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Risi e bisi (rice and pea) ham salad recipe

Risi e bisi (rice and pea) ham salad recipe

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  • Recipes
  • Dish type
  • Salad
  • Vegetable salad
  • Pea salad

Full of crisp crunchy vegetables, lean ham and plenty of fresh herbs, this wholesome rice salad is substantial enough to serve as a main meal on its own. It makes a refreshing and tasty dish, ideal for eating al fresco in the garden or packing for a picnic on a hot summer's day.

2 people made this

IngredientsServes: 6

  • 340 g (12 oz) mixed basmati and wild rice
  • 600 ml (1 pint) boiling water
  • 150 g (5½ oz) frozen petit pois
  • 200 g (7 oz) piece lean cooked ham, trimmed of fat and cut into strips
  • 3 celery sticks, sliced
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 tbsp chopped parsley
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh mint
  • 1 head chicory, leaves separated
  • 100 g (3½ oz) radicchio, finely shredded
  • salt and pepper
  • Fresh orange dressing
  • 6 tbsp orange juice
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard

MethodPrep:25min ›Cook:25min ›Ready in:50min

  1. Put the rice in a saucepan and pour over the boiling water. Bring back to the boil, then reduce the heat to low. Cover and simmer for about 15 minutes, or according to the packet instructions, until the rice is tender and all the water has been absorbed. Tip the rice into a large bowl and stir in the frozen petit pois, then leave to cool.
  2. Add the ham, celery, onion, parsley and mint and toss well. Mix together the dressing ingredients, add to the bowl and toss until all the salad ingredients are evenly coated. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Reserve a few whole chicory leaves for the garnish, then finely shred the rest. Serve the rice salad and shredded chicory and radicchio on individual plates, garnished with the reserved whole chicory leaves.

Another idea

For a risi bisi sweetcorn salad, cook 250 g (8½ oz) brown rice in twice its volume of boiling vegetable stock for 35 minutes or until tender. Drain if necessary, then set aside. Heat 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil in a small saucepan and cook 1 seeded and finely diced red pepper over a high heat for 4 minutes or until it begins to char. Leave to cool. Cook 100 g (3½ oz) fine green beans, cut into short lengths, in boiling water for 4 minutes. Drain and refresh in cold water. Chop 6 spring onions and place in a bowl with the rice, red pepper and green beans and add a can of sweetcorn kernels, about 200 g, and a can of red kidney beans, about 400 g, both drained and rinsed. Mix together 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar, 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, 2 tsp wholegrain mustard, ½ tsp clear honey and salt and pepper to taste. Add this dressing to the salad together with 3 tbsp chopped parsley and toss well to mix.

Plus points

Radicchio, a member of the chicory family, has deep red and white tightly packed leaves. The red pigment means this vegetable is high in beta-carotene and other cancer-fighting phytochemicals. * Using orange juice as a base for the dressing rather than sharp vinegar means less oil is needed. It also increases the amount of vitamin C in the dish. * The combination of lean ham, rice and peas provides almost half of the RNI of protein for an adult woman.

Each serving provides

B1, B6, B12, E * C, folate * iron, potassium, zinc

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Recipe Summary

  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 rib celery, chopped
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 2 quarts canned low-sodium chicken broth or homemade stock
  • 1 1/2 cups rice, preferably arborio
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons salt
  • 2 cups frozen petite peas (one 10-ounce package), defrosted
  • 1 1/4-pound piece deli ham, cut into small dice
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper

In a large pot, melt the butter over moderately low heat. Add the onion, celery, and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables start to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the wine and boil until it almost evaporates, about 5 minutes. Add the broth and bring to a boil. Boil until the liquid is reduced to approximately 7 cups, about 20 minutes.

Add the rice, parsley, and salt and cook at a low boil, stirring occasionally, until the rice is just tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in the peas, ham, Parmesan, and pepper.

Risi e Bisi, Italian Rice and Peas


  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 shallots, minced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 pound diced prosciutto or other dry ham
  • 1 cup Arborio or other risotto rice
  • 2 cups vegetable or chicken stock
  • 2 or more cups water
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen peas
  • 1/2 cup parsley, chopped
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese


Heat the olive oil in a medium-sized pot over medium-high heat. When it is hot, add the shallots and stir to combine. Let these sauté for 2-3 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat up the stock and 1 cup of water in a small pot. You want this at a simmer while you make the rice.

Add the garlic and the diced prosciutto to the pot with the shallots, stir well and cook for another 1-2 minutes.

