Cotoletta, on the other hand uses veal meat and it is probably the most expensive dish you'll find on an Italian food Milan menu.
Ratana- Risotto Alla Milanese
This signature dish has a distinct, saffron-infused golden hue that makes it look yellow. But be careful where you eat in Milan, Because you maybe served the worst and the best risotto alla Milanese. Ratana chef Cesare Battisti has made a name for himself at making the finest and the most outstanding variant of this dish that sticks to tradition and lots of butter giving it a creamy, almost smooth texture and unimaginably delicious.
Cassouela at Manna
This dish is basically a thick stew of pork and Savoy cabbage. Although you will not find a lot meat in the stew itself. Manna chef, Matteo Fronduti has come up with his own modern take on the dish. He uses different portions of meat and roasts them separately. This process amplifies the taste of the final dish, that is served with a splash of vinegar to cut down on the heaviness of the meat and to add some acidity and balance to the dish.
Italian Food Sicily
Nothing beats the smell of Sunday - Anonymous
And in Sicily, Sundays are all about eating together and cooking together. Italian food Sicily is strongly influenced by the cuisine of its immediate neighbors- the Greeks. The Greeks have been instrumental in developing the Sicilian cuisine including the invention of the flatbread that later turned into the now-famous Focaccia loaves of bread. Sfincioni are thick focacce topped with tomato and cheese. The Italians also learnt the trick of using snow from mountain tops to lace the top layers of iced desserts. And to have it with fruits and honey.
Even the Arabs have had a great influence on traditional Italian food in Sicily in the Middle ages. It was them who introduced Italy to the concept of adding sugar to make extravagant desserts. The modern-day crispeddi that you eat today is nothing but a fried dough, sprinkled with cinnamon sugar. You may also try a savor version of this that is served with wild fennel and anchovies to amp up the pastry flavor. But the most surprising trivia is this- the Arabs laid the foundation for Italy's pasta-making legacy!
Among other things, the Sicilians learn to catch deep-water fish such as tuna to be used in delicacies like the cuscusa from the Arabs.
Pasta in Sicily
Needless to say that pasta is also a very common and popular dish in Italian food Sicily. Semolina wheat is what is used to make the different forms of pasta.
- Zite al Pomodor e Tonno is a high-in-demand pasta that is made from short pasta tubes and served with a tuna and tomato sauce.
- Gnocculli Semolino Gnocchi, a form of dumpling, is also made from semolina wheat and served with a creamy ricotta and meat sauce.
- Pasta Con La Norma Spaghetti is another luscious pasta that is served with a tomato and eggplant sauce.
- Pasta Con Le Sarde is probably the most famous pasta among all Sicilian recipes and its key ingredient is a sauce of fresh sardines, and anchovies.
Sicilians eat a lot of starch as well. The Arancini di riso or fried balls of rice, chopped meat, cheese, peas and tomatoes, is a very popular dish in Sicilian cuisine.
Sicily is blessed with rich volcanic soils that is very conducive to agriculture. Fruits and vegetables thrive in the moderate climatic conditions making eggplants, olives, capers, onions, tomatoes and peppers the go-to ingredients in Sicilian cuisine. There is abundant supply of meat, artichokes, sardines and other fish. Mozzarella cheese is of course another very popular ingredients here.