A pizza garnished with tomato, mushroom and basil
20 Italian Dishes You Need To Try At Least Once
1. Pizza Napoletana
All the various versions of pizza have evolved from pizza Napoletana, aka Neapolitan pizza. It has a set of international regulations that must be met.
Strict guidelines control the pizza's diameter, the width of its raised edge, and the specific dough ingredients. The fermentation of the dough must also meet select requirements.
2. Polenta
Nowadays, polenta is made with ground corn, but a variety of grains were used in the past. The flour is boiled in water, producing a porridge-like mash.
At its most basic, polenta can taste plain, but butter, salt, cheese, or sauces are simple ways to enhance it. Tomato, vegetable, or meat sauces are common ways to dress it up.
3. Ribollita
Traditionally, ribollita was made with bread scraps soaked in meat juices that were added to broth with black cabbage and cannellini beans, topped with daily leftovers.
Present-day renditions include peas, celery, zucchini, and carrots as well as olive oil and grated Parmesan. The consistency can vary depending on the components.
4. Risotto alla Milanese
What sets risotto alla Milanese apart from the rest is its bright yellow color, courtesy of a few strands of saffron that infuse the dish with heady aromas.
Early recipes consisted of rice toasted on butter with onions, slowly cooked in stock. Eventually, wine was added to the dish to balance out the rich flavor with some acidity.
5. Cotoletta alla Milanese
This Viennese dish is made with pork covered with flour and bread crumbs that are fried in oil or butter. The traditional version uses a bone-in veal loin.
The dish is prepared so that the meat won't curl as it cooks — only in clarified butter to be deemed truly Milanese. It's served with fries or mashed potatoes and lemon wedges.