Pour in the rice, stir again and sauté for 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly.

Ladle some of the hot stock into the pot and start stirring. Risi e bisi is cooked like risotto, and is supposed to be pretty soupy, so you need a lot of water and you need to stir it constantly. Let this first ladle of stock cook down before you add the next.

Keep adding stock, letting it cook down and stirring until you’re done with the simmering stock. It is likely that you may need at least one more cup of water to finish the dish, because all that stirring in an open pot means you evaporate more liquid than you would when you cook rice the normal way, i.e., covered. If you think you are going to need more water, add more to the simmering stock.

Keep stirring until the water has almost cooked away. Taste some rice and test for salt and doneness: Add a little salt and some more hot tap water if the rice is still crunchy – you want the rice to be a little al dente, but not so much you’re gnawing on raw grain.

Your finished rice should be slightly soupy, so it’s OK to add a tad more water before serving.

Risi e bisi (rice and pea) ham salad recipe - Recipes

From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite. I had gone to market in search of English peas and while there I happened on a display of large canned hams that I hadn't seen in years. They were a feature of holiday meals and throughout the 50's and 60's you'd be hard pressed to attend a party where they weren't served. The hams were usually topped with rings of pineapple and studded with maraschino cherries before being glazed and warmed for service. They weren't bad and they fit the lifestyles of woman trying to cast off years of rationing and cooking that kept them in the kitchen for hours at a time. The women who emerged from the war loved the simplicity of Danish modern furniture and the ease of frozen food. A company ready ham that need only to be warmed was perfect for their needs. That ubiquitous ham was part of Easter dinner in many homes across the country. Strange as it seems, while the food was simple, the holiday itself seemed more important then it does today. The Easter bunny was on a par with Santa and egg hunts replaced the magic of empty stockings miraculously filled by elves or angels. In those simpler times, Easter really did mean bonnets and parades, and to the delight of little girls, the holiday came with new outfits that included shinny Mary Janes.

It was also a more overtly religious holiday than it appears to be today. We spent a lot of time in church during Holy Week, but it wasn't as oppressive as you might think. I will forever be moved when I hear the "Exultet" and the "Alleluia" from the Easter vigil services and I'm so grateful they were part of my childhood. While Easter may have no meaning for many, it's my hope that we all believe in new beginnings and the triumph of good over evil. So, whatever your beliefs, I hope you all bask in the sun of this new day.

After that introduction, I was sorely tempted to make a canned ham and share it with you, but then I realized you'd probably stone me and I wanted no part of that. So, I'm heading back to the peas with which I began this post. “Risi e bisi” (rice and peas) is a classic Venetian dish. While many think it is a risotto, it is actually a very light soup. There should always be just enough liquid in the bowl to require a spoon for eating. It is very easy to make and you'll love it as long as you don't overcook the rice. The soup can be table ready in half an hour and it is a perfect light meal to break a fast or settle an uneasy stomach. The soup will absorb liquid as it sits, so it's best to serve it as soon as the rice is ready. If you have leftovers you will have to add stock when you reheat the soup. I think you'll really like this one. Here's the recipe.

3 tablespoons butter
1 yellow onion, peeled and finely chopped
3 pounds fresh peas, shelled to yield 3 cups
Pinch of salt
1 cup Chicken Stock
1 cup arborio rice
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Grated parmigiano-reggiano

1) Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and cook for 5 minutes. Add peas and salt, and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes.
2) Add chicken stock and 2 cups water, and bring to a boil. Stir in rice and parsley, reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until rice is al dente and peas are very soft, about 20 minutes.
3) Adjust seasonings and serve immediately before rice absorbs liquid. Top with grated parmigiano-reggiano, if you like. Yield: 4 to 6 servings.

Cook's Note: While this dish is best made with fresh peas, 3 cups of frozen peas can be substituted.

