5 Authentic Must-try Italian Dishes

How many times have you heard people all over the world say that their favorite food is Italian? Probably countless times. It is precisely the Italian cuisine that has made the Belpaese so well-known and which surely continues today to make it famous all around the world; its fresh and authentic flavors, smells, balance and variety have made Italian cuisine one of the most recognizable elements of the Belpaese. Parmesan, pasta, mozzarella, and of course pizza have become the most consumed Italian products worldwide. The Mediterranean diet, an integral part of the cultural, historical, social, territorial, environmental and Italian heritage, received the award of “Intangible Heritage of Humanity” by UNESCO in 2010. Pasta is the dish of Italian excellence in the world, which in Italy can be combined with millions of different recipes. It is in fact pasta that leads the way on this ranking of authentic Italian dishes. Here, Italian Traditions introduces you to 5 of the most traditional Italian dishes that your taste buds absolutely cannot miss out on!

Pasta alla Norma

Let’s deal with the inevitable question here…Who’s Norma? Turns out the name of this classic Sicilian dish comes from a music critic who, in the Nineteenth century, commented that “this food is a Norma!” – meaning it was a masterpiece just like the artwork named Norma, composed by Vincenzo Bellini. The recipe holds its origins in the city of Catania. It is based on just a few ingredients including tomato sauce, fried eggplant, salted ricotta and basil. It is very popular throughout all of Italy, and made just about everywhere. The dish owes its success to the simplicity of a combination of flavors that have the ability of condensing the taste of Italian summer. There are some disagreements, issues and disputes concerning the type of pasta to be used, on which, generally oscillates between spaghetti and macaroni, but some also contemplate using busiati (a typical Sicilian pasta), or homemade macaroni made with sock thread. (For more info, click here)

Risotto alla milanese


Risotto alla milanese (‘risotto Milanese style’) is the traditional symbol of the Lombard cuisine, the region of the city of Milan. Not to be confused with a simple saffron risotto! Legend already places the dish on the Milanese scene in the late 1500s, although the cookbook recipe appears to be more widespread in the year 1800. Cooked in broth, with the addition of saffron that gives the taste and the typical color yellow, this dish is a real staple of Italian cuisine in the world. It was only in the year 1700 that the preparation known until then as boiled in water changes, being cooked, in fact, in broth. The main ingredients are naturally saffron, cattle marrow and beef broth. Regarding the type of rice, the vialone nano is recommended! (For more info, click here)

Ravioli ricotta e spinaci

Nothing better than the goodness of fresh pasta! Fresh pasta is just one of those things that you can’t help but love, a delicacy equally appreciated by both young and old. Ravioli stuffed with ricotta and spinach, is undoubtedly one of the most classic preparations of stuffed pasta, with its filling that gives off a fresh and delicate taste. It is a feast dish, most typically prepared on Sunday. Pure joy for the palate, the loving encounter of these two ingredients is a romance that has lasted for years, perhaps one of the most successful unions in the history of Italian cuisine. As always, the key to a great result is to use great ingredients. The cheese, especially, should be of very high quality. (For more info, click here)

Pasta alla puttanesca

It is one of the best, most traditional dishes in the region of Campania. A plate characterized by very colorful origins. It has given rise to many interpretations of its origins. Some say that the name of this recipe dates to the beginning of the century and derives, specifically from the owner of a brothel in the Spanish Quarter, who usually welcomed guests with this dish. Others argue that its origin is attributed to the legend of a prostitute, Yvette the Frenchwoman, who was inspired by its Provencal roots in making the plate. What is certain is that this dish appeared for the first time in Naples, around the early twentieth century. Due to its simplicity and its strong taste, it has become an instant classic. The ingredients include tomato, olive oil, garlic, black olives from Gaeta, capers and oregano. There’s a Roman variant to which salted anchovies are added. (For more info, click here)

Trenette al pesto

Our culinary journey ends with a traditional Ligurian recipe, simple, timeless, natural, and therefore very suitable for those who are into healthy eating. Pesto is a typical sauce from Genova, paired mainly with trofie (a type of short pasta), but also to trofiette or trenette(similar variants of trofie). Basil is without a doubt the protagonist of this tasty dish, followed by extra virgin olive oil, Parmesan, and pecorino cheese, pine nuts and garlic. Trenette is a type of homemade linguine made with eggs, flour, water and salt. The is cut rather thick, but you can also find it ready-made. The traditional recipe also includes boiled green beans and boiled potatoes diced into small pieces, that accompanying the dish, giving it a greater, more complete taste. (For more info, click here)

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