20 Authentic Italian Food You Need to Try Right Away

authentic italian food

Not being able to sample everything while dining in Italy is the most difficult component of the experience. Despite the number of meals and stomach space each day, there seem to be a limitless number of Italian delights. Italian tourism is drawing tourists who wish to see the country’s stunning natural beauty, unique culture, and delicious cuisine. Travelers to Italy can sample a variety of sweet and authentic Italian food and cuisines. You’d need a lifetime to eat your way through all of the best Italian meals, let alone desserts and beverages. We’ve developed a modest authentic Italian food bucket list for you to sample on your vacation to keep you calm.

Eating traditional Italian meals is strongly ingrained in Italian society. Recipes are frequently passed down through generations and highly cherished. You may get a firsthand taste of these exquisite meals from local home cooks who are enthusiastic about cooking and happy to share a piece of their culture with you. Here are some of the most authentic Italian food you should try in 2021!

Bottarga

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Image credits: Serious Eats

Bottarga is the Italian term for salted and cured fish roe (tuna or grey mullet). It’s a versatile ingredient that goes well with pasta, salads, and vegetables. Chefs or locals in southern Italy salt, press, dry grey mullet roe in the open air for six months. A solid mass of amber and blood orange colored eggs with a lovely smokey and saline scent when cut and eaten or grated over pasta. The locals used it to preserve fish, prior to the invention of refrigeration. Today, it is one of the most sought-after and expensive items in Italy (the “Gold of the Sea”).

Pizza

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Historically, pizza has been a popular snack or dinner option, notably in Naples, where the tomato sauce was first used. Italian Queen Margherita visited the lively city in 1889 as part of her kingdom tour and questioned about the supper so many of her subjects were eating. A local entrepreneur presented her with the now-famous Margherita pizza, which combines tomato sauce, mozzarella, and basil.

A flattened spherical dough is covered with cheese, tomatoes, basil, olives, and oregano, among other toppings. The Margherita all Napoletana (Naples style pizza with tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, and basil), Pizza Marinara (with tomatoes, garlic, and oregano), the Pizza Quattro Stagioni (‘four seasons’ pizza with four sections of four different toppings), the Pizza Quattro Formaggi (pizza with four differe (Sicilian style pizza with tomatoes, cheese, onions, and anchovies). Pizza is one of the top five authentic Italian food, and it comes in numerous forms.

In Italy, there are two styles of pizza: Neopolitan-style and Roman-style. It is common for Neapolitan pizza to have a thick and fluffy crust. When dough doesn’t stretch as far and is more filling, the resulting product is often smaller. The crust of a Roman-style pizza should be paper thin and crunchy. It has a larger diameter but is often lighter in weight and has less gluten.

Ribollita

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Image credits: Eataly

Cucina povera, or poor man’s cuisine, was traditionally applied to the ribollita because servants prepared it by gathering leftover food from their masters, such as bread and vegetables, before boiling them in water to construct a meal. When it comes to the name of this dish, it originates from its origins, which translates to “reboiled” in English.

This simple recipe is a great delight in Tuscany when the harvest vegetables are at their peak. This meatless Italian soup despite its absence of meat is a great dish (at least in the traditional versions).

Lasagna

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Image credits: Italia Regina

Lasagna is a long, flat pasta noodle that is baked in layers, generally in the oven. It originated in Emilia-Romagna, then evolved from a poor man’s diet to a lavish meal laden with ragù, or beef sauce. After baking lasagne sheets, the chef covers them with cheese, ground beef, vegetables, and sauces such as ragù, bechamel, or tomato sauce. This dinner is a must-try if you want to get a taste of authentic Italian food in its purest form.

Fiorentina Steak

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Image credits: Eataly

Florentine T-bone steak, or bistecca alla fiorentina, encapsulates everything fantastic about Italian cooking in one dish.

The enormous bistecca fiorentina is a grilled T-bone steak cut thick (at least 5 cm) from the loin of a Chianina cow reared in Tuscany. Italian chefs cook this steak for 5 to 7 minutes per side, depending on thickness.

Osso Buco

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The world-famous Osso Buco alla Milanese is a bone-in veal shank that is cooked slowly and gently in a stew of beef stock, white wine, and vegetables. When you bite into it, the meat melts in your mouth and becomes tender. Some chefs traditionally serve Osso Buco with a gremolata (a mixture of lemon zest, garlic, and parsley).

