Italy's celebrated dishes are sources of great local pride in the places that developed them -- from big Bolognese ragu to simple Sicilian sardines. Let's take a quick look at Italian cuisine -- and explore some top-rated authentic Italian recipes. Buon Gusto!
Importance of Place
Some dishes are so closely connected to place that they've assumed the name of their town of origin. In Italy, ordering la Fiorentina gets you a grilled T-bone; una Milanese, a breaded veal chop.
"This flagship Tuscan steak is made from the region's Chianina breed of cattle which are prized for their tenderness and flavor," says eat!. "In typical Italian style, simplicity rules the day; little more than olive oil, rosemary, and salt are needed to highlight the rich flavor of the grilled meat. With Italian food, freshness and quality are top priority, so I use nothing less than choice porterhouse, and much prefer prime!"
"Ossobuco is one of the signature dishes of Milanese cuisine," says clara. "Veal shanks are cut crosswise to reveal the marrow, a cut often just referred to as 'ossobucco'. The dish is finished with a gremolata, which is a mix of chopped parsley and lemon zest. In Milan, ossobucco is typically served with a saffron risotto."
"I have no idea why this amazingly flavorful Genovese-style meat sauce isn't way more popular than it is," says Chef John. "It's quite simply one of the best pasta sauces you'll ever taste, thanks to a very slow cooking process, and massive amounts of onions. Once everything is prepped, the recipe couldn’t be easier. Simmer until the meat and onions melt into each other, and serve."
Check out some of our very favorite Italian recipes, including authentic Old-World recipes and those inspired by Italian-American cooking.
Traditional Italian regional cuisines were perfected in home kitchens. Shared among family and friends over generations, it's no wonder we serve Italian food when the brood's all together.
Chicken cacciatore is classic Italian-style comfort food. "This simple Italian dish is packed with chicken, peppers, mushrooms and herbs for a satisfying one pot meal," says Chef John.
"Spaghetti alla carbonara's creamy sauce is simply a thin egg and cheese custard, spiked with pork and black pepper," says Chef John. "Try to find pancetta or guanciale (pork cheek cured like pancetta) for a really authentic taste!"
"Creamy risotto made with fresh cranberry beans comes from the Lombardy region of Italy," says Buckwheat Queen. "With traditional flavors from the region, this risotto is bursting with flavor and healthy goodness. Cranberry beans are also called borlotti beans."
Check out Chef John's 19 Best Italian Recipes.
Italian cuisine offers a whole world of ingredients -- fresh seafood, seasonal veggies, cured meats, beautiful cheeses, savory herbs -- prepared in ways from simple to elaborate.
"Because this salad is so simple, fresh, top-quality tomatoes and mozzarella are important," says Marina.
This fish stew was inspired by the flavors of Florence. "I spent a few days in Florence about 30 years ago," says Chef John, "and I recall my surprise at how delicious the Tuscan fish stew was. What I found so interesting was how herbs like oregano, sage, and rosemary, which I'd only associated with meat, were also used with seafood. Also, FYI just in case any old-school Tuscans are coming over: I hear that for this to qualify as an official Italian fish stew you need use at least 5 different types of seafood, which is both insane and adorable. Serve with crusty bread."
"This is a gorgeous chicken dish with sun-dried tomatoes, spinach, and mushrooms," says SHANOU. "It tastes fantastic!"