Favorite Italian dishes, by region

In Italy it is almost a given that every region adheres to some very strong beliefs about something. There can be no list of dishes that rates their popularity throughout Italy. Instead, each region of the Italian peninsula has their own favorite recipes that have been used for generations. The curious thing is that someone outside of Italy can all of a sudden discover that they have a taste for a very specific local variation of Italian cooking. Want to find out if deep in your heart you are a Sicilian or a Lombardian? Here are some very basic distinctions.

Lombardy

Rich buttery dishes are a specialty of this region, mostly known for its capital, Milan: Risotto alla Milanese (rice with saffron and butter), Cotolette alla Milanese (fried veal patties).

Venice

Venetian cusine has strong ties to Middle Eastern and other Mediterranean food cultures. Local specialties: Risi e bisi (rice with peas and ham), Fegato alla Veneziana (liver and onions), polenta (mushed corn with cheese and butter)

Liguria

Ligurians often favor seafood dishes, such as Burrida (fish stew) and Bigne di pesci miste (assorted fish).

Tuscany

Tuscany is Italy’s heartland, with simple rustic foods: Bistecca alla Fiorentina (steak with oil and pepper) and Ribollita (soup with beans and vegetables, served with Parmesan cheese)

Lazio

This ancient area surrounding Rome is where we get what most people typically assosiate with Italian foodL pasta with tomatoes, Rigatoni alla carbonara (pasta with egg sauce, cheese and bacon).

Abruzzi-Molise

Region east of Rome. Local specialties include: Spaghetti with garlic, oil and chili peppers, Pasticcio di patate con salsiccia (sausage and potato pie)

Campania

The area near Napes is quite rightfully seen as the birthplace of Italian pizza with multiple toppings.

Sicily

Another region known for its seafood: Pasta con le sarde (pasta with sardines, anchovies and onions), Arancine (meatballs with rice and cheese mixed in), Sarde a beccafico (breaded sardines with nuts and raisins)

See also:

Italian cheeses. Names and flavors
Italian wine customs
Italian breads

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