11 Italian Dishes You Need to Try!

Pasta, pizza, antipasti, meats and desserts, Italy, and cuisine are almost synonymous, right? Most people who plan their vacation trip to Italy will be looking for galleries, museums, and other attractions to visit but they are also likely to want its delicious meals! Italy has a lot to offer in terms of culinary specialties, here’s some of the food that should not be missed during your visit there.

1) Pasta

Do you know anyone who doesn’t like pasta?! Bolognese, pesto, alfredo, or simply brown butter, there’s a variety of pasta, and everyone has got their favorite recipe! In Italy, pasta is consumed as a primo piatto dish; that is, it is taken as a first-course meal. Each region in Italy has its unique specialty of pasta, and each recipe has a type of dough. One of the most popular types of pasta in Italy is carbonara, “spaghetti alla carbonara”, a dish made with fresh eggs, guanciale (a sort of bacon), cheese, and black pepper. A real delight!

2) The Traditional Pizza

A classic in Rome, the white pizza, known as pizza bianca is a thin dough made from yeast coated with olive oil, salt and rosemary. No tomato sauce or toppings on this pizza! Crisp and full of flavor, it is eaten as an aperitif or as a simple snack. For a quick lunch, the al taglio pizza has always been a fine choice. This crispy and thin pizza is baked in large rectangular trays and perfect for those who want to grab a quick bite or those who want to try different types of pizza in one sitting. Customers pay for the pizza per kilogram, more or less, depending on the varying sizes of pizza slices. 

3) La Panzanella

This typical dish from northern Italy comes from the beautiful Tuscany and was traditionally prepared to use leftover bread. It is a mixed salad made from leftover bread and fresh vegetables from the garden. The bread is soaked with the fragrant juice of the tomatoes while retaining its texture. This traditional dish has also been reinvented in new ways. You can add cucumbers, strips of red onions, garlic, herbs, in short, everything you want to make a colorful and tasty salad. Whatever its composition, it’s always a flavorful treat!

4) L’arancini

This specialty comes from Sicily. It’s a breaded and fried rice ball, stuffed with cheese and beef cooked in homemade tomato sauce. In the Sicilian tradition, this dish is made from leftover risotto. However, there is now an infinity of recipes, especially for the stuffing which can be with meat, vegetables, cheese, ham, peas, saffron, etc. An irresistible street food dish that you can easily prepare and enjoy in good company! 

5) Folpetti 

If you enjoy seafood, you’ll love folpetti! This savory snack consists of boiled octopus bites tossed with oil, garlic, salt, and served with fresh parsley and lemon juice. Perhaps not for the picky eaters, but this popular Italian street food is delicious! 

6) Melanzane Parmigiana 

If eggplant is a big part of this dish, its taste is not the one that stands out. The eggplants are cooked in a spicy tomato sauce, and melted cheese is added on top. This irresistibly delicious dish will charm your taste buds! 

7) Zeppole

Originating in Naples, these are deep-fried dough balls that are filled with cream, custard or chocolate and sprinkled powdered. Do we even need to tell you more? You can just imagine the deliciousness!

8) Olive all’ Ascolana

Mediterranean countries love olives, and Italy is no exception. This bite is made of an olive stuffed with a mixture of meat and coated in bread crumbs. It’s simple, easy to prepare, and flavorsome!

9) Risotto

Risotto is one of the great classics of Italian cuisine, the first mentions of which date back to the 15th century. The risotto consists of very creamy rice, vegetables as well as possibly meat or fish. You can also garnish it with cheese. The mixture is simply divine!

10) Tiramisu

In terms of dessert, Italy also offers a wide choice. Do not hesitate to end your meal with a small sweet treat accompanied by a digestif, as the Italians traditionally do. Arranged in layers consisting of coffee and filled with cream, this delight can be enjoyed as a dessert or at any other time of the day. 

11) Gelato 

Talking about Italian cuisine without mentioning the famous gelato is impossible! But what makes it so different from ice cream? Lower in fat but richer in sugar than other styles of ice cream, gelato tends to denser and healthier because it has less air and more flavor than other types of desserts. Hence, it also melts faster, which is why “gelato Italiano” is therefore produced in small quantities and is generally fresher and of better quality! Once you’ve had a nice meal, you’re allowed to enjoy a good Italian-style gelato, and don’t worry; calories don’t count in Italy! 

If you’re not in Italy but still want to taste one of its many authentic dishes, you can also visit the Red Carpet Restaurant in Miami. All of their recipes are prepared using the finest selection of ingredients imported straight from Italy!