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20 Traditional Yummy-licious Italian Dishes That You Must Try

20 Traditional Italian Dishes That You Must Try
Italians know two things best - to love and great food! Tastessence brings you a list of traditional dishes from this culinary giant to satiate your hungry soul.
Amita Ray
Last Updated: Aug 12, 2017
Did You Know
February 13th is celebrated as National "Eat Italian Food" Day in Italy.
The Italians are one passionate bunch when it comes to food, so much so that even their flag represents the colors of their food-red, white, and green. With few simple ingredients and a rustic style of cooking, the Italians love to let the flavors of the ingredients shine through. When it comes to flavors, Italians are a purists at heart. You just can't take a pasta and add your own twist to it without offending a few great Italian cooks.

This cuisine uses a lot of vegetables, in fact, you'll find many traditional dishes to be meatless. There are a variety of dishes that use different salami, Italian sausages, ham, seafood. Adding a little more finesse to certain dishes is achieved with the use of truffle and saffron.

We can definitely go on and on about the gastronomical wonders of this cuisine, and no matter how much we say, it is never going to be enough. So, without any delay, we give some scrumptious traditional Italian dishes for you to feast your eyes on. Buon appetito!
The Italian Breakfast Spread
sfogliatelle neapolitan
Flaky and buttery is this Italian pastry. Its extremely layered crispy texture sort of reminds you of leaves stacked on each other. Filled with a heavenly mixture of sweetened ricotta cream, semolina or almond paste, and cinnamon along with some candied lemon zest or orange zests is a great way to kick start your day.
biscotti with almonds
Crunchy sweet Italian cookies loaded with all the goodness of almonds and butter. These are usually dipped in cappuccinos, lattes, or black tea. Sometimes, they are also had with red wine like chianti. Various modern twists on biscotti with hazelnuts, pistachios, chocolate, etc., are quite popular.
strong irish coffee
This traditional hot beverage is native to Turin. An enticing concoction of espresso, drinking chocolate, and milk, there definitely can't be a better way to start the day. Besides, when it comes to coffee, Italians definitely know what they're talking about.
Fette biscottate, Cornetto eaten can be filled with jam or cream custard, Fruit Macedonia, Muesli and Yogurt, Panino, Focaccia with tea, Krumiri, Bread and 'nduja (spicy sausage), Crepes with pecorino cheese and honey, Zabaione, Espresso, Cappuccino, Caffè Macchaiato, Caffè latte.
panzanella salad
Some chewy stale bread soaked in olive oil and the juices of fresh plump tomatoes seasoned to perfection. This mixture instantly transports you to the Tuscan fields, doesn't it? Add a teeny tang of vinegar, the freshness of basil, and the sweetness of onions, and there's nothing else you'd want!
Caprese salad
Caprese salad
Fresh mozzarella, juicy tomatoes, loaded with Fresh basil, olive oil, and seasoned with salt―this salad never disappoints! Some variants take this salad up a notch with some chopped garlic, parsley, fresh olives, or some balsamic vinegar.
bread sticks
This dish literally translates to "before the meal", and is usually the first course of a traditional Italian meal. A spread of cured meats, olives, peperocini, mushrooms, artichokes, anchovies, different cheeses along with different pickled vegetables is surely a gastronomic sight.
Bruschetta, Bresaola, Crostini, Insalata russa, Mozzarelline fritte, Capicollo, Culatello, Prosciutto and melon.
Main Course
Pizza Margherita
Pizza Margherita
This might be the most popular Italian dish the world over having its roots in the Italian cuisine. Something about the simplicity of humble ingredients like fresh bread, tomato sauce, fresh Italian basil, and some oozing molten mozzarella, along with the generous drizzle of olive, create something this magnificent that just steals your heart.
lasagna food
When the flavors of tomatoes, garlic, onions, oregano intertwine with the umaminess of the meat and the crunch of the vegetables slathered in bechamel, under thin sheets of pasta, they create a symphony that's simply hard to resist.
Pasta alla Norma
Pasta alla Norma
Pasta in a herby tomato sauce, upon which lays deliciously creamy fried aubergine. This is then sprinkled with salty ricotta salata and some freshly torn basil leaves to create a dish that represents what Sicily would taste like on a plate.
risotto with saffron
Silky, buttery, creamy risotto with the rice with a slight bite or al dente with the flavor of beef shinning through along with some saffron, giving it a gorgeous color and an even more decadent aroma.
tuscany food ribollita
A hearty one-pot Italian wonder, this soup alone is enough as a meal. A mixture of inexpensive vegetables like carrots, beans, silverbeet, cannellini beans, cabbage, onions with some bread, this depicts the humble beginnings of the Tuscan cuisine.
gnocchi con pomodoro
Soft little fluffy pillows of dough that are made in a variety of ways. They are usually eaten as a first course in place of soups. These little dumplings are usually accompanied with melted butter and pesto.
ravioli stuffed
Ah! Little melt-in-the-mouth pockets filled with either cheese, vegetables, seafood, or meat, either coated with a herby tomato sauce or sitting in a bowl of some hearty broth.
Pasta Carbonara
Pasta Carbonara
Satiny pasta in a creamy
sauce made from a mixture of eggs, cheese, and olive oil. Add a bit of crispy bacon and a drizzle of bacony oil, and the oomph that you get is just divine.
Pasta Fagioli
Pasta Fagioli
This is a traditional meatless pasta made with beans. With ingredients like olive oil, garlic, onions, spices, and tomato, this dish is far from being bland! Many modern versions use a chicken stock base or throw in some prosciutto to make it more exciting.
Calzone, Focaccia al rosmarino, Ai frutti di Marre, Linguini with Clam sauce, Pasta al pesto, Spaghetti alla Puttanesca, Risi e bisi, Riso con i porcini, Cacciucco, Acqua pazza, Cacciatore, Cotoletta alla milanese, Saltimbocca, Carciofi alla romana.
original zeppole
This fritter-style donut coated with powdered sugar either filled with custard, jelly, or cannoli-style cream is a true Italian treat! This light and puffy cream-filled treat is one of those things Italian that you shouldn't miss.
cassata cake
Ice cream loaded with candied or dried fruits and nuts layered between stacks of liqueur-soaked moist sponge, along with a good helping of ricotta cheese. This is some serious dessert the Sicilians boast about. It is usually topped with candied fruits and sliced citrus fruits―a characteristic of Sicily.
sicilian cannoli
Little cigars fried crispy pastry dough, lightly coated with powdered sugar and filled with a sweet, creamy filling made with ricotta cheese. When mama makes such delicious treats, it is no wonder Italian boys will always love their mamas.
tiramisu dessert cake
The "lift me up" dessert definitely lifts up your spirit, when every mouthful comprises the oomph of coffee-soaked ladyfingers layered with a mixture of eggs, sugar, and mascapone cheese flavored with the goodness of cocoa.
Panna Cotta
Panna Cotta
Creamy yet feathery light, panna cotta simply feels like a cloud in your mouth. With hints of rum, coffee, or vanilla, this dessert definitely transcends by leaps and bounds. Pair that with a sweet-tangy raspberry coulis, and you definitely get a toe-curling dessert.
Gelato, Profiterole, Zuppa Inglese, Pandoro, Semifreddo, Crocetta of Caltanissetta.
We bet this has got you craving for some Italian food! So wear your extra loose eating pants and run to a nearby Italian restaurant real quick!