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5 Incredible Italian Foods, Serving It UP Italian Style

How can one country bring us so many amazing foods? Italy. Home of pasta and pizza and gnocchi and gelato. Italy is easily home to some of the most widely eaten, most recognizable, and most famous foods in the world. In fact, there are so many foods from Italy, it would be impossible to include them all in one list.

So instead, we’ve rounded up some of the more iconic Italian foods. Fair warning – you might find yourself hungry while reading this article, because some of these foods are so mouth-watering, it’s hard not to run out and eat them right away. 

So, without further adieu, here are 5 incredible foods from Italy.

#1 – Risotto

What is Risotto

Risotto is a popular Italian food that is made from Carneroli or Arborio rice. These types of rice have a really high starch content. The rice is stirred while it cooks to create a creamy texture.

Stock is added to the rice, slowly, while it cooks. It is added slowly to give the rice a lot of time to absorb the stock. Risotto is commonly topped with grated parmesan cheese and a lot of butter.

What are Common Types of Risotto

The most common type of risotto is risotto alla Milanese, which is infused with saffron.  But other popular kinds include: risotto risi e bisi, (which has peas and pancetta), risotto al nero di sepia, (which uses cuttlefish), and Arancini (which are little risotto balls that have been stuffed with mozzarella and/or ragu and then deep-fried).

Where You Can Get Risotto

Most Italian restaurants will have risotto on their menu because it’s one of Italy’s most popular dishes. But if you want to try risotto at home, you can pick up the ingredients at your local supermarket.

Just make sure you get the right type of rice. You can easily find recipes on the internet. Patience is key when making risotto – it’s a labour of love, so take your time and enjoy the process.

#2 – Gelato

What is Gelato

Gelato is an Italian dessert that is renowned for its dense texture and intense flavors. It is often compared to ice-cream, but gelato is actually quite different than ice-cream. Gelato uses a lot more milk than ice cream does.

Ice cream is most often made with butter cream, and the problem with butter cream is that it coats your palette. This prevents the full extent of the flavors from coming through. Gelato, though, doesn’t use butter cream. So your palette doesn’t get coated. For this reason, gelato has a much more intense flavor than ice cream.

Gelato is also served at a warmer temperature than ice cream. This is because gelato has a lot less fat and a lot less air in it, so it melts a lot more slowly than ice cream does. And, because it is served at a warmer temperature, it doesn’t freeze your tongue the way ice cream does. This also helps all those wonderful flavors come through.

Where You Can Get Gelato

The best place to try gelato is in Italy, of course. But if you can’t make your way there, you can still experience gelato. There are a lot of gelato stores. They’re a lot like creameries, and you can choose your flavor and your cone.

Go without the cone altogether. If you don’t have a gelato store close by, you can also find gelato in most supermarkets in the frozen section. Alternatively, most Italian restaurants offer gelato on their menus, too.

#3 – Lasagna

Most people have tried lasagna at least once in their lives! Lasagna is one of the most popular Italian foods on the planet. In fact, lasagna is so popular, there are literally dozens and dozens of variations of this classic Italian dish.

Vegetarian, chicken alfredo, and even butter chicken lasagna are just some of the variations you can find in your local supermarket. Frozen lasagnas are widely available, but to truly experience lasagna in all its greatness, you’re best to make it fresh.

That, or head over to your local Italian restaurant and they’ll be happy to serve you up a plateful of this delicious, cheesy pasta.

What is Lasagna

Lasagna is made with layers of flat pasta noodles. The noodles are covered in ricotta cheese that are then smothered with tomato sauce and Italian seasonings. The whole thing is topped with a healthy handful of mozzarella cheese and then baked to perfection.

This is, of course, classic lasagna. Lasagna originated sometime during the Middle Ages. Different regions in Italy all have their different regional variations and specialties, and different recipes are constantly being added to the lasagna recipe stack.

