Pasta is now a staple in many countries throughout the world, but we all know that one country does it better than the rest. The Italians created pasta as we know it (even if they did adapt it from Chinese noodles) and are the masters of it. Over the years, they’ve perfected a selection of delicious pasta recipes.
Now you can get pasta anywhere you go, often with whatever kind of sauce you like. But the authentic Italian pasta dishes typically use only a few ingredients, shining through their simplicity. Keep reading to find out what 10 pasta dishes you should eat in Italy.
10 Pasta And Chickpeas: Pasta E Ceci
Pasta e ceci, or pasta and chickpeas, isn’t the first item you see at a standard Italian restaurant in the States. But it is widely eaten in Italy and among Italian families. While it’s known as pasta and chickpeas, it’s actually traditionally more of a soup than a pasta dish.
According to Great Italian Chefs, the chickpeas used in the dish are always soaked and dried before being combined with the pasta. This a great way to get your veggies in, since you can find other chopped vegetables and legumes in this dish as well.
9 Sicilian Pasta: Pasta Alla Norma
Pasta alla Norma is the perfect example of how simplicity can lead to perfection. All that goes into the dressing for this pasta dish are tomatoes, ricotta, basil, and the main ingredient, eggplant. As pointed out by The Local, this pasta was named after an opera by the famous composer Giacomo Puccini.
The Sicilians were the first to come up with this genius recipe, but you can now find it all over Italy. Sicily is famous for quite a few of their regional specialties, including arancini and the beloved dessert cannoli.
8 Pasta With Basil Sauce: Trenette Al Pesto
If you’ve never liked your greens, a good way to be converted would be to eat trenette al pesto. While the north of Italy is known less for pasta dishes and more for rice and polenta, the beautiful region of Liguria did come up with this divine pasta dish.
Trenette is a kind of pasta that looks similar to linguine. The basil sauce known as pesto is now widely available all over the world. But if you want the very best and most authentic version, you still have to go to Liguria!
7 Linguine With Clams: Linguine Alle Vongole
Pasta and seafood often make the perfect mix. The Italians are masters when it comes to their seafood dishes, and spaghetti alle vongole is no exception. Vongole translates to clams, which are undoubtedly the star of this dish. Although you can get seafood pasta with red tomato-based sauces, this tends to just use garlic, wine, and chili.
You can now get spaghetti alle vongole all over Italy (and all around the rest of the world as well). But it’s a good idea to only eat it when you’re in a coastal city. That’s the best way to get a dish that’s so fresh it tastes like the ocean itself.
6 Baked Pasta: Lasagne
Lasagne is now a staple in households all over the world. You can find it in restaurants, cafes, and even supermarkets, frozen and ready to take home. They also sell lasagna sheets in the supermarkets, because who has time to make their pasta from scratch anymore?
No matter how often you have this classic dish at home, you should still try it in Italy to compare the taste. Authentic Italian lasagne and American lasagne tend to have a few differences, primarily relating to the quality and quantity of cheese, as well as the flavor of the sauce.
5 Pasta With Truffles: Strangozzi Al Tartufo Nero
You know you’re fancy when you’re eating strangozzi al tartufo nero. Again, it’s all about simplicity with this dish. All that goes into it is olive oil, garlic, and of course, the truffles. The pasta known as strangozzi comes in a long shape, kind of like a shoelace.
Strangozzi is a typical pasta hailing from the region of Umbria, where the dish itself comes from. As you might have guessed, Umbria, located in the heart of the nation, is known as the black truffle country of Italy.
4 Spaghetti With Garlic And Oil: Spaghetti Aglio E Olio
Sometimes less is more. That’s exactly what the Romans were thinking when they created the classic dish, spaghetti aglio e olio. Translated, this is simply spaghetti with garlic and oil. In some versions, a touch of the hard sheep’s milk cheese called pecorino is also added to give the dish an extra kick of flavor. Some people also choose to add parsley as a garnish and for a little color.
You’re in luck if you like spicy food, as this dish is often served with a generous amount of chili in restaurants throughout Italy. Just remember to chew with your mouth closed!
3 Neapolitan Favorite: Ziti Alla Genovese
Ziti alla Genovese is everything you could want in a pasta dish. The ziti pasta tubes are served with an onion-based sauce that also features slow-cooked meat, carrots, and celery. This one should definitely be on your must-eat list!
The confusing part about pasta alla Genovese is that it doesn’t actually come from Genoa, as the word Genovese implies. While Genoa is a city in the northern region of Liguria, this dish is served in the southern city of Naples, in the region of Campania.
2 Spicy Penne: Penne Arrabbiata
Most Americans are familiar with arrabbiata sauce. In restaurants outside of Italy, this red spicy sauce might come with diced bacon. But the authentic Italian version that originates from the central region of Lazio calls only for garlic, tomatoes, olive oil, and the key ingredient, dried red chili peppers.
In Italian, the word arrabbiata literally translates to angry. It captures the essence of the fiery dish perfectly! Most often, arrabbiata sauce is served with penne pasta, but it might also come with spaghetti or another kind of pasta.
1 Spaghetti With Egg And Bacon: Spaghetti Carbonara
Carbonara is one of those Italian recipes that has often been adapted to suit foreign taste buds. Outside of Italy, if you were to order carbonara, you might get a white sauce made with cream or milk.
But the authentic Italian version is made using only eggs, bacon or cured meat known as guanciale, and cheese such as pecorino or parmesan. Sometimes, cracked pepper and parsley are added. Although the exact origins of this dish are unclear, many believe that it was first created in Rome.