Courgette, Pea & Mint Risotto


  • 1 medium onion (approx 185g), finely chopped
  • 1 large courgette (approx 310g), diced
  • 150g of frozen peas, thawed
  • 80g of Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 300g of Arborio risotto rice
  • 250ml of white wine (optional)
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp margarine/butter
  • 1000ml vegetable stock, prepared according to packet instructions
  • 1 tbsp fresh mint, chopped
  • Serves: 4
  • Course: Main Course
  • Preparation time: 10 mins
  • Cooking time: 45 mins
  • Price per person: £1.31
  • Store cupboard: Cook's
  • Calories per serving: 541
  • 5-a-day per serving: 1


  1. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a frying pan and cook the courgette for 3-4 minutes, or until tender. Remove and set aside.
  2. Heat the margarine/butter and 2 tbsp oil in a large saucepan and fry the onion and garlic over a low heat for 6-8 minutes, or until the onion is soft. Add the risotto rice (stirring well to coat the rice in the oil and butter) and cook for 1-2 minutes, or until it becomes slightly translucent.
  3. Add the wine, if using, and simmer until it has been fully absorbed. Add a ladle of stock and simmer, stirring, until it has been absorbed. Repeat, adding a ladle of stock at a time until the rice is tender but retains a slight bite and the liquid has been absorbed. If you run out of stock just add boiling water, a little at a time, until the rice is cooked. This will take 20-25 minutes.
  4. Stir the courgette and peas into the risotto and continue to cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly, until heated through. Remove from the heat and stir in the Parmesan cheese and mint.
  5. Season the risotto to taste with salt and pepper and serve immediately.

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Crock Pot Ham and Pea Risotto

Crockpot risotto is a wonderfully easy way to make a classic Italian dish with little effort. When making risotto the traditional way on the stovetop, you have to stir and stir to get the rice to release its starch as it cooks. In the slow cooker, you only have to stir twice, and this recipe will taste just like the traditional rich and creamy dish.

This recipe only takes two hours to make in the crockpot, so it's not one you can turn on and then leave the house. You do have to stick around to stir and add ingredients.

Arborio rice is short-grain rice with lots of ​amylopectins, a branched starch that makes the finished dish so creamy. It's essential for the success of this dish.

The pear nectar adds a slightly floral flavor to this recipe, and the wine adds wonderful flavor. Just add more chicken broth if you don't want to use wine or pear nectar.

The last time I made this I stirred in some chopped ham leftover from Easter. It was marvelous. You can also add cooked chicken, shrimp, or even meatballs.

Serve this recipe with a crisp green salad and some breadsticks or hot savory scones.

Tagliatelle pasta with fresh peas and pancetta recipe from Veneto.

Pasta coi bisi!

Pasta with fresh peas, or ‘pasta coi bisi’ in local dialect, is a traditional spring recipe here in the Northern Italian region of Veneto. This simple pasta dish is more than the sum of its parts, which are few! In fact, the first time I had this dish, I was really quite surprised how tasty it is. Of course, the secret ingredient is fresh peas!

The peas

Peas have been cultivated and eaten in Italy since Roman times and before. Nowadays, this tasty and healthy spring legume is an important crop in Emilia-Romagna, Puglia, Sicily, Campania and Veneto.

In Veneto, a number of towns or areas are famous for their peas, in particular an area of the Berici hills near Vicenza. Here, there is a local variety of peas that they say are the best peas in Italy. Lumignano peas have been grown in this part of Veneto since 1000 AD. It was Benedictine monks who first introduced them to the area.

These peas have apparently been prized for centuries. The Doges of Venice used to order them as the primary ingredient of their ‘Risi e Bisi’ (rice and peas). This was a dish the Doges traditionally ate on the Feast of Saint Mark, the patron saint of Venice. Risi e Bisi is still a traditional way to eat peas here in Veneto.

Pea festivals!

I love the rural Italian tradition of holding annual festivals to celebrate the harvest of the main local crop. I live in the wine producing area of Soave. Soave is a beautiful Medieval walled town with a castle and every year there is the local wine festival, which we happily attend!. The area I live in is famous for cherries too, so there are also cherry festivals held annually in a number of local villages!

Many of the towns and villages where they cultivate peas hold annual pea festivals (sagra dei bisi) in May. The Lumignano festival is usually held in mid-May. Among others, there’s also the ‘festa dei bisi di Baone’ in the Euganean hills area near Padova. Then, closer to where I live is the ‘sagra dei bisi’ in Colognola ai Colli. Visitors to these festivals can buy and eat a number of traditional pea based dishes. The most popular are the rice and peas I mentioned before, as well as pasta with fresh peas made the same way as in this recipe.

The pasta.

Traditionally this recipe is served with flat ribbon pasta such as lasagnette, tagliatelle or pappardelle. I used fresh tagliatelle. However, short pasta such as penne are good in it too.

Making pasta with fresh peas.

This tagliatelle pasta with fresh peas is super simple to make. All you need for the sauce is fresh peas, pancetta, onions and vegetable stock. Some people use beef stock but I prefer vegetable. After frying the onion and pancetta, you simply add the peas and the stock and let the peas cook in the liquid. The result is really tasty.

