It may come as no surprise that Italy is the biggest consumer and producer of pasta. But did you know there are over 300 different pasta shapes? No doubt, this creates a limitless amount of recipe concoctions, from simple noodles and sauce to more elaborate pasta dishes made with meat and vegetables. Listed below are just a few of the classic creations we’ve all come to know and love. What’s your favorite?
This is by far a staple in Italian cuisine. It dates all the way back to the 5th century AD, and there are a variety of dishes based on it. Spaghetti is normally prepared with a meat and tomato sauce. The rich sauce is comprised of various herbs, with oregano and basil being at the top of the list. Hard cheeses, like Parmesan and Romano, are often grated and sprinkled on top. Newer, more modern spaghetti dishes contain vegetables, such as carrots and zucchini.
Another oldie but goodie is the most celebrated of all flat pasta creations – lasagna! This famous cuisine is known for its assembled layers of pasta, ricotta cheese, and a hearty meat and tomato sauce. It’s usually topped with a layer of shredded mozzarella cheese before it goes in the oven. When it’s cooked through, the casserole is cut into square portions before serving. Some recipe variations include vegetables, like spinach and eggplant.
Macaroni & Cheese
You can’t beat a classic like mac and cheese! A favorite amongst kids and adults alike, this dish consists of cooked macaroni noodles smothered in a rich cheddar cheese sauce. Modern stovetop recipes include butter and milk, but there are some who prefer the baked casserole-style mac and cheese that incorporates meat, vegetables, and breadcrumbs. Cheddar cheese is sometimes substituted or combined with other cheeses, namely Gouda, Gruyere, and Parmesan.
This well-known Italian meal is a mixture of fettuccine pasta tossed with Parmesan cheese and butter. It was named after chef Alfredo di Lelio, who popularized it in his restaurant in Rome. Some recipe versions contain heavy cream, and it’s most often served as a main entrée with chicken. Many stores now carry jarred Alfredo sauce, which makes throwing this scrumptious dish together with a breeze!
These simple Italian dishes are as close to comfort food as you can possibly get, and they’ve continuously stood the test of time. They’re super easy to prepare and perfect for any occasion. Now, as the Italians would say – “Mangiamo!” (Simply translated – “Let’s eat!”)