There are as many varieties of this meaty masterpiece as there are nonnas in Lombardy. Despite its popularity, Osso Buco is difficult to find on restaurant menus due to its three-hour cooking period. If you can eat it in a restaurant or at home, or even prepare it yourself, do so.

Polenta

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Image credits: Britannica

Polenta is a boiled cornmeal-based Italian dish that originated in central and northern Italy and is now popular throughout the country. When potatoes, rice, or pasta are unavailable, this simple poor man’s meal is frequently provided in their place.

Although it lacks variation in terms of shapes and textures, polenta is a fantastic accompaniment to a wide variety of meats, particularly stewed meats. It’s possibly one of the most pleasant foods you can eat when the temperatures drop in places such as Milan, Turin, and Venice. Today, polenta is not only one of Italy’s most popular fundamental foods, but it is also one of the world’s most popular grains. Swiss, Slovenian, and Croatian staple dishes, on the other hand, are also available.

Risotto

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Image credits: Walks of Italy

Rice, which most chefs often serve in the form of creamy, delectable risotto, completes the holy trinity of Italian carbs. Despite their love of pasta and polenta, Italians are Europe’s greatest rice growers, according to the International Rice Research Institute. With onion, olive oil, butter or lard and white wine, chefs serve traditional Italian rice dishes in a broth of meat, fish, or vegetable stock. Northern Italy, particularly Lombardy and Piedmont is known as the “rice bowl of the country,” in contrast to southern Italy’s “breadbasket.”

Construction workers using saffron to colour the stained glass windows of the Milan Cathedral decided it would be a good idea to use it in their rice. Venetian risi and bisi (pancetta and peas) and risotto al nero di sepia (cuttlefish and ink) are other popular versions.

Truffles

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Image credits: Taste Truffles

A gourmet delicacy popular throughout Italy, Tartufo Bianco (white truffle) from Piedmont is a delicious treat. In Italy, there are two types of truffles: the rare white truffle and the more common black truffle. Some customers have compared the perfume’s odd fragrance and taste to gasoline in the past. Chefs serve fresh truffles with a variety of dishes in Italy, including pasta, risotto, eggs, and salads.

Traveling to Alba, Italy, between September and December is a must when the truffle season is in full swing. Black truffles are also a delicacy meal; nevertheless, they are less aromatic and praised than white truffles due to their darker color. In Assisi or the surrounding region of Umbria, you must have the Asissi omelet with truffles if you get the opportunity. Italian olive oil with truffles may be the perfect keepsake from your trip to Italy if you’re a foodie looking for something truly unique.

Arancini

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Image credits: Christina’s Cucina

Arancini is a crispy, golden brown dessert formed from rice balls that have been compressed. After being covered with crunchy breadcrumbs, the rice balls are baked until they are tender. Ragù, tomato sauce, mozzarella, and peas are among the ingredients in these rice balls.

What you can prepare with arancini includes arancini con ragù (tomatillos, rice, and mozzarella), arancini con burro (creamy béchamel sauce), and arancini con funghi. You can also dine with Antonella and Paola if you happen to be in Rome on your trip to Italy.

Prosciutto

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Prosciutto is an Italian ham that has been air-cured for a long period of time. In Italy, prosciutto refers to raw ham (prosciutto crudo), whereas cooked ham is prosciutto cotto. It comes from the Po River Valley but is popular all over Italy as an appetizer.

The best and most expensive prosciutto originates from Italy’s central and northern areas, producing small quantities. Prosciutto di Parma, from the Emilia Romagna area of the Po River Valley, is the most popular prosciutto in Italy. When served with spaghetti, cheese, or sweet melons, cured beef is light, delicious, and airy.

Saltimbocca

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Image credits: Italy Magazine

In this dish, thin veal slices are topped with salty prosciutto and fresh herbs. A toothpick is used to sauté all of these ingredients together until the meat is cooked through. You can also make Saltimbocca using various meats, including chicken and mutton, and seafood.

While in Rome, you can even learn how to create this dish from our host, Alberto. Alberto will teach you the beauty of Italian food in a cooking session that includes a trip to the market.

