10 Greatest Dishes To Sample In Italy

Pizza quattro formaggi

Quattro formaggi is a variety of Italian pizza topped with a combination of four kinds of cheese, as the name suggests. Traditionally, the cheeses should be mozzarella and three other, local cheeses, depending on the region, such as Gorgonzola, Fontina, and Parmigiano-Reggiano.

Optionally, the pizza can be further enriched with the addition of basil and tomato. The combination of cheeses gives the pizza an unusual, unique flavor that is loved by cheese-aficionados all over the world.

Pizza alla diavola

Diavola is a variety of Italian pizza that is traditionally topped with tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, spicy salami, and hot chili peppers. Black olives are optional and can be added for extra flavor.

Salsiccia

Salsiccia is a universal name for different types of fresh Italian sausage. It usually refers to a sausage made with minced or ground pork meat, pork fat, and numerous spices. The mixture is stuffed into a natural pork or sheep casing, and it is rarely cured or smoked.

It is sold fresh and intended for grilling or frying. Although there are some disambiguations, it is believed that the original salsiccia was created in the region of Basilicata, but the use of fresh sausages has become so common that each Italian region has their typical salsiccia type.

Pesto Genovese

Pesto Genovese is a sauce with origins in the Italian city of Genoa. Traditionally, it consists of basil, garlic, pine nuts, olive oil, and cheeses such as Parmigiano Reggiano or Pecorino. Its name stems from the word pestare, meaning to pound or crush, referring to the original method of making the sauce with a mortar and pestle.

It is said that pesto originated from the ancient Romans who ate a paste called moretum, made by crushing together ingredients such as cheese, herbs, and garlic. Pesto is usually used with pasta, traditionally with trofie or trenette, but can also sometimes be served with sliced tomatoes or boiled potatoes.

Focaccia

This chewy, oily flatbread is quite versatile, and can be topped with a range of ingredients such as coarse sea salt, olive oil, herbs, tomatoes, or olives. Historians tend to believe it was invented either by the Etruscans or in ancient Greece, although unleavened flatbreads have long been made throughout the Middle East.

The name focaccia is derived from the Roman panis focacius, meaning “hearth bread”, referring to the fact that focaccia was traditionally baked in coals in Roman times. The basic recipe spread to France and Spain over time, where the bread is known as fouaisse and hogaza, respectively.

Foccacia’s pockmarked appearance results from indentations made in the dough to prevent large bubbles from appearing on its surface during baking. Today, savory versions of focaccia are topped with rosemary, sage, garlic, cheese, and onions, while sweet varieties can be topped with honey, raisins, sugar, and lemon peel, among others.

Pizza Margherita

Pizza Margherita is a delicacy that is literally fit for a queen. In 1889, Queen Margherita of Savoy visited Naples, where she was served a pizza that was made to resemble the colors of the Italian flag: red tomatoes, white mozzarella cheese, and green basil.

It was made by a chef named Raffaele Esposito of Pizzeria Brandi, who is credited for its invention. The Queen loved the dish, and Esposito named it after her - pizza Margherita, but such a pizza was also made before that time, and can be dated back to at least 1866, when the most popular pizza toppings included basil, cheese, and tomatoes, but the pizza was not yet named Margherita.

Since those times, Margherita has become one of the most popular pizza varieties in the world, and in 2009, it was protected as one of the three Pizze Napoletane with an STG European label of protection, proving its excellence in flavor, ingredients, and traditional pizza-making techniques.

Pizza

The story of the invention of this everyday household name changes depending on how you define it. If you think a pizza is an oven-baked flatbread, its origins lie in the ancient Middle East. If pizza must have toppings, its origins date back to the ancient Romans and Greeks, who baked flatbreads and topped them with available, local spices and olive oil.

But the pizza we all know today, made with tomato sauce, cheese, and numerous toppings, originated in Italy. It became popular in Naples in the 18th century as a cheap, nourishing food that was consumed mainly by peasants. The modern pizza as we know it today evolved from early Neapolitan flatbreads topped with lard, salt, and garlic.

Gnocco fritto

Gnocco fritto is a traditional Italian pastry consisting of flour, lard, salt, and a leavening agent. The dough is traditionally shaped into little rectangles by flattening it with the palm of one's hand. Often times, people make small holes in the middle of the dough with their fingers, and fry the dough on lard in a pan.

Gnocco fritto is traditionally served warm and paired with cheese or cured, sliced meats. In the past, it was very popular with farmers who consumed it during the days of hard labor in the fields.

Trofie al pesto

Trofie al pesto is one of the most famous, if not the most famous dish from the Italian region of Liguria. The dish is a combination of two elements: trofie, the Ligurian hand-rolled pasta made with flour and water, and pesto, a famous green sauce consisting of seven elements: basil, garlic, olive oil, pine nuts, salt, and two types of cheese.

The authentic pesto Genovese should contain basilico Genovese, extra-virgin Ligurian olive oil, high-quality garlic, Parmigiano Reggiano DOP, and Pecorino cheese from Rome, Tuscany, Sardegna, or Sicily. Trofie al pesto is traditionally served in small portions, as a first course, where tiny trofie perfectly pick up pesto's fine consistency, resulting in a symphony of flavors in each bite.

Gelato al pistacchio

Pistachio is one of the most popular flavors of Italian gelato. A mainstay in every gelateria, in its original form, this frozen treat combines pistachio paste with the classic base of milk, cream, eggs, and sugar. Occasionally, crushed and toasted pistachios can be added, but the basic texture should always remain dense and creamy.

Due to the high prices of pistachios and pistachio paste, many gelaterias nowadays opt for cheaper replacements, but the best pistachio is considered to be the grown in a small Sicilian town of Bronte.