If you want to make this dish at other times of the year, you could use frozen or tinned peas. However, the result might not be as flavourful. Fresh peas take longer to cook and this is necessary for them to absorb the other flavours and for the sauce to thicken.

Fresh peas are so good for you!

Of course, buying fresh peas normally means having to shell them. But, it’s definitely worth doing if you want to experience the authentic taste of this dish. Kids usually like shelling them and that might motivate them to eat them too! So, get them to help! Fresh peas are much healthier anyway. They contain a long list of vitamins and nutrients some of which may be lost when the peas are canned or frozen .

If you make this tagliatelle pasta with fresh peas recipe I’d love to hear how it turns out and if you liked it. Please leave a comment here on the blog or on The Pasta Project Facebook page. Looking forward to hearing from you.

Other spring pasta recipes.

If you are interested in learning how to make homemade pasta and different types of gnocchi, check out my shop page for some great video online courses from my friends in Rome! Nothing beats learning to make pasta from Italians! Plus while you’re there why not order a copy of my newly published autumn/winter pasta recipes cookbook!?

Save this recipe for later?

If you want to save this recipe for later, you can print it, bookmark this page or save it to Pinterest.

Rice soup with Peas

Easy rice recipes from Italy: Risi e Bisi, rice soup with peas.

The “Risi e Bisi” is a recipe typical of the Venetian tradition, excellent to be enjoyed in the spring because this is the season with the best peas, the main ingredient of this dish.

The rice used for this dish, however, is the Vialone nano, and not the classic Carnaroli used for risotto, which has the characteristic of swelling a lot during cooking thus absorbing more seasoning.

To define”Risi e Bisi” is not easy and even today many are wondering if this very nutritious dish belongs to the category of risotto or to that of soups: neither one nor the other!

In fact,”Risi e Bisi” to be such must be a happy medium between both, that means not be too dry or too soupy, but a kind of thick soup.

Cooking Books

The Kitchn, where I found this recipe, doesn't call this dish Risi e Bisi , the Venetian phrase for rice and peas. But, I mean, that's what it is, with variation. And the fact that they never mention the Italian roots of the dish (although it does get thrown around in the comments) is, as luck would have it, exactly what John Thorne is talking about in the preface to his book Simple Cooking where he discusses rice and peas. Thorne talks about learning to cook from cookbooks (as I have) and realizing that there is little conversing that goes on between them. And that it took introducing all of the Italian cookbooks in his collection to one another to make "the magically seamless world of those isolated Italian cuisines [dissolve] into five, six, seven Italian cooks all fruitfully squabbling with each other."

Because with a little looking, Thorne discovered that Risi e Bisi appear all over Italian cooking, with pasta sometimes replacing the rice in certain regions, and with meat being added in others. With more sleuthing, Thorne discovered that there are as many philosophies about how to make this dish as there are writers writing about it. Jane Grigson has her opinions, Waverly Root has his. Marcella Hazan asserts that Risi et Bisi is not risotto, as Grigson and Elizabeth David would have it, but soup as Ada Boni says.

I love this story because food people can be so strident in their opinions. And yet, they're always just opinions, and food is just food. And really, who the heck cares as long as it tastes good. So maybe the usual way is not to add a bunch of lemon juice and zest to your light spring soup of rice and peas, and maybe you're supposed to stick with parsley to flavor it. But the Kitchn adds plenty of lemon and even mint. I myself kept the lemon but swapped out the mint for chives. Like Thorne, who provides a recipe for both the soup and the risotto variety, I'm not taking sides. Except to say that I loved this risi, bisi e limone .

Lemon Pea and Rice Soup
Adapted from this recipe from The Kitchn

1 medium onion, diced
4 cups vegetable stock
2 cups water
2 lemons, zested and juiced
3 tablespoons chives plus extra for serving
2 cups cooked brown rice (from 3/4 cups dry)
2 cups peas (fresh or frozen, both are fine)
Oil for the pan

Heat the oil in the pot that you're going to use to make the soup and cook the onions along with a pinch of salt until they're soft and translucent but not quite browned.

Add the stock and water to the pot and bring the liquid to a gentle boil. Add the lemon juice (I used all of it, but you might want to add only part, taste, and add the rest) along with the zest, 3 tablespoons of chives and 1 teaspoon of salt or to taste. Give it a quick stir, then add the cooked rice and the peas. Let the liquid come back to a simmer before serving. Remember, you can always add more lemon juice, chives, or salt if you think the soups needs it.


