FAMOUS DISHES OF ITALY’S REGIONS

Abruzzo: Lamb with egg

Considering the region’s long history as shepherds, it’s unsurprising that the culinary traditions of Abruzzo are centred around agnello – lamb. This dish also goes well with the most common wine of the region – Montepulciano D’Abruzzo, a medium-bodied red.

Basilicata: Pasta e ceci

Olive oil and chickpeas (ceci) are mixed together with a type of pasta made without eggs, called lagane, which looks similar to pappardelle. While pasta and chickpeas is a famous dish throughout Southern Italy, the people of Basilicata almost always serve theirs with a hefty dose of hot chillis.

Lagane, ceci e peperoni cruschi

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Calabria: Pasta alla Norma

Shorter pasta shapes like rigatoni are used, as well as aubergine fried in olive oil, tomato sauce and ricotta salata – salted ricotta. Made with sheep’s milk, it’s slightly sour taste gives the pasta dish a unique flavour, and its harder texture allows it to be crumbled over the top of the dish. See one of our readers make it here.

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Campania: Pizza Napoletana

Is there anything that says Italy more than pizza? It all began in Naples, and while the history behind the famous Neapolitan pizza still remains up for discussion, the strict guidelines for the ingredients used to create la vera pizza napoletana – the true Neapolitan pizza – stand strong: A thick-rimmed pizza built in a wood-burning domed oven, traditionally topped with cow’s milk mozzarella and tomato sauce.

Emilia-Romagna: Erbazzone

Made from cupboard essentials and popularised by housewives, Erbazzone (whose name means “herbs pie”, as the pastry is often filled with vegetables, most commonly spinach) is a street food often consumed alongside a Lambrusco wine.

Friuli Venezia Giulia: Frico

Frico consists of shredded cheese and potatoes, and can be served soft (with potatoes and onions) or brittle (with grated hard cheese). It is also often eaten alongside another regional favourite: polenta. Frico morbido con la polenta (as seen below) literally translates to soft frico with polenta, and it is comfort food at its finest.

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Lazio: Roman Spring Lamb

Despite being home to the built-up, commercial area of Rome, Lazio is still a strong farmland region, where family cooking and traditions remain strong. Abbacchio alla Romana, or Roman Spring Lamb, was originally only a springtime treat, with abbacchio referring to the type of very young lamb raised on the pastureland near the country’s capital that is used for the dish.

Le Marche: Brodetto all’Anconetana

Named after the Ancona sea, this fish soup (which is actually more like a stew), is slightly spicy and tomato-based, traditionally made from all the local catch. Legend has it that 13 different types of fish are used in order to remind the diners of the Last Supper, and whether true or not, who could complain about 13 different types of fish all in one dish.

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Liguria: Farinata

Farinata gives its name to both the chickpea flour, and the savoury flatbreads you can make with it, which are also known as Torta di Ceci, Cecina in other parts of the country, or even Socca in Nice, France. Made from simply flour, olive oil and water then seasoned with herbs – most popularly rosemary – they’re also naturally gluten-free.

Lombardy: Risotto alla Milanese

A saffron-infused, vividly-coloured, creamy rice dish that’s the pride and joy of Milan, Risotto alla Milanese is best accompanied by ossobucco – bone marrow, for a plate that’s the epitome of authentic Italian cuisine. Read our recipe for it here.

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