5 MOST POPULAR ITALIAN MEALS

The 5 Italian meals I’ve listed here have been enjoyed for centuries and continue to be served in Italy and all around the world.

The influence of Italian cuisine is undeniable. From Pizza to pasta, it’s all over the world and in many of our homes. Why? Because it’s delicious!  

It seems that Italians have mastered the art of cooking – after all, they’ve been at it for centuries! They are renowned for their use of fresh ingredients and simplicity in recipes.

The ingredients used in Italian cooking are some of the most scrutinised in the world. They will not trade quality for price. And because of this, each meal is created using the finest sought ingredients. This is what defines Italian cuisine everywhere in the world.

Are you curious to know which are Italy’s most popular meals? 

I’ve managed to narrow it down to the top 5, and trust me, it was hard!

Margherita 

It is claimed that Queen Margherita, on her journey through Italy, fell in love with the garnished flatbreads sold to the poor and requested a baker named Raphelle to make her some pizzas to try. Her favourite version, which used tomatoes, mozzarella, and fresh basil as a tribute to the Italian flag’s colours, was named after her. Pizza Margherita is still one of Italy’s most popular pizza options today.

Many foreigners coming to Australia miss the simplicity of a thin-crusted pizza cooked in wood-fired ovens topped with beautiful fresh ingredients.  Pizza has definitely been westernised over the years, and here it is often packed with too many ingredients, heavy layers of creams or sauces and lots of cheese, which to me is entirely the opposite of the art of Italian Pizza.

Margheritas are so popular because they’re so simple, yet delicious! It has all the key ingredients of a good pizza: mozzarella, tomatoes and basil. The Margherita not only tastes great but looks great too! You don’t have to be Italian to know that Italians are very passionate about their culture and everything they do. Our culture is what makes our Margherita so special because it is a big part of us. Every time it is served, no matter where in the world, it represents our colours, pride, and love of life.

Lasagna

There’s truly nothing more comforting than a hot bubbling baked lasagna made with homemade beef ragu, bechamel sauce, silky pasta and topped with melted mozzarella cheese! This traditional Italian meal will be a comfort food favourite.

This very popular Italian meal that we all know and love today originated in Naples, Italy during the Middle Ages. When Lasagna was initially created, it looked quite different from what we know as a typical lasagna dish today. It consisted of pasta and sauce stacked on top of one another without typical Italian ingredients. Lasagna is believed to have been inspired by Lasanum, which was a Roman dish. Italians adopted this phrase to refer to the container in which the meal was served. After that point, the meal grew in popularity and acquired its current name.

There are many variations of the Lasagna today, which probably adds to why it is so popular.

The classic Lasagna of Naples, known as “Lasagna di Carnevale,” contains local sausage, fried meatballs, hard-boiled eggs, ricotta or mozzarella, and Neapolitan Ragu. One of the most well-known variations of this lasagna dinner is “Lasagna al Forno.” This dish comes from Emilia-Romagna in Italy and consists of ricotta or mozzarella, thick Ragu, bechamel sauce, wine, onion, oregano, and spinach-filled green noodles. The History of Lasagne wouldn’t be complete without variety throughout the regions of Italy.

Meatballs

When it comes to Italian meatballs, there are two key elements: the quality of the ingredients and the way they’re handled. This implies utilising fresh ingredients like beef (or pork or veal), properly salting and peppering them, and adding herbs like parsley or basil; mixing by hand until thoroughly combined. The second component is how they’re cooked.

The perfect meatball sauce to compliment your Italian meal requires simmering for at least one hour on low heat to combine all ingredients into one delicious meal! This is a crucial step and should not be rushed to ensure the sauce is not watery and weaker in taste.

Meatballs are customarily served as a side dish, appetiser, or between courses in Italy. This varies greatly from how meatballs are eaten around the world, where they’re normally served with spaghetti and bolognese sauce.

Our Italian Restaurant in Sydney serves polpette (meatballs) the authentic way, Slow cooked beef meatballs in classic sugo, with Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese & garlic Italian flatbread.

Carbonara (the real one!!!)

Carbonara was first created in Rome, part of the Lazio Region, after World War Two in the Mid 20th century. We don’t use milk, cream, garlic, onions, or any other unusual ingredients in Italy; instead, we use only guanciale, eggs, pecorino cheese, and lots of black pepper, as the way it should be!

Carbonaras are widespread in Italy, but outside of the country, they are often unrecognisable. These foreign variants, coated in a thick cream sauce and occasionally include peas and bacon, bear little resemblance to the traditional carbonara recipe used in Rome. Topped with Pecorino cheese instead of the usual traditional parmiggiano or parmesan is what makes this Italian Pasta dish stand out from others. It’s a very distinct flavour but makes all the difference.

If you’re a fan of this Italian pasta, forget everything you think you know about carbonara and let my food amaze you here at Italian Street Kitchen, where you will find the real deal.

Gelato

You might not think of it as a meal, Gelato is still an Iconic product of Italy adored all around the world, and almost, if not just as much as a pizza or pasta.

The components of gelato make it far superior to ordinary ice cream. Gelato is made with whole milk rather than cream, making it less rich and creamy (but still delicious!). Its texture is smoother, creamier, and silkier than ice cream. It is also less in fats and contains fewer air particles.

Ice cream is produced by combining milk and sugar with vegetable fats and air to create a more dense product. Ice cream contains at least 20% butterfat after being manufactured through this process, which often involves pasteurising the components before freezing them. It can even contain more than twice that amount! Because of its high-fat content, ice cream’s structure is considerably heavier than gelato’s.

With thousands of flavours and varieties available, Gelato is definitely considered one of the most popular Italian meals. Try out my Gelato Sandwich recipe next time you’re in store !

 These Italian meals can also be found on our menu at Italian Street Kitchen or when searching, Italian Restaurant near me, where they’re prepared with authenticity and care by me and our very own ‘food artisans’ and chefs!

Arrivederci e Buon Appetito!! (Goodbye and enjoy your meal!)

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