Favorite Italian Foods – Part 1

Italy is one ofthe world’s superpowers when it comes to gastronomy. But it is not all just pizza and pasta, Italian cuisine has far more to it than that.

The food in Italy is very regionally based, and what you can found in the mountainous north will be completely different in the green pastures of Rome and Tuscany and completely different to the southern area of coast. It is a delight to tour Italy and sample all the different foods that can be obtained from region to region.

Most of Italian food is simple and not complicated, Italian chefs love to focus on one or two key seasonal ingredients and showcase them to bring out the ultimate in flavor. In this blog we feature some iconic Italian foods that are known over the world.

Pizza

Pizza Margherita

This Neopolitan, almost peasant food, has grown to be one of the favorite fast foodson the planet. It is amazing that a slab of dough and a simple topping can capture the imagination of so many different cultures and peoples. Today pizza comes in a few formats, such as Roman even Chicago-style.

Neopolitan pizza has a thick crust and is not as large as Roman pizza as the dough has not been rolled out as much. Roman pizza tends to have a thin crispy base, and not at all soggy so the toppings are light and few. In Italy it is common to have only a few toppings and certainly not pineapple! But don’t be concerned as there are no Pizza Police outside Italy and you can request whatever topping your heart desires.

Bottarga

Bottarga is Sicily’s version of caviar and it is the smoked eggs of a gray mullet. During the months of August and September the fishermen from the south of Italy take the eggs from a gray mullet, press them, salt them and leave them in the open air to dry for around half a year.

The resulting delicacy is a solid lump of eggs that are blood orange in color and have asmoky, briny, but savory taste. Once a peasant fisherman’s dish for the winter, it has now become a highly sought-after delicacy and almost as famous as Italian truffles. Simply grate the Bottarga over pasta for a delicious lunch.

Lasagna

It is claimed that Lasagna comes from the Emilia-Romagna area but this has been contested by other regions of Italy, and there are different versions of this famous dish. Lasagna was not made originally using tomatoes, they did not arrive in Europe until the 16th Century.

The layers of pasta only had Ragu, Mozzarella or Parmigiano Reggiano and Bechamel sauce. Unlike the American version of Lasagna that has ladle full of tomato sauce, an authentic Italian Lasagna only uses a small portion of tomatoes in the Ragu, which tends to concentrate the meat flavor more.

In part two ofthis culinary journey across Italy we are going to discover even more gems of Italian cuisine. From hearty soups of the north to tasty rice dishes from the south.