Basics of Italian Cuisine

Basics of Italian Cuisine

When most people think of Italian cuisine they think of spaghetti or lasagna but there is so much more to Italian cuisine than that.  If you ever travel around Italy you will quickly realize that there a variety of dishes from different regions with tastes that you can’t even imagine.  Italy is broken up into 19 different regions and they all have a different cuisine.  Let’s take a look at some of the regional dishes in Italian cuisine. 

Southern Italy

Southern Italy is on the Mediterranean and fish and seafood are prevalent in the diets in this region.  Diets are lighter, they use more olive oil in their cuisine and you will find this region is what inspired the Mediterranean diet that health professionals recommend.  Southern Italians are among some of the healthiest people in the world.  Their diet is rich in fish and vegetables while using less sauces and cheeses.

Northern Italy

This regional cuisine is probably what you are most familiar with, the area is closer to France and like French cuisine there are a lot of cheeses and sauces in these dishes.  However having Northern Italian cuisine in an American restaurant is nothing like the real thing.  The dishes are slow cooking and complicated, lasagna being an example.  There isn’t as much spice as you would find in American versions but everything is still delicious.

Regional Differences

Italian food isn’t defined by a single dish, not even spaghetti.  With 19 regions in the country you can expect 19 different versions of spaghetti alone, from simple spaghetti al olio to spaghetti Bolognese.  Most Italian food relies on different ingredients that are locally sourced and dependent on what vegetables are in season.  There are some commonalities across most of the regions, with more than 350 types of pasta you can bet it is a staple no matter where you are and vegetables will figure prominently in the local dishes.

When you travel to Italy for the first time you will find dishes that you grew up eating will be far different than what you are used.  Don’t expect the pizza to taste anything like Pizza Hut.  Try out as many new things as you can while you are there, you may discover you have a new favorite dish when your trip is over.  Italian cuisine is most popular cuisine in the world take a trip to Italy and you will understand why.