#4 – Gnocchi

What is Gnocchi

Simply put, gnocchi is a dumpling. It’s made from eggs, flour, and potatoes. Sounds easy, right? Well, it is. But a lot of great Italian foods focus on simple, quality ingredients, and gnocchi is no exception.

Gnocchi are most commonly boiled and then covered in melted butter. Sage and pesto are also common toppings. Gnocchi are also sometimes fried, and are often served as an appetizer, or a side-dish.

Where Can I Find Gnocchi

Well, you can make them yourself if you’re so inclined. You can easily find recipes on the internet for class gnocchi, and the technique actually isn’t that hard. But if you shy away from all things ‘home-made’, or you’re just pressed for time, then you can find gnocchi at the supermarket.

It comes prepackaged and ready to go. Simply boil or sauté, and then add whatever topping you want. Although you really can’t go wrong with butter and sage.

#5 – Italian Pasta

We would be amiss if we didn’t include Italian pasta when talking about the most amazing foods from Italy. Where would the world be without pasta? From spaghetti to penne to linguini to fettuccini to tortellini, Italy has the BEST pasta in the world. And it looks like the world knows this, because pasta is a staple in a lot of homes worldwide.

However, when it comes to Italian pasta, we’re not talking about canned ravioli here. We’re talking about real, hand made, authentic Italian pasta and if you’re never tried REAL Italian pasta, then stop what you’re doing and find some, pronto.

What is Italian Pasta

Italian pasta is as varied as fruit. There are too many different kinds to list! But we can list some of the more famous, more widely eaten ones. Tortelli, for example, is a stuffed pasta that is available in a lot of different shapes.

Tortelli is popular in Lombardy, Tuscany, and Emilia-Romagna. It can be filled with lots of different things. The most famous type of tortellini is tortellini con Zucca, which has pumpkin, nutmeg, and a butter and sage sauce.

Next up is spaghetti. Spaghetti is an Italian classic. You might be familiar with spaghetti and tomato sauce, but one of the most popular types of spaghetti in Italy, actually, is something called spaghetti alle vongole. This dish uses just pasta and vongole clams (and sometimes tomatoes).

Ravioli is another type of popular Italian stuffed pasta. It is comprised of two thin layers of dough that are used to enclose a plethora of fillings. Common ravioli fillings include: pureed vegetables, ground pork or beef, and of course, Italian cheeses. Ravioli is usually boiled and served as a first course.

Finally, Pasta carbonara is synonymous with ‘indulgence.’  This famous Italian pasta is made with egg yolks, pancetta, and (most often) pecorino Romano cheese. Pasta carbonara usually features spaghetti noodles, but other types of long noodles can also be used, like fettuccini. Pasta carbonara is most popular in Rome, because Rome lays claim to this dish.

Other popular Italian pastas include: tagliatelle al ragu alla Bolognese, which is a rich ragu with beef or pork. Tagliatelle al ragu alla Bolognese, which has a range of tasty ingredients like celery, carrots, peeled tomatoes, red wine, chicken stock, pancetta, and butter. Cacio e pepe is uses just four ingredients: spaghetti noodles, left over pasta water, pepper, and pecorino Romano cheese.

Clearly, there’s a lot more to Italian pasta than just boxed pasta and jarred tomato sauce. So if you’re looking for something different and easy, then look up some classic Italian pasta recipes. (And go ahead and use pre-bought pasta; we’re not judging you. Making homemade pasta is a lot of work. Although, if you have the time, it’s well worth it to make the pasta yourself.)

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In conclusion –

But wait! What about Italian Pizza?

You might have noticed that we left off pizza, even though it’s Italy’s most famous food. This is because pizza needs no introduction; it is the best-selling fast food in the world. Yes, pizza is a portion of fabulous Italian food, but now that you’ve read this article, you can see that Italy has a lot more to offer than just pizza.

So the next time you’re looking for a new dinner idea, or looking for a recipe for a dinner party, then consider trying one of the foods on this list and serving it up Italian style. Your family, your friends, (and your stomach) will thank you.