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5 Dishes you have to Eat in Italy

When one thinks of Italian gastronomy, what most likely will come to their minds are pasta and pizza, am I wrong? Of course, these dishes are perfectly cooked in Italy! It is no coincidence that Italy’s pasta and pizza have garnered international recognition. But, the truth is that there are many other dishes that are exceptionally tasty and which show the strong character of the Italians.

If you are a foodie, you’ll agree with me that a country’s gastronomy is part of the tourism. So, let’s have a look at the 5 must-taste dishes when you rent one of our Venice, Florence, Milan, Rome or anywhere else in Italy.

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5 Dishes you have to Eat in Italy - Arancini
Saffron risotto Arancini filled with Beef & Peas. Photo credit: Lucas Richarz

A typical dish from the Sicilian coast, these are rice balls coated with breadcrumbs and filled with ragu (meat sauce), tomato sauce, mozzarella, and/or peas. They are orange colored due to the saffron and are normally served as an appetizer.

My friend Christina of Christina's Cucina has a great recipe to make Arancini at home.

Risotto alla Milanese

5 Dishes you have to Eat in Italy - Risotto alla Milanese
Photo credit: Thomas Strosse.

It’s a typical dish from the North of Italy. Don’t be fooled, the authentic risotto alla milanese only has three ingredients: the first one Piedmont rice, the second one is the grated cheese from Parma, and the third one it’s the Lombard’s sausage.

Try this Food52 recipe to make risotto alla milanese at home.


5 Dishes you have to Eat in Italy - Porchetta
Photo credit: Taz

Pay attention because this dish is not only roasted boned suckling pig aromatized with herbs but it’s also a “prodotto agroalimentare tradizionale”. It's as fatty as it is succulent…

I personally had the best porchetta sandwich of my life in San Francisco. You can get it on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays.

To make porchetta at home, check out this recipe from Bon Appetit.

Parmigiana di melanzane

5 Dishes you have to Eat in Italy - Parmigiana di melanzane
Photo credit: David Pitts

This is a Southern Italian dish. Melanzane means aubergine (eggplant), info which gives you a clue of what it contains. It’s aubergine (eggplant) with Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, egg, tomato sauce and basil leaves. Delicious.

You've got to try this eggplant parmesan recipe from Jul's Kitchen!

Spaghetti alla Carbonara

5 Dishes you have to Eat in Italy - Spaghetti alla Carbonara
Photo credit: Luca Nebuloni

I know this is pasta, but believe me, it’s almost impossible to go to Italy and not eat pasta! Trust me, you’ll see this dish and won’t be able to resist. As this recipe’s origin is from the Roman area and they really master how to cook it. The original recipe only contains eggs, black pepper and guanciale (you can substitute guanciale for bacon as it is very hard to find).

I love this recipe for spaghetti alla carbonara from The Kitchn.

Buon appetito!

How about you? What’s your favorite Italian dish that is NOT pizza or pasta?

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5 Dishes you have to Eat in Italy

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  1. Lady Jennie says:

    My Italian friend adds lemon zest to the carbonara dish.

    1. @Jennie, oh, that sounds divine!