Top 10 Italian Dishes

Dining al fresco in with a view of Lake Como in Bellagio, Italy

Dining al fresco with a view of Lake Como in Bellagio, Italy

No doubt you already have your own top ten Italian dishes. Italian cuisine is really a collection of regional cuisines, each having their own distinct character and principle ingredients. When traveling in Italy, you may notice that the geography often influences the local specialty. Mountainous regions like Piedmont are known for their prized cheeses. On the plains of Emilia-Romano you’ll find such well known Bolognese dishes as tortellini and lasagna. On the coast, seafood like shrimp, anchovies and squid are more common and are often accompanied by risotto or spicy tomato sauces like Fra Diavolo.

Caprese Salad

Photo courtesy CC Rainer Zenz

Caprese Salad

Displaying the red, white and green of the Italian flag this simple salad is made of sliced tomatoes, bocconcini (unripened Mozzarella cheese), fresh basil and olive oil.

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Photo courtesy CC Rhosoi

Photo courtesy CC Rhosoi

Antipasto

Traditionally this is an appetizer platter to be shared and served “before the pasta” course. Normally included are variety of cured meats like prosciutto ham and salami, pickles like jiardiniera and olives and such cheeses as bocconcini and provolone. Grilled vegetables may also be included.

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Mushroom & Spinach Risotto

Photo Courtesy KAV Productions Inc.

Risotto

This creamy rice dish of northern Italy is normally served is a primo or first plate. White rice is normally quick fried in butter or olive oil then simmered in wine and broth.

Mushroom & Spinach Risotto Recipe

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Photo courtesy CC Mario56

Photo courtesy CC Mario56

Calzone

Often called the inside-out pizza, calzone is made of a pizza type dough then stuffed with a variety of ingredients which often include tomato sauce, mozzarella and ham or salami.

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Photo courtesy CC Stevemconst61

Photo courtesy CC Stevemconst61

Pizza Margherita

The origins of the modern pizza date back to this version, thought to be named in honour of Queen Margherita’s visit to Naples in 1889. The hugely popular, Antica Pizzeria da Michele in Naples, cook the traditional thin crust pizza topped with mozzarella, tomatoes and basil in wood burning ovens.

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Photo courtesy CC lydiajoy1

Photo courtesy CC lydiajoy1

Lasagna Bolognese

Bolognese sauce is layered with lasagna pasta and cheese, then baked.

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Photo courtesy CC Ed Hawco

Photo courtesy CC Ed Hawco

Pasta Carbonera

This Roman pasta dish is prepared with eggs, cheese and bacon.

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Photo courtesy CC Sphilbrick

Photo courtesy CC Sphilbrick

Steak Florentine

This Tuscan specialty calls for the highest quality T-bone steak cut between 1 ½ to 2 inches thick. The steak is grilled to rare doneness and one steak easily provides two servings. Some restaurants will bring a small grill to your table which allows diners to heat up individual slices as they enjoy their dinner with their partner and perhaps a few glasses of Chianti.

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Photo courtesy CC Markus Mitterauer

Photo courtesy CC Markus Mitterauer

Tiramisu

Who could refuse a slice of Tiramisu cake after a wonderful Italian meal. Layers of lady fingers dipped in coffee, mascarpone cheese and cocoa make this dessert an all-time favourite.

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Photo courtesy KAV Productions Inc.

Photo courtesy KAV Productions Inc.

Gelato

Perhaps the best reward after hours of sight-seeing in the Italian sun is this frozen treat. There is a gelato flavour for everyone.

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