9 Italian Food Dishes That Are Simply Perfetto

italian food

More than just pasta and pizza, Italy is renowned for its delicious cuisine, and its dishes are loved all over the world. From fresh risotto to indulgent desserts, Italian food is a celebration of flavour and tradition. In this guide, we will introduce you to 10 iconic Italian foods, their history, and how to cook them to perfection.

Classic Italian foods you can’t miss out on

1. Spaghetti Carbonara

Spaghetti Carbonara
(Credit: Rob Wicks / Unsplash)

Spaghetti Carbonara is a classic Italian food dish that has been enjoyed for generations. This delicious pasta dish is known for its creamy sauce, crispy bacon, and rich flavors. While there are many different variations of this dish, the traditional recipe calls for just a few simple ingredients.

Ingredients:

  • 450g spaghetti
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • ½ cup diced pancetta or bacon
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Chopped parsley (optional)

Cutlery:

  • Large pot
  • Colander
  • Large skillet
  • Whisk
  • Mixing bowl
  • Pasta server
  • Serving bowl

Instructions:

  1. Cook spaghetti in a large pot of salted boiling water until al dente.
  2. While spaghetti is cooking, heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add pancetta or bacon and cook until crispy. Remove from the skillet and set aside.
  3. In a mixing bowl, whisk together egg yolks, Parmesan cheese, garlic, salt, and pepper until well combined.
  4. Drain the spaghetti and reserve 1 cup of pasta water.
  5. Add the reserved pasta water to the skillet with the pancetta or bacon and stir to combine. Add the cooked spaghetti to the skillet and toss to coat the pasta with the pancetta and water mixture.
  6. Remove the skillet from the heat and pour in the egg mixture. Quickly stir the pasta to coat it in the sauce. The heat from the pasta will cook the eggs and create a creamy sauce.
  7. Serve the Spaghetti Carbonara in a large serving bowl and garnish with chopped parsley, if desired.

2. Margherita Pizza

Margherita Pizza
(Credit: Louis Hansel / Unsplash)

This simple pizza is known for its delicious tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella cheese, and fragrant basil. While there are many different variations of pizza, the Margherita Pizza is the true classic, and is loved all around the world.

Ingredients:

  • 450g pizza dough
  • ½ cup tomato sauce
  • ½ pound fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced
  • Fresh basil leaves
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Olive oil

Cutlery:

  • Rolling pin
  • Pizza stone or baking sheet
  • Pizza cutter or sharp knife

Instructions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 230°C.
  2. Roll out the pizza dough on a floured surface until it is about 1/4 inch thick.
  3. Place the rolled-out dough onto a pizza stone or baking sheet.
  4. Spread the tomato sauce evenly over the dough, leaving a small border around the edges.
  5. Arrange the sliced mozzarella cheese over the sauce, making sure to leave space between the slices.
  6. Sprinkle salt and pepper over the cheese.
  7. Drizzle olive oil over the top of the pizza.
  8. Bake the pizza in the preheated oven for 10 – 12 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and the cheese is melted and bubbly.
  9. Remove the pizza from the oven and let it cool for a few minutes before adding the basil leaves on top.
  10. Slice the pizza and serve.

3. Lasagne

Lasagne
(Credit: Karolina Kołodziejczak / Unsplash)

The history of lasagne can be traced back to ancient Greece, where flat sheets of dough were cooked and layered with meat and sauce. The dish eventually made its way to Italy, where it evolved into the lasagne that we know and love today. Layers of pasta, meat sauce, and creamy béchamel sauce make up this hearty and comforting dish. Lasagne has become a staple of Italian food cuisine, and is a favourite dish in many households around the world. 

