Italy is a most diverse country in many ways, from its landscape to it culture. Each different region has its own particular wine and food, depending on what can be grown and raised in that area. The food of Italy changes from the large towns of the north to the plains of the central region and down to the coastal regions of the south.
And this is a culinary journey across this great food nation to find the most iconic dishes of Italy including pasta to pizza and everything in between. It is not meant to be a best of list, but merely to highlight the diversity of the foods in Italy.
The humble pizza is probably the most iconic dish from Italy and is famous throughout the world. Although it is probably the most simplest of dishes, and one of the easiest to prepare and cook it has claimed its place at the top of world food.
Compared to other world fast-foods such a fried chicken and beef burgers, the pizza is fairly healthy and with simple toppings it is delicious. Italians prefer their pizzas simple and with few toppings, and definitely with no pineapple.
Instantly recognizable and the ultimate comfort food, Lasagna is not just popular in Italy but across the world. The large sheets of pasta are layered with ragu, bechamel sauce and mozzarella and then baked in the oven to produce a highly succulent and very filling dish. The best place to eat it in Italy is Emilia Romagna where it is made with fresh pasta, and a unique ragu sauce.
This T-bone steak ticks all the boxes for one of the ten most iconic Italian dishes, it is an individual cut of meat, from a particular animal, prepared a special way of a specific region. The cow happens to be a Chiania cow raised in Tuscany, and the cut has to be a minimum of 5cm from the animal’s loin.
This steak and the way it is prepared and cooked can only be found in Tuscany, and it is so big (1-2kg) that it is meant to be for two people. It is normally presented by itself with no adornments and eaten just simply as a meat course.
Pasta is recognized as one of Italy’s most famous dishes, but the truth of the matter is that Italy’s famous starch in the south of the country is Polenta. Made from corn, Polenta was the turn-to mush for many of the workers in the fields. It lacks the variations of pasta in form and texture but is a perfect accompaniment to a wide range of meats, and is perfect for stews and gravies.
When temperatures drop in the northern parts of Italy it is the best dish to warm the cockles of the heart. And it can be eaten hot or cold so it is perfect for picnics or eaten with leftover meats, chicken, and of course vegetables.