George Bernard Shaw used to say that “there is no sincerer love than the love of food” and he was quite right about it. Food is almost everyone’s guilty pleasure and a conversation topic that appeals to everyone. When talking about food the Italian cuisine immediately comes up on everyone’s mind since the Italians are known for ‘doing it best’. However, even though the Italian dishes are some of the most popular ones, not many know which ones are truly the best ones and where are the best places to eat them. Ready to find them out?
- Orecchiette con cime di rapa (Orecchiette with turnips)
This pasta plate is definitely the most representative of the Apulia cuisine. If you are planning a trip down South to Bari or Lecce this is a must eat dish! Literally meaning ‘little ears’, this round, concave shape pasta will win your heart and palate. The Italians use to cook it with many different sauces (like chopped tomato and cacioricotta cheese or pesto or pancetta peas and cream) but this combination with local turnips is definitely a winning one. Try it once and you will be soon asking for more!
- Fiori di zucca fritti (Fried zucchini flowers)
Italians just love them in every season of the year at every time of the day. This recipe is originally from Rome but it is quite easy to find in almost every Italian restaurant (probably a bit easier if you are in the South). Zucchini flowers can be used in many different ways but deep-frying them is definitely the most delicious way. They are usually fried plain but can be stuffed with mozzarella and anchovies too to make them even tastier.
- Risotto allo zafferano (risotto with saffron)
We are now heading North and if you are in Milan or anywhere else in the Lombardia region you can’t miss out on this traditional plate. Indeed, this recipe is more than 400 years old and traces back to an artist that was said working at the colour of the window glass of the Duomo of Milano. According to the story, the artist poured by accident some saffron powder into the nearby pan of rice while working at the window and well, the rest is history. The recipe has been elaborated many times but it definitely remains every Milanese favourite dish.
If you are travelling around Sicily you will see this green cake almost in every café, bar, bakery or restaurant you step in. This cake is made of ricotta cheese, sugar, candied fruit and green marzipan, which is used to make the nice green coating that makes this cake so recognisable. Unless you are allergic to milk products it is almost impossible not to fall for this cake, which is one of the pride of the Sicilian cuisine!
- Minestra di Pane (Bread soup)
This plate can only be found in Tuscany so if you are planning a trip to Florence, Pisa or Montepulciano you might as well try this traditional soup, perfect for the cold weather. Made from the sliced Tuscan bread, that has to be crusty and without salt, this soup is prepared with many different vegetable, like carrots, celery, tomatoes, onions, cabbage, potatoes, zucchini and other seasonal vegetables. Perfect if you are vegetarian or you simply want to warm up in the most delicious way during a cold winter night.
- Gnocchi alla sorrentina
Campania and Naples are not only about pizza. Indeed,there are many more dishes that deserve to be mentioned as some of the best Italian recipes. One of these is this pasta plate, made of potato gnocchi, tomato sauce, bits of mozzarella, fresh basil and topped with pecorino cheese, all baked in a hot oven that makes the cheese melt and become an absolute pleasure for the palate. Simple and tasty.
If you are still in Campania, after a nice plate of gnocchi you should definitely go for a piece of this traditional cake (if your stomach can still make it!). The pastiera is an Easter cake from Naples but can be easily found in every other period of the year. It is a wheat cake, filled with ricotta cheese and candied peel that will make you fall in love with Naples, as if the city itself wasn’t enough!
- Favata Sarda
This is one of the most loved winter dishes in Sardinia and if you are a fan of pork meat you will definitely love it. This stew is indeed made with fresh pork belly, ham hocks and is flavoured with wild fennel, cabbage, garlic and pepper. Although it has a delicate taste that not everyone might like, it is definitely a dish worth trying if you are travelling around the region. And even if it is usually eaten during winter, it is quite easy to find it throughout the whole year.
- Agnelotti piemontesi
This pasta dish is a typical plate from Piedmont and consists of this handmade pasta stuffed with veal, pork and cabbage. The nutmeg, parmesan and pepper that are put on top give this plate the final touch that will make you ask for more!
- Focaccia di cipolle e tonno (Focaccia with onions and tuna)
To taste the best focaccia with onions and tuna you have to go to Tropea or anywhere else in Calabria. Indeed, the onions that are used to stuff this focaccia are from the Tropea area and what makes them so special, apart from the red colour, is that they are sweet and have a really delicate taste, not bitter or strong at all. This focaccia is usually served with tuna that makes the best combination ever with these Tropea onions. Impossible not to like it!
Featured Image Credits: ©fugzu on Flickr