Italian cuisine is rich in history and culture, with many influences coming from other Mediterranean countries. It also has a lot of regional diversity, with an abundance of different flavours from place to place throughout the country. Even though the cuisine is one of the most popular worldwide, in fact many of the dishes are characterised by being quite simple recipes, with often no more than eight ingredients. What makes it special is that the cooks place emphasis on the quality of the ingredients rather than any complicated preparation. Here we look at some of the most famous and popular dishes worldwide that have made Italian cuisine so well known.

Pizza

Pizza is one of the national dishes and is made using a bread base with tomato sauce and toppings. The original pizzas made in Italy came from the south in Naples and included the famous margarita that is supposedly named after a queen. The style of pizza can vary depending on which region it comes from, with Neapolitan pizzas typically having a thicker crust compared to their counterparts in Rome. The traditional Italian toppings include Romana, Quattro Fromaggi, Marinara, Quattro Stagioni, although other toppings from other countries have now become staples, such as Pepperoni that actually originates from America. In some countries some really unusual toppings have appeared – such as squid and smoked eel in Japan and chocolate pizza in Brazil.

Risotto

For risotto, rice is used and mixed with a broth, adding vegetables and spices to give a very creamy texture. This broth can be either based on Fish, Meat or vegetables, and often contains wine, butter and onion. This dish is typically found in the North of Italy, particularly popular in towns such as Milan. Making a good risotto is often quite difficult and one not well cooked can turn out as something like a crunchy rice concoction.

Spaghetti Bolognese

This consists of a meat sauce, infused with vegetables, which is poured on top of spaghetti pasta and topped off with a sprinkling of grated Parmigianino cheese. Although the Bolognese sauce naturally originates from Bologna in North Italy, interestingly the spaghetti pasta was first produced outside of Italy and was introduced by the Arab conquest.

Lasagne

Lasagne is a dish baked in the oven with different layers of pasta, sauce, cheese and often meat or vegetables. It is typically from the centre of Italy but has many regional variations. The name of the dish originally refers to the cooking pot that was used to prepare the food.

Minestrone Soup

A thick soup that uses beans, vegetables and rice – although in fact there is no exact recipe, so it is often open to the cook’s interpretation, depending on what ingredients are in season. The name alludes to a chunky soup and was originally meant for people of low income, being both high in nutrients and relatively cheap to put together.

These are just a few of the many well-known dishes produced from Italy, if one is interested, there are many more to discover.

Emily is passionate about food and have worked closley with EatNow.com.au to write articles on different kind of foods. EatNow provides a quick and easy way to order food online from a network of restaurants and takeaways in Australia. With EatNow, customers can order any food from their mobile, tablet or PC without ever leaving the couch.

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