Where Did Your Favorite Italian Dishes Come From
Italy is a large country with an even larger array of diverse cuisine. With 20 different regions, each one has its own take on Italian dishes and how they are served. The dishes that Americans are most familiar with (pizza, tortellini, etc.) are not from one particular area of Italy, but a variety of regions. Let’s take a look at some of the different dishes that we have all come to love and learn about where they came from:
Lombardy – Northern Italy (Capital: Milan)
Northern Italy is known for its mountainous landscape and its cattle. Due to an abundance of cattle, meals are often prepared with butter rather than olive oil. Lombardy is home to dishes such as the rice-like pasta Risotto and the veal dish Osso Buco. You may also be familiar with Mascarpone and Gorgonzola cheese, which also originated from this beautiful area.
Emilia-Romagna (Capital: Bologna)
Emilia-Romagna has picturesque hills as far as the eye can see. This vibrant city is rich in meats and known for its super-eggy pasta. The widely loved pasta dish tortellini originated here back in the 1500s. With the capital of this region being Bologna, it is no surprise that Bolognese sauce is also from this part of Italy.
Lazio (Capital: Rome)
One of the most famous parts of Italy is Lazio, which is home to the wonderful city of Rome. This historic cosmopolitan city is full of beautiful architecture and delicious food. The popular dish, bruschetta, originated here and has won over the hearts of millions all across the world. The hearty pasta dish fettuccine alfredo was first served in Rome in 1914 by a gentleman named Alfredo di Lelio. As the story goes, he was trying to cook a dish that would please his pregnant wife, who at the time was unbelievably nauseous. His wife loved the dish, so he added it to his restaurant’s menu and the rest is history.
Campania (Capital: Naples)
The beautiful city of Naples is the capital of the Campania region. The brightly colored buildings along the water make for the perfect view while enjoying a slice of margherita pizza. Everyone’s favorite cheesy dish was created in the late 1800’s in Naples when King Umberto I and Queen Margherita visited. It is said that calzones were first created here as well.
Sicily – Southern Italy (Palermo)
Sicily is a stunning island in Italy with an unbelievable landscape. Here, you can enjoy delicious caponata, but be sure to save room for a delectable cannoli! This deep-fried pastry is now sold all over the world, but originated in western Sicily.