Tiramisu

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The tiramisu is another popular Italian dessert. You can make it with ladyfingers, coffee, eggs, sugar, chocolate, and mascarpone cheese, among other things. Tiramisu originated in Treviso, Italy, and is today one of the country’s most popular sweets. Learn how to make your own Tiramisu with a Fresh Pasta and Tiramisu Cooking Class in Rome.

Ragu Alla Bolognese

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Ragu Alla Bolognese is also known as Bolognese sauce. It is the national dish of Italy because most people use it in many traditional Italian dishes. The ingredients for an authentic Bolognese sauce include tomatoes, minced beef, garlic, wine, and herbs. Despite the fact that Bolognese sauce originates in the city of Bologna, you can be get it in Italian restaurants.

Beautiful Piazza Maggiore, spectacular medieval and Renaissance architecture, charming cafes, and world-class restaurants make Bologna a must-see destination for anybody visiting the region. Don’t forget to add one of these incredible culinary excursions in Bologna to your bucket list while you’re there!

Focacia

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Image credits: Cooking With Manuela

It is an Italian flatbread that is similar to pizza in taste and texture. Focaccia al Rosmarino is the most popular focaccia in the United States (Foccacia with rosemary). Focaccia is a type of bread that people generally offer as a side dish with traditional Italian food, as an appetizer, snack, or sandwich bread. It is also available in a variety of flavors. Focaccia is available in two varieties: savory and sweet. Loaves of bread that are sweet and savory (with rosemary, garlic, fresh basil, or even prosciutto) are available (with honey, raisins, sugar, and similar sweet ingredients). Another famous fast food item in Italy is focaccia (flatbread).

Spaghetti

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Pasta is one of the most popular dishes in Italy, and it’s easy to see why. Spaghetti is the most popular type of pasta in Italy.

The traditional preparation of this long, thin pasta includes only garlic and olive oil (Spaghetti Aglio Olio), minced meat sauce (Spaghetti Bolognese), tomato sauce and basil (Spaghetti al Pomodoro e Basilico), cheese and pepper (Spaghetti Cacio e Pepe), bacon (Spaghetti Carbonara), or clams (Spaghetti Alle Vongole). So, if you’re looking to sample some authentic Italian food, try some classic spaghetti dishes. In Rome, you must eat Spaghetti Carbonara, the city’s staple spaghetti dish, if you wish to truly experience the city.

Ravioli

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Image credits: Italy Magazine

The square-shaped pasta with a filling is known as ravioli in traditional Italian cuisine. Ravioli are a meal that is popular in Italy. The filling for ravioli, on the other hand, differs from region to region in Italy. In Rome and Lazio, chefs make the filling with ricotta cheese, spinach, nutmeg, and jarred pepper. Whereas, in Sardinia, they make the filling with a mixture of cheese and lemon rid (lemon juice).

Gnocchi

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Gnocchi pasta is one of the most popular authentic Italian food. They are small, thick dumplings that people traditionally serve in Italy. Traditionally, Italian make dumplings from potatoes and cheese, with the addition of other ingredients. Depending on the Italian region, it is possible to substitute potatoes with semolina, wheat flour, or breadcrumbs instead of potatoes. It is possible to make gnocchi pasta by cooking it in salted water and then serving it with a delectable sauce.

You must try the Malfatti Gnocchi with ricotta cheese and spinach if you ever find yourself in Tuscany or Lombardy. In Sardinia, try the Malloreddus Gnocchi alla Campidanese with sausage sauce if you’re there for the holidays.

Minestrone Soup

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The popular Minestrone soup is one of Italy’s most popular dishes and you can get it in restaurants all around the country. Minestrone is a thick tomato vegetable soup that is people typically serve with spaghetti and whole grains as an accompaniment. The veggies used in minestrone are typically hardy and in season, and they include beans, potatoes, tomatoes, celery, and carrots, to name a few examples. Classic Italian Minestrone soup, which is similar to Pasta e Fagioli and Pasta e Cecci Alla Romana, is a hearty soup with a lot of stock and vegetables.

Mortadella

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Mortadella di Bologna is the most popular Italian sausage. Italian chefs make this classic Italian pork sausage with black pepper, pistachios, and myrtle berries as the main ingredients. Despite the fact that there are numerous mortadella types available in Italy, such as Prato mortadella with garlic and ‘alchermes‘ liquor from Tuscany, you should not overlook the authentic Mortadella di Bologna in Bologna.

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