Italian cuisine is famous the world over. Wherever you live, you can probably find at least 1 Italian restaurant somewhere in your neighborhood. And if there is none, you will still undoubtedly find pizza and pasta – one of Italian cuisine’s biggest exports – in your town’s best pub.
While pizza and pasta have become staples in every dinner table, there are even more dishes from their homeland worthy of the world’s attention. You don’t even have to travel to Italy to get a taste of these delectable creations (though you should just because it is beautiful). With the wealth of information online, you can simply google recipes, hunt for the ingredients, and make your own. These dishes are so rich and hearty that they are worth all the effort!
Focaccia di Recco
Focaccia di Recco is essentially a flatbread stuffed with melted Stracchino cheese. It might sound basic, but the super-light, flaky dough coupled with the cheese’s creamy texture and delicate taste offers an elegant burst of flavors. The only catch when trying to make this dish is the Stracchino cheese can’t be substituted (or added to). Its simplicity is too perfect on its own to touch!
Meaning “little orange”, arancini are deep fried gold-colored rice balls coated with bread crumbs. Traditional arancini are stuffed with meat, tomato sauce, mozzarella, and peas, but variations popping up across Italy are becoming more experimental with ingredients. It originated from Sicily and is most commonly found in the cities of Palermo and Catania.
Check out this absolutely delicious recipe
Ribollita is a soup with humble origins but lofty flavors. It was first invented when servants of noblemen gathered up leftover minestrone, or vegetable soup, and reheated them with bread. The result however is a thick, hearty concoction that soon enough, the rest of the country took notice. Ribollita is traditionally made with carrots, onions, chard, kale, cabbage, beans, and of course, leftover bread.
Melanzane ala Parmigiana
Also known as Aubergine Parmigiana or, put simply, eggplant parmesan, melanzane ala parmigiana is a baked dish made with eggplants layered in tomato sauce and cheese. The thinly sliced eggplants are either accompanied by grated parmesan, melted mozzarella, or both. This simple but flavorful dish is the mother of the North American favorite chicken parmigiana.
Osso bucco ala Milanese
Another hearty Italian comfort dish is osso bucco ala Milanese. It is made with veal shanks braised with white wine, vegetables, and broth. It is typically accompanied by gremolata: an Italian condiment composed of parsley, garlic, and lemon, and is traditionally served with risotto. Outside of Milan, osso bucco can come with pasta, potatoes, or polenta.
Torrone is a favorite Italian dessert with ingredients that can be easily found anywhere in the world. It’s primarily made of nougat accompanied by honey, egg whites. It can be infused with citrus zest or flavored with vanilla, and can be dashed with whole almonds, hazelnuts, and pistachios. These are all mixed together to form a candy-like delight perfect for ending those rich Italian meals.
Affogatto, meaning “drowned”, is the combination of 2 of Italy’s best specialties: espresso and gelato. It is made with a scoop of vanilla flavored gelato “drowned” in a shot of hot espresso. Nowadays however, to make it seem more of a desert, more scoops of gelato are used which end up “drowning” the espresso. Whichever way you prefer to take it, it’s the perfect way to wind down after a hearty home-made Italian dish.