Ingredients:

  • 450g lasagne noodles
  • 450g ground beef
  • 225g pound Italian sausage, casings removed
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes
  • 1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • 4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 4 cups Béchamel sauce

Cutlery:

  • Large pot
  • Large skillet
  • 9×13 inch baking dish
  • Mixing spoon
  • Strainer

Instructions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 190°C.
  2. Cook the lasagne noodles according to the package instructions until al dente.
  3. While the noodles are cooking, heat the olive oil (available on Shopee Supermarket) in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and sauté until translucent.
  4. Add the ground beef and Italian sausage to the skillet and cook until browned, breaking up any clumps with a spoon.
  5. Add the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, oregano (available on Shopee Supermarket), basil, salt, and pepper to the skillet. Stir to combine and simmer for 20 – 30 minutes until the sauce has thickened.
  6. Strain the cooked noodles and rinse with cold water to stop them from cooking further.
  7. In a separate saucepan, make the béchamel sauce.
  8. To assemble the lasagne, spread a thin layer of meat sauce on the bottom of the baking dish.
  9. Add a layer of lasagne noodles on top of the meat sauce, followed by a layer of meat sauce, a layer of béchamel sauce, and a layer of shredded mozzarella cheese.
  10. Repeat the layers until all of the ingredients are used up, finishing with a layer of shredded mozzarella cheese and grated Parmesan cheese on top.
  11. Cover the baking dish with foil and bake for 25-30 minutes.
  12. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
  13. Let the lasagne cool for a few minutes before slicing and serving.

4. Risotto

Risotto
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Risotto is a creamy and rich rice dish that is perfect for a comforting meal. Whether you’re a fan of classic Italian cuisine or just looking for some new foods to try, risotto is a dish that you won’t regret.

Ingredients:

  • 1½ cups Arborio rice
  • 4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Cutlery:

  • Large saucepan
  • Wooden spoon
  • Ladle
  • Grater
  • Knife
  • Chopping board
  • Skillet

Instructions: 

  1. In a large saucepan, heat the chicken or vegetable broth over medium heat until it comes to a simmer.
  2. In a separate skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook for 2-3 minutes until the onion is soft and translucent.
  3. Add the Arborio rice to the skillet and stir to coat it in the oil and onion mixture. Cook for 2 – 3 minutes until the rice is slightly toasted.
  4. Add the white wine to the skillet and stir until it is fully absorbed by the rice.
  5. Begin adding the broth to the skillet, one ladle at a time, stirring constantly until each ladleful is fully absorbed by the rice. This process should take about 20-25 minutes.
  6. Taste the risotto and add salt and pepper to your liking.
  7. Once all the broth has been added and absorbed, stir in the grated Parmesan cheese and butter until they are fully melted and incorporated into the risotto.
  8. Serve immediately, garnished with additional Parmesan cheese and fresh herbs if desired.

5. Bruschetta

Bruschetta
(Credit: Konstantinas Ladauskas / Unsplash)

Bruschetta is a classic Italian antipasto that is beloved around the world for its fresh and delicious flavour. The origins of bruschetta can be traced back to central Italy, where it was traditionally a peasant dish made from leftover bread. Bruschetta has since evolved to become a popular appetiser in Italian food cuisine. The toppings have become more varied, with everything from cured meats to cheese to vegetables being used to top the toasted bread.

Ingredients: 

  • 1 loaf of crusty Italian bread, sliced into ½ inch thick slices
  • 4-5 ripe tomatoes, chopped
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • ¼ cup of extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • Balsamic glaze (optional)

Cutlery:

  • Knife
  • Cutting board
  • Large bowl
  • Grill pan or toaster
  • Garlic press (optional)

Instructions: 

  1. Preheat the grill pan or toaster to medium-high heat.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the chopped tomatoes, minced garlic, extra-virgin olive oil (available on Shopee Supermarket), salt, and pepper. Set aside.
  3. Slice the bread into ½ inch thick slices and brush both sides with olive oil.
  4. Grill the bread slices on both sides until lightly charred and crispy.
  5. While the bread is still hot, rub one side of each slice with a garlic clove for added flavour.
  6. Spoon the tomato mixture onto the top of each bread slice and sprinkle with chopped fresh basil.
  7. Drizzle with balsamic glaze (available on Finefood Grocer Official Store) and serve immediately.

