Delicious Foods to Eat in Italy (That Aren't Pasta or Pizza)


The land of pizza and pasta, how you can possibly want anything else while visiting (or living in) Italy!? Not to mention that you can find about 8,000 different flavors, shapes, and varieties of pasta and pizza that truly, it could be different for every single meal! However!!!, there is so much more deliciousness going on over here than just pasta and pizza. Shall we begin?

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1. Frutti di Mare
Seafood. As a peninsula, nowhere in Italy is far from the sea so as you can imagine, seafood is almost always an option on any menu. A few specialties:
Fried Calamari (and/or a mix with fried shrimps - the whole shrimp! FYI).
Cacciucco - fish stew - a must try in Livorno
Vongole (clams)
Mussels
Grilled Octopus (also commonly served cold as Insalata de Polpo)

!!Just remember when ordering seafood in Italy, you're likely to get the seafood as is. Shrimp is not peeled, often fish is still on the bone, and clams and mussel dishes are filled with their shells.!!

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2. Risotto
Oh how I love the many different flavors and style of risotto. Italians are so good at mixing the perfect flavors. I recently had an asparagus and strawberry risotto - divine! Luca specializes in porcini mushroom risotto.

Risotto is basically rice cooked in stock which makes it a bit creamy. Butter. White wine. Onion. Parmesan cheese. Vegetables. So many options!! It's So versatile!

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3. Piadina
It's a sandwich meets a quesadilla! Start with thin Italian flatbread and (lightly stuff it) full of your favorite Italian cheese, cold cuts, and/or vegetables. Got a sweet tooth, fill it with jam or Nutella instead! Piadina are typical of the Romagna region but can be found (and made) across Italy!

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4. Eggplant Parmesan
Parmigiana di Melanzane in Italian. Think lasagna, but replace the pasta with thin (often breaded and fried) slices of eggplant. It doesn't have to be layered though, it can just be sliced (see above).
Sounding a bit too vegetarian for you? I promise it will knock your socks off!

Much like other popular Italian dishes, every region, city, village, heck, every FAMILY will prepare it in their own special way w/their own special sauce *wink wink*

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5. Polenta
If at first you don't like it, try try again because depending on who, how, and where you try Polenta, it's different and tasty!!

You might see it made as a "pie" cut in triangles or squares. Served in butter, cream, or even with cinnamon and sugar. Served with veggies or meat. And/or my favorite: Polenta con Ragu.

Very versatile as it's made of only cornmeal, salt, and water - top it, grill it, bake it, fry it, or serve it as a side!

A few more foods to love that aren't necessarily main dishes, but must tries:

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Arrancine. Stuffed fried rice balls of deliciousness. These are often stuffed with Ragu, cheese, or ham.
Veggies:
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Fried zucchini flowers. Did you even know we could EAT the flowers of zucchini! We CAN and they're GOOD! You know what, don't pass up any dishes zucchini!


Carciofi alla Romana (artichokes!!). In rome you will find these grilling on the streets. They'll smother it with butter and wrap it in foil; don't miss this taste!

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Insalata Caprese. You know this one! Fresh tomatoes and mozzarella cheese, basil, salt and olive oil. It's simple and the flavors together are perfect. I like to top mine with some balsamic vinegar too!

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Panzanella. Common in Tuscany, this is a chopped salad of soaked stale bread, onions, and tomatoes. It often includes cucumbers, sometimes basil and is dressed with olive oil and vinegar. This is a popular dish in the summer. If at first it sounds questionable, just give it a try!

Meat: (these are self explanatory!)

Arrosticini (sheep on a stick)

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Prosciutto (Italian dry-cured ham)

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Bistecca Fiorentina (Florentine T-Bone Steak)

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Ossobucco (bone in Veal Shank)

And don't forget, the Bread! <--- a work in progress.

What are YOUR favorite 'not pasta not pizza' Italian foods!?