A favorite style of many, Italian foods relies on quality ingredients. Most dishes do not have a long list of ingredients, earning this cuisine a reputation of being “elegant yet simple.” Many differences exist between food prepared in the North and South of Italy. Still, those of us who have not had the privilege of visiting the country have to settle for enjoying popular dishes while trusting the chef knows something of the history and traditions that go into their creation. It’s now very easy to taste authentic Italian dishes from anywhere worldwide. Many businesses like Gigi’s Pasta deliver fresh Italian food right to your doorstep.
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When one thinks of Italian food, spaghetti most often comes to mind. This dish is on the menu of most, if not all, Italian restaurants, but did it originate in Italy? Some don’t believe it did; instead, they think Marco Polo may have brought this idea back with him from his travels East. It was originally made from rice flour, so it seems possible.
Thanks to its medium weight and shape, as well as its texture, it handles tomato sauces as well as oil-based sauces nicely. It is usually served with meat and/or vegetables, sauce, and topped with cheese.
Lasagna is a wide flat pasta, sometimes with ruffles on the edges or ridges down the length of the noodle. It is most often baked in layers with meat sauce and cheese. In America, this dish is made with a tomato-heavy sauce, but traditionally it is made with ragù, which has little tomato or tomato sauce, concentrating the meat flavor. Many adaptations of the dish exist, such as vegetarian lasagna or lasagna with zucchini noodles, but I prefer to stick with the classic style.
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This quick, inexpensive food originated in Naples and was eaten throughout the day by street vendors or restaurants. The more sophisticated of the day judged this habit as disgusting, that is, until Queen Margherita visited Naples in 1899 and became a fan herself. She most enjoyed pizza with soft white cheese, red tomatoes, and green basil, earning this dish the title of pizza Margherita.
Even after this, pizza did not become widely popular within Italy until after it gained popularity across the ocean in America. Made by immigrants from Naples who settled in different regions of the country, this dish caught on quickly.
It wasn’t long before immigrants in the different regions began experimenting with melding their new culture with their old, giving rise to Chicago deep-dish pizza and New York-style pizza.
Chicago deep dish is probably closer to a casserole than it is to a pie or a flatbread, but much heartier than Neapolitan or New York pizzas. It is also cooked with the sauce on top of the cheese and the usual toppings underneath, all to avoid burning the cheese during its longer bake time.
New York-style pizza is served in thin slices of a big pie. It requires more ingredients than Neapolitan pizza in the crust and the sauce. Where pizza sauce in Naples is typically made with uncooked crushed tomatoes and salt, New York pizza sauce is made from olive oil, tomatoes, garlic, and other herbs and spices. It doesn’t stop there, either. Once it comes out of the oven, many add toppings like crushed red pepper, grated parmesan cheese, and more herbs.
Italian food has something for everyone and every taste, be it the main course or dessert, but these classics are hard to compete with.
A Quick Overview
Italian cuisine is famous worldwide for its delicious flavors and unique dishes. From pizza to pasta, Italian cuisine has something for everyone. In this article, we will discuss the most famous iconic Italian dishes that have stood the test of time.
- Pizza Margherita: This classic pizza is named after Queen Margherita of Savoy and is made with tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella cheese, and fresh basil leaves. It represents the colors of the Italian flag: red, white, and green.
- Spaghetti Carbonara: This pasta dish originated in Rome and is made with spaghetti, eggs, pancetta, and Pecorino Romano cheese. It is creamy and delicious and is a favorite among pasta lovers.
- Lasagna: This dish has layers of pasta sheets, meat sauce, and cheese. It is baked in the oven until it is hot and bubbly and is comfort food for many.
- Risotto: This rice dish is made with Arborio rice, butter, onion, white wine, and Parmesan cheese. It is creamy, and flavorful, and can be made with various ingredients like mushrooms, seafood, or vegetables.
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