6. Tiramisu

italian food Tiramisu
(Credit: min che / Pexels)

If you’re looking for a dessert that’s quintessentially Italian, look no further than tiramisu! This creamy, decadent dessert has been a favourite of Italian food lovers for decades, and it’s not hard to see why. With layers of sponge cake, mascarpone cheese, and espresso, it’s the perfect end to any meal.

Ingredients:

  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1¼ cups granulated sugar
  • 1¼ cups mascarpone cheese
  • 1¾ cups heavy cream
  • 1½ cups strong brewed coffee, cooled
  • ½ cup coffee liqueur
  • 1 package ladyfingers
  • ¼ cup cocoa powder
  • ¼ cup grated chocolate

Cutlery:

  • Electric mixer
  • Mixing bowl
  • Whisk
  • 9×13 inch baking dish
  • Rubber spatula
  • Sifter

Instructions: 

  1. In a mixing bowl, whisk the egg yolks and sugar until the mixture becomes light and frothy.
  2. Add the mascarpone cheese to the egg mixture and whisk until the mixture becomes creamy and smooth.
  3. In a separate mixing bowl, whisk the heavy cream until it forms soft peaks.
  4. Gently fold the whipped cream into the mascarpone mixture.
  5. In a small bowl, combine the coffee and coffee liqueur.
  6. Dip each ladyfinger (available on Shopee Supermarket) into the coffee mixture and place them at the bottom of a 9×13 inch baking dish.
  7. Cover the ladyfingers with a layer of the mascarpone mixture.
  8. Sift a layer of cocoa powder over the mascarpone mixture.
  9. Repeat steps 6 – 8 until all the ladyfingers and mascarpone mixture have been used. The final layer should be the mascarpone mixture.
  10. Cover the dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or overnight.
  11. Before serving, sift a layer of cocoa powder and grated chocolate over the top of the tiramisu.
  12. Cut into slices and serve chilled.

7. Polenta

italian food Polenta
(Credit: Bakd&Raw by Karolin Baitinger / Unsplash)

Polenta is a traditional Italian food dish that has been enjoyed for centuries. It is a staple in Northern Italy and is often served as a side dish or as a main meal with various toppings. Polenta is made from boiled cornmeal that is cooked to a creamy consistency and then served hot or cooled and cut into slices. It is a versatile dish that can be flavoured in many different ways, making it a great addition to any meal.

Ingredients: 

  • 1 cup of polenta
  • 4 cups of water
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tbsp of butter (optional)
  • Grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

Cutlery: 

  • Medium pot with lid
  • Wooden spoon
  • Mixing bowl
  • Whisk

Instructions:

  1. In a medium pot, bring 4 cups of water to a boil. Add a pinch of salt.
  2. While the water is boiling, add 1 cup of polenta to a mixing bowl.
  3. Once the water comes to a boil, gradually whisk the polenta into the pot.
  4. Reduce heat to low and continue to whisk the polenta until it begins to thicken.
  5. Cook the polenta, stirring frequently, for about 30 – 40 minutes. The polenta should be thick and creamy when it’s done.
  6. If using butter, stir in the butter until it’s fully melted and combined with the polenta.
  7. Remove the polenta from heat and transfer it to a serving dish. Sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese, if desired.

8. Arancini

italian food Arancini
(Credit: Shameel mukkath / Pexels)

Arancini, also known as “arancine” in Sicily, are delicious balls of fried rice typically filled with meat, tomato sauce, and cheese. This popular Italian food dish is a staple and it’s easy to see why – it’s the perfect combination of crispy, crunchy, and savoury. 

