Last Updated on December 29, 2018 by Maite Aja
Italy is a fantastic attraction for travelers across the world. Its breathtaking scenery, unique cultural heritage, and fascinating spots are a marvel. But above all, Italy is known worldwide for its rich cuisine and offers many traditional and famous dishes that one should explore when traveling there.
The best method to enjoy these amazing dishes and get their true flavors is tasting local Italian food. For example, you can learn how to eat like a local in Rome by visiting native home chefs who love sharing a part of their culture with you and fellow foodie travelers. Just know that the food in Italy is very regional. This means that some outstanding dishes in Florence might not necessarily be that good in Rome. However, here are some famous Italian dishes you can try while exploring any corner of beautiful Italy.
Pasta and Pizza
If you are in Italy during your vacations, never miss the chance of feasting on pizza and pasta, the two best and most famous Italian dishes. Nonetheless, you will get different variations of pasta depending on which Italian region you are in. Local chefs have mastered that dish, so you should always go for regional specialties. For instance, if you are exploring Rome, go for a serving of pasta alla carbonara. This meal is prepared by using ingredients such as cheese, eggs, Pecorino, black pepper, and guanciale. Guanciale is an Italian cured meat made from cheeks of pork.
If we talk about pizza, Margherita is the first type that comes to mind. And the origin of this pizza is in Naples, a coastal city by the Mount Vesuvius. You can order this famous food item from a local pizzeria and you will get a pizza with a crispy and thin crust topped with basil, tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, Parmesan and mozzarella cheese.
Arancini is a dish which refers to crispy and gold brown stuffed rice balls. These rice balls are deep-fried after a coating of breadcrumbs. You can learn deep fryer recipes of Arancini from local chefs in Rome.
For the stuffing of rice balls, tomato sauce, mozzarella, peas, and ragú are used. Just like with pizza and pasta, there are a lot of regional variations of arancini in Italy that are differentiated by their shapes and fillings. Some famous variations are Arancini al Ragú (with tomato sauce), Arancini al Burro (with creamy béchamel sauce), Arancini alle Melanzane (with eggplant) and Arancini ai Funghi (with mushrooms).
Tiramisu is a light and creamy dessert equally loved by locals and tourists in Italy. To prepare this tasty and yummy sweet, coffee, ladyfingers, sugar, eggs, cocoa and mascarpone cheese are needed. If you are in Rome, you can avail the opportunity of attending a tiramisu and fresh pasta cooking class in order to learn how to prepare a home-made tiramisu.
Apart from the traditional version, creative Chefs have come with new variations of this traditional dish by adding an innovative twist. These original creations include chocolate tiramisu, fruit tiramisu, and the intriguing-sounding ch’tiramisu.
TAKEAWAY: Ch’tiramisu is actually the French version of Italian tiramisu. The name comes from a region in Northern France where they speak ch’ti dialect. The main difference between ch’tiramisu and the original version is that in the French one they use spéculoos instead of ladyfingers. Spéculoos are biscuits exclusive to the area of France, Belgium and The Netherlands that have a distinctive flavor of cinnamon and other spices.
Saltimbocca is prepared from thin slices of veal which are topped with herb leaves and salty prosciutto. A toothpick is used to join these ingredients before they are sautéed in a pan until the meat is cooked. Different types of meat such as mutton and chicken can also be used in the preparation of saltimbocca. If it is well-cooked, saltimbocca is a delectable dish that melts away in your mouth if it is well-cooked.
Orrecchiette Alla Pugliese
Orrecchiette literally means “little ears,” and, as you can imagine, the name comes after their shape. It is an amazing and rough-textured pasta that is used in different famous dishes of Puglia, the “heel” of the Italian boot. The most notable variation is Orrecchiette con Le Cime di Rapa (with turnip greens). They are also served in combination with broccoli or with a sauce of carne di cavallo (horse meat).
So there’s no doubt that Italian cuisine is delicious, but now you know that every region has its version of famous Italian dishes. Try the regional specialties for these five popular foods and discover the slight changes and flavor hints each has to offer. Which one are you dying to try?