Common foods in Italy:

    • Foods in Italy: Lazio      • Campania        • Sicily        • Piemonte
• Lombardy      • Emilia-Romagna     • Venice     • Tuscany

Common foods in Italy, some interesting facts:

So we know the Italians eat a lot of Pasta but did you know the average Italian consumes around 30kg (63 pounds) of pasta a year?!
They also drink around 50 liters of wine per person per year, but before you begin thinking that the Italian diet is unhealthy bear in mind that the average Italian also eats around 135kg of fruit a year.

Pre packed preserved bottled tinned cartooned and precooked food may be common in this age of consumerism and globalization but in Italy the traditional food markets flourish as fresh produce is essential and non-negotiable for the exquisite Italian recipes.

Common foods in Italy: The cuisine of Lazio (Rome's province)

It is said that the food of Rome represents the Roman lifestyle; flavors are strong, uncompromising, full of zest and simply wonderful.

Some popular starters are Supplì, fried rice croquettes with a mozzarella interior; fiori di zucca, flower of courgette or zucchini stuffed with cheese and an anchovy; olive ascolane, fried olive with a meat interior; baccalà, fried fillets of stock fish.

Saltimbocca alla Romana, are slices of veal with 'prosciutto crudo' (raw ham) rolled and skewered.
Gnocchi alla Romana, balls made of flour parmesan and eggs, boiled in milk and then baked in the oven.
Porchetta, roasted suckling pig, is a very popular dish among the locals. It's fatty, full of calories and tastes scrumptious.
Melanzane allla parmigiana, thin slices of egg plant (aubergine) topped with a tomato paste and shavings of Parmesan baked in the oven.
Carciofi alla Romana, the hearts of artichokes cooked in a casserole with some mint leaves and garlic.


Common foods in Italy: Campania (Naples' province)

To say the Neapolitans enjoy their tomato and pizza is an understatement of the year! This is the land where Pizza was invented, they are proud of this fact and are not impressed with the "inferior" thinner crispier Roman pizza that has no thick edges. (I myself prefer the Roman pizza, ahem...)

Some common starters are: crocchette di patate, mashed potato mixed with parmesan and then deep fried; impepata di cozze, mussels fried in olive and garlic and seasoned with pepper.

Zuppa Napoletana, a soup consisting of offal with onions and tomatoes.
Cannelloni alla Napoletana, Cannelloni pasta (long hollow tubes) stuffed with ricotta cheese, mozzarella and ham, covered with bolegnaise sauce and cooked in the oven.

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Common foods in Italy: Sicilian cuisine

Due to the Arab domination of Sicily for so many years the Sicilian cuisine is probably the most diverse cuisine in Italy.

Some Sicilian starters are: Arancine di riso, deep fried large balls of rice with a bolognaise and peas filling, Polpette di ricotta, fried balls of ricotta cheese, calamari ripieni, calamari stuffed with crumbed bread and fish and cooked in the oven.

Pasta con Sarde, pasta with anchovies and fennel.
Maccheroni and cheese, say no more, but I bet you won't get it to taste the same back home.
Rosticcerie, the stand up and eat fast food stands are extremely popular and you can sometimes find the most artistic concoctions of local produce.


Common foods in Italy: Piemontese cuisine (Turin's region)

Due to its proximity the French influence is notable in Piemontese cuisine.

Some typical Piemontese starters: Bagna caoda, a type of fondue (fonduta) where you dip crostini (croutons) and vegetables into a tomato and anchovy base (instead of cheese).
Involtini di prosciutto e gorgonzola, prosciutto (ham) stuffed with leeks and gorgonzola and served cold.
Agnolotti, pasta (resembling condom packets  via veneto smiley) stuffed with minced veal, ham and spices and topped with a tomato sauce.
Bollito misto, is a mixture of boiled meats (usually beef, chicken, ham and sometimes offal too) served with cabbage (or onions) and jelly with a green sauce.

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Common foods in Italy: Lombard cuisine (Milan's region)

The Milanese have very few dishes of their own most being borrowed from other Italian regions. Pasta features less in Lombardia than any other Italian province with a bigger emphasis on meat dishes.

Cotoletta alla Milanese, veal cutlets in crumbed bread fried in butter. Sound like Schnitzel? The Milanese say they invented it and have records going back to the 12th Century to prove it. Anyway, we'll give them that.
Coniglio con i peperoni, fried rabbit, anchovies and grilled red peppers, all prepared separately.
Panettone, dome shaped, very light sponge cake with a sparse dried fruit filling.


Common foods in Italy: Emilia-Romagna cuisine (Parma's region)

Parma is world famous for its Parma ham and Parmesan cheese (parmigiana). Actually if the truth be told parmigiana cheese originates from Reggio, however as Reggio formed part of the original Duchy of Parma we won't be a "rompi scatole" (pain in the backside) about it.
Prosciutto (like bacon, but dried and cured) is very popular in Italy and some of the best comes from Emilia-Romagna. It seems as though every home has a curing room with gammons (pig legs) hanging from the ceiling. Only Spain, with their Jamon, can rival (I prefer the Spanish Jamon but forget I mentioned it.)

Melanzane alla Parmigiana, aubergines with smoked ham onions and tomatoes.
Mortadella, Spiced pork mince with pistachios and whole black peppers stuffed into the skin of a whole suckling pig.
Focaccia con patate e zucchine, flat round bread with boiled potatoes and zucchini spread on top and then baked in the oven.
Scaloppine alla Bolognese, crumbed fried veal covered with ham and parmesan with a stock sauce.


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Common foods in Italy: Venetian cuisine

Venice is where you will arguably find the best rice and fish dishes, with pasta dishes taking a back seat. Venice is also known for their starters, cicchetti, and the culture is similar to Spain and the Tapas.
The most common cicchetti are half eggs with anchovies, polenta (like corn porridge) with a meat or fish sauce, fried crab pinchers, crab meat balls and baccalà mantecato, stock fish minced and cooked in milk.

Spaghetti con le Vongole, spaghetti topped with fried clams which have been cooked in olive oil and garlic.
Pasta e fagioli, short pasta with beans (not my favorite).
Risi e bisi, rice peas bacon and onion.
Fegato alla Veneziana, fried liver of veal with a lot of onion.


Common foods in Italy: Tuscan cuisine (aaaah Florence!)

The Tuscans are known for their friendly generous nature and laid back lifestyle, and this is represented in their joy of cooking (and eating).

Bistecca alla Fiorentina, the world renowned T-bone steak from Florence. Accompany that with a bottle of Barolo red wine and I'm in heaven.
The cut is not to be refrigerated beforehand, and must be thick enough to stand vertically on the bone. Barbequed plainly over wood coals, turned only once and cooked for 3 - 5 minutes. You dress it with lemon, olive oil and salt. Yummy.
Trippa al sugo, Tripe cooked in a tomato sauce.
Pollo alla diavola, hot spicy deviled chicken.
Ribollita, a minestrone (vegetable soup) cooked the day before then re boiled (ribollita) the next day adding bread and olive oil.
Pappardelle alla lepre, a lasagne using hare stew as the bolognaise (sauce).

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