What are Some Examples of Italian Cuisine?

Article Details
  • Written By: Jessica Ellis
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 09 September 2019
  • Copyright Protected:
    Conjecture Corporation
  • Print this Article
Free Widgets for your Site/Blog
The population density of Manhattan has decreased by nearly 25 percent since the early 20th century.  more...

October 14 ,  1962 :  The Cuban Missile Crisis began.  more...

Italian food is loved throughout the world for its hearty flavors and filling combinations. Italy, situated in the verdant climate of the Mediterranean, has long been home to a variety of food and flavors, with an ancient emphasis on eating fresh and seasonal foods. Thanks to its rich historical tradition, many of the dishes beloved in Italian cuisine today have their roots in farming and cooking practices dating back more than a thousand years.

The first known Italian food writer was a Archestratus, a Greek Sicilian who lived in the 4th century BCE. Archestratus’ writings insist on the freshness and seasonality of food, noting that spices should not be used to mask a flavor but rather to enhance its natural properties. Although the popularity of this concept waxed and waned with the centuries, the idea of highlighting fresh flavors eventually became a cornerstone of Italian cuisine.

Many people instantly conjure up an image of a hearty pasta dish when thinking of Italian cooking. Some experts believe that pasta came to Italy during the 9th century, adapted from an Arabic recipe that combined flour and water to make long strings of a pasta-like substance. Today, Italy has perfected pasta in a variety of forms. In addition to stringy spaghetti, filled pastas like ravioli, and other noodles of various forms, Italian cuisine also includes gnocchi, dumpling-like pasta made from potatoes.


Gnocchi and other pastas are most often served in a sauce. One of the most common forms of pasta sauce, marinara, is made from a tomato base and often includes herbs such as basil and oregano as well as garlic and onions. Many classic Italian dishes simply add vegetables sautéed in olive oil or various meats and cheese to a basic pasta and sauce dish.

Italian cuisine is also noted for its use of seafood in many dishes. Calamari, from the Italian word calamaro is a famous squid preparation, deep-fried and garnished with parmesan cheese. This dish is a popular appetizer and has gained global fame. Fish dishes in Italian cuisine are often simple and reflect the seasonality of Italian food. Fish cooked with parsley, lemon juice and olive oil is a simple dish that offers a world of variations while keeping the integrity of the original flavors.

Italian desserts are a marvel in delicate pastry work. One of the most popular is tiramisu, a near-mythic concoction of espresso and marsala-wine flavored sponge cake layered with heavy custard and coated in cocoa powder. Italian cuisine also blesses the world with gelato, a dense frozen dessert similar to ice-cream but usually more rich and creamy.

Italian cuisine offers something for everyone, whatever your taste in food. While seafood lovers can find a host of choices among classic dishes, vegetarians are treated to a near endless combination of pastas, sauce and vegetable preparations. Added to traditional Italian cheeses such as pecorino or mozzarella, flavorful combinations of classic espresso, and enough desserts to inspire drooling, Italian cuisine surely ranks as one of the most popular and crowd-pleasing genres of food world-wide.


You might also Like


Discuss this Article

Post 3

My favorite Italian food is mozzarella cheese, fresh mozzarella specifically. It's so versatile and can make a great meal with some bread and pesto. It's my lunch most of the year. I make a sandwich with fresh mozzarella, basil pesto and sun-dried tomatoes.

I think that the simplest Italian recipes are the best, like bruchetta and caprese salad. I like these dishes with fresh simple ingredients. They're satisfying and also easy to digest.

Post 2

Tomatoes have become such an essential ingredient for Italian dishes. It's surprising because tomatoes are originally from the Americas and were introduced to Europe fairly late. But now, we can't even imagine tomato based Italian recipes like spaghetti sauce and lasagna otherwise.

Post 1

Don't forget the amazing Italian meatballs and breads! And also cream puffs for dessert.

My roommate is Italian and she loves to cook. I'm very lucky because she has treated me to delicious Italian meals many times. She made a pesto and salami filled eggplant dish the other day. She also makes lasagna all the time and her favorite dessert of choice is cream puff pastries.

I like to return her kindness with traditional Polish dishes since my family is originally Polish. We sometimes have massive cooking days where we just cook and eat with friends.

Post your comments

Post Anonymously


forgot password?