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Arborio rice
  • 2¼ cups chicken stock
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • ½ cup cooked, crumbled Italian sausage
  • ½ cup marinara sauce
  • ½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1½ cups panko breadcrumbs
  • Vegetable oil, for frying
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Cutlery: 

  • Large saucepan
  • Mixing bowls
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Wooden spoon
  • Small cookie scoop or spoon
  • Deep fryer or large frying pan
  • Slotted spoon
  • Paper towels

Instructions: 

  1. Rinse the rice in a fine mesh strainer and drain well.
  2. In a large saucepan, bring the chicken stock to a boil. Add the rice and stir well. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and simmer for 18 – 20 minutes, or until the rice is tender and the liquid has been absorbed.
  3. Remove the rice from the heat and stir in the Parmesan cheese, parsley, Italian sausage, and marinara sauce. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Spread the rice mixture out on a large baking sheet and let it cool to room temperature.
  5. Use a small cookie scoop or spoon to form the rice mixture into balls, about 1 – 2 tablespoons each. Press a small indentation in the centre of each ball and fill it with shredded mozzarella cheese. Cover the cheese with more rice mixture and roll the ball between your palms to create a smooth, round shape.
  6. In a shallow dish, whisk together the flour and a pinch of salt. In another shallow dish, beat the eggs. In a third shallow dish, place the panko breadcrumbs.
  7. Dip each arancini ball in the flour mixture, shaking off any excess, then dip it in the beaten eggs, and finally coat it in the panko breadcrumbs. Place the coated balls on a baking sheet and chill them in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
  8. Heat the vegetable oil in a deep fryer or large frying pan to 177°C. Fry the arancini balls in batches, turning occasionally, until they are golden brown and crispy on the outside, about 3 – 5 minutes per batch.
  9. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the arancini balls to a paper towel-lined plate to drain off any excess oil.
  10. Serve the arancini hot, with additional marinara sauce on the side for dipping.

9. Gnocchi

italian food Gnocchi
(Credit: Karolina Grabowska / Pexels)

Gnocchi is a traditional Italian food dish made with potato, flour and egg, and is a delicious and comforting dish that is sure to satisfy your hunger. The origins of gnocchi can be traced back to the ancient Roman Empire, where it was a popular food among the upper class. The dish evolved over time, with different regions of Italy adding their own unique twists and variations to the recipe. Today, gnocchi is enjoyed all over the world and is a beloved staple of Italian cuisine.

Ingredients:

  • 1 kg potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 300g plain flour
  • 1 egg
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Parmesan cheese, for serving
  • Fresh basil leaves, for garnish

Cutlery:

  • Large pot
  • Potato masher or ricer
  • Mixing bowl
  • Fork or spatula
  • Wooden board
  • Knife
  • Large pot for boiling water
  • Colander
  • Large serving dish

Instructions: 

  1. Start by boiling the potatoes until they are soft and tender. Drain the water and let the potatoes cool for a few minutes.
  2. Once the potatoes have cooled, mash them using a potato masher (available on MUJI Official Store) or ricer. Add the egg and mix well.
  3. Gradually add the flour, stirring with a fork or spatula until a soft dough forms. You may not need to use all the flour, so add it gradually until you have the desired consistency.
  4. On a floured wooden board, roll the dough into long, thin logs. Use a knife to cut the logs into bite-sized pieces.
  5. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the gnocchi to the boiling water and cook for 2-3 minutes or until they float to the surface.
  6. Use a colander to drain the gnocchi and transfer them to a large serving dish.
  7. Season the gnocchi with salt and pepper, to taste. Garnish with Parmesan cheese and fresh basil leaves.

The best Italian food that will have your guests going grazie mille!

Italian food is known for its simplicity, yet bold flavours and these dishes are no exception. From pizza to tiramisu, you’ll be able to create delicious Italian food in your kitchen with this easy-to-follow guide! Otherwise, give these Indian curry recipes or lassi recipes a go too!

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