The ten best pasta dishes in Italy
You will want to try them all ...
You'll want to try them all ... © Getty Images
If there is anything that Italians can boast, it is about their cuisine and good cuisine. Its fresh pasta is delightful. And their sauces a blessing for those who enjoy dipping bread.
Each region, province and town Make the pasta your way, with its own ingredients and a lot of tradition.
We select ten of the most delicious pasta dishes you should try (at least) once in a lifetime.
1. FETUCCINI ALLA PUTTANESCA (NAPLES)
If there is a pasta dish whose name is easy to remember, that is the name of the fetuccini alla puttanesca (or "in the style of prostitutes"). Its name comes from the prostitutes of Naples, who prepared this recipe between client and client to regain strength. And they did it with the first thing they found in the pantry, which used to be: garlic, tomato, dried chillies, virgin olive oil and anchovies in brine. It is also said that this recipe was made in the 50s, in restaurants with dating houses. Hence its name of 'bad fame'. All in all, this Neapolitan dish is a delight. The fishy flavor invades everything.
Pasta "in the style of prostitutes" © Corbis
2. TRENETTE TO PESTO (GENOA)
We travel to the northwest of Italy, to the Liguria region to discover one of the healthiest pasta dishes that exist: Trenette al Pesto. Its intense green color reveals one of the most famous sauces in Italy: pesto. In this recipe, the trenette, similar to spaghetti, are prepared with basil, garlic and extra olive oil. It is surprising how simple ingredients result in such a rich dish. Do not be surprised if the recipe adds beans and potatoes cooked in pieces. According to tradition, this gives more flavor and integrity to the dish. It is possible to find this same recipe made with noodles or linguine.
Pesto, one of the most famous sauces © Corbis
3. PANSOTTI ALLA GENOVESE (LIGURIA)
The pansotti they are a type of pasta similar to those ravioli but much bigger. They are typical of the Genoa region and, unlike the ravioli, they are not stuffed with meat, but with vegetables. As a curiosity, its shape reminds us of a belly. In Genoa they like it a lot with Walnut sauce and wild herbs growing on the Ligurian coast -Like the preboggion-. For cheese lovers, in this dish you will find the delicious Parmesan or the prescinseua, well known in the region and with a consistency halfway between yogurt and cottage cheese.
Pansotti stuffed with vegetables © Corbis
4. SPAGUETTI AL RAGÙ ALLA BOLOGNESE (BOLOGNA)
We could say that Bolognese spaghetti is one of the most internationalized Italian dishes and with more variants that exist. Hence it is very difficult to find a place where the traditional recipe is faithfully reproduced, as the Italians of Bologna do. Originally, This dish was cooked without tomato and the meat was cooked in white wine and milk. The origins of this sauce are lost in Ancient Rome and in the Middle Ages. In Bologna, this stew was born at the noble tables of the nobles. Today, the recipe considered official is that of Emilia Romagna, presented in 1982 by a delegation from Bologna in the Chamber of Commerce. It emphasizes using a cut of lean meat called cartella beef or veal (never pork) and saute vegetables with bacon.
The original recipe, without tomato © Corbis
5. VERMICELLI WITH LE VONGOLE (NAPLES)
The Neapolitans love the sea and it shows in their cuisine. One of its most traditional dishes is the vermicelli with le vongole or Spaghetti with clams, perfect to accompany with a good white wine from the region. It is cooked with a stir-fried garlic and virgin olive oil, white wine and clams from the Adriatic Sea. Add a pinch of pepper or pinocini (a type of Italian chili). And now is when it comes the small dispute between the Italians: the tomato. There are those who add it and who prefer to take it without it (in this case the dish is known as spaghetti alle vongole in bianco). They say that the tomato version is much tastier. You will have to try both to check.
The sea made pasta © Corbis
6. PAPPARDELLE SULLA LEPRE (TUSCANY)
In addition to good wines and film landscapes, Tuscany has pasta dishes that are real delicacies. The one we like the most is the Pappardelle sulla lepre, a plate of wide pasta tapes (similar to noodles) accompanied with hare sauce, very typical of the hunting season. The secret is to marinate the hare into pieces and cook it with Chianti wine. The result is an exquisite dense sauce enriched by the pulp of the hare. It is a blunt and very nutritious dish. Prepare the bread because the sauce is for dipping and not stopping.
The hunter's pasta © Corbis
7. PASTA WITH LE SARDE (SICILY)
Another dish that brings the taste of the sea to the table is pasta with Sardinian alla Sicilian. Very typical of the area of Palermo, this recipe combines the flavor of fresh sardines with wild fennel. It also has pine nuts, roasted almonds, sultanas (typical Sicilian raisins) and saffron. Sometimes you can add some anchovy in oil to intensify the flavor. When choosing fresh pasta, Italians love to prepare the cche sardi pasta (so it says in Sicilian) with bucatinis, busiates or maccheroni. Before serving, must remain a few minutes in the oven. It is a very old dish, its origin dates back to the time of the Arab invasions of Sicily and Malta. Afterwards, Romans and Greeks continued to perfect the dish to this day. If we visit the island, we will find several versions. In Catania, for example, substitute sardines for anchovies.
The spaghetti of the Sicilians © Corbis
8. BUCATINI ALL´AMATRICIANA (ROME)
If you travel to Rome, you cannot leave without asking for good ones bucatini all'amatriciana. Originating in Amatrice, in the Lazio region, This dish is a favorite of the Romans. To prepare this recipe they are used bucatini, a kind of spaghetti with a hollow hole inside. The sauce, known as screams, is made of guanciale (Italian bacon), chilli pepper, olive oil and tomato simmered. If you like spicy food, you will enjoy the chilli that leaves the chilli. In the town of Amatrice they still prepare the original recipe with spaghetti and without tomato.
Bucatini all'amatriciana: a very Roman dish © Corbis
9. TORTELLI DI ZUCCA (LOMBARDY)
We return to northern Italy, to Mantua, where we find a type of stuffed pasta declared as a traditional agri-food product. We talk about the delicious tortelli di zucca, considered a symbol of Mantuaan cuisine and the region of Lombardy, where it is still maintained the tradition of preparing them as a first course at Christmas Eve dinner. The tortelli they are stuffed with a mixture of boiled pumpkin, amaretti -some cookies made with almond paste-, mustard, parmesan cheese and nutmeg. This recipe comes from the Middle Ages and is an explosion of flavors. Dedicate your time to each bite and you will discover how sweet is mixed with salty and spicy mustard. Usually accompanied with melted butter in bread, although in Piacenza they do it with a mushroom sauce porcini.
The tortelli of Mantua © Corbis
10. SPAGUETTI CARBONARA (ROME)
A classic that can not be missing in a good Italian table are the spaghetti carbonara. Its origin is located in Rome and the original recipe is based on eggs, cheese pecorino Roman or Parmesan, extra virgin olive oil, guanciale and black pepper. Although there are chefs and restaurants that prepare it with cream, for Italians is a big mistake. A sacrilege for the original recipe. To compare, it is as if we put fried tomato in Valencian paella. The name of this sauce comes from coal: in northern Italy it was an indispensable dish in the miners' diet. It is also said that the visual effect of the sauce when you add the black pepper is associated with this mineral. And hence his name.
* This article was initially published on 04/22/2014
A classic Italian table © Corbis