Selection of heavenly delicious food in Italy you should not miss out on your Italian vacation.


63 most famous traditional Italian foods


Ragu Alla Bolognese, or Bolognese sauce, is considered to be the national dish of Italy since it is used widely in Italian cuisine with many traditional Italian dishes and some of the best Italian dishes (spaghetti, tagliatelle, pappardelle, fettuccine…) across Italy. Authentic Bolognese sauce is made from tomatoes, minced beef, garlic, wine, and herbs. Although Bolognese sauce originates from the city of Bologna, you can enjoy it throughout Italy.

Historic Bologna is a beautiful city with stunning Piazza Maggiore, amazing medieval and Renaissance architecture, lovely cafes, and world-class restaurants. Besides that, Bologna is one of the top foodie destinations in Italy. So, don’t forget to add one of these awesome food tours in Bologna to your bucket list!


Italian pizza is one of the most popular food in the world. This traditional Italian food is made of flattened round dough topped with cheese, and tomatoes, and additionally garnished with basil, olives, and oregano. Depending on the toppings, among the most famous types of traditional Italian pizza are Margherita all Napoletana (Naples style pizza with tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, and basil), Pizza Marinara (with tomatoes, garlic, and oregano), Pizza Quattro Stagioni (‘four seasons’ pizza with four sections of four different toppings), Pizza Quattro Formaggi (pizza with four different cheeses), and Pizza Siciliana (Sicilian style pizza with tomatoes, cheese, onions, and anchovies). There’s no question, pizza is one of the top 5 Italian foods.


Focaccia is a traditional Italian flatbread similar to pizza. The most popular focaccia is Focaccia al Rosmarin (Foccacia garnished with rosemary). Focaccia is commonly served as a side bread with typical Italian dishes, as an appetizer, snack and as sandwich bread. There are two types of focaccia: savory and sweet. Savory focaccia (with rosemary, garlic, basil or even prosciutto) and sweet focaccia (with honey, raisins, sugar and similar sweet ingredient ). Focaccia is also typical Italian fast food.


Talking about Italian staple foods, iconic Italian pasta is most likely No 1 staple food in Italy.

Pasta is one of the top common Italian foods. And, the most popular Italian pasta are spaghetti.

This long and thin pasta is traditionally prepared with only garlic and olive oil (Spagetthi Aglio Olio), with tomato sauce and basil (Spaghetti al Pomodoro e Basilico), with minced meat sauce (Spaghetti Bolognese), with cheese and pepper (Spaghetti Cacio e Pepe), with clams (Spaghetti Alle Vongole) or with bacon (Spaghetti Carbonara) and usually topped with grated hard Italian cheese like world-famous Parmigiano Reggiano or equally popular Grana Padano cheese. Yet preparation of spaghetti differs a lot from one Italian region to another region. Thus, if you want to try classic Italian dishes, you should go for some clasic spaghetti dishes. If you are traveling to Rome, you should try Spaghetti Carbonara, the traditional spaghetti dish from Rome.


Lasagne is another famous Italian dish that has achieved worldwide recognition.

Classic Italian lasagne are made of layers of flat and wide pasta with a sauce of meat, vegetables, and cheese. Lasagne originates from Naples, but today you can eat lasagne all over Italy. Lasage are one of those Italian traditional food all gourmands look forward on their trip to Italy.

Authentic Italian pizza, classic Italian spaghetti, traditional Italian lasagne … sounds delicious?! Italy is one of the best countries for food travel! When in Italy, check out some of these amazing Italian food tours in Italy!


Gnocchi pasta is one of the most popular traditional foods in Italy.

Gnocchi refer to small and thick dumplings. But the Italian dumplings are traditionally homemade from potatoes and cheese. But depending on the Italian region, they can be made from semolina or wheat flour, or breadcrumbs instead of potatoes. Gnocchi pasta are prepared by boiling in salted water and served with a tasty sauce. If you are traveling to Tuscany and Lombardy you should try Malfatti Gnocchi with ricotta cheese and spinach. But if you are going to Naples and Campagnia region, you should taste Strangulaprievete Gnocchi (priest stranglers) with a fresh tomato sauce. Or when in Sardinia, opt for little Sardinian Malloreddus Gnocchi alla Campidanese with sausage sauce.


Rice is a staple food of Italy, of course. And, risotto is one of the most famous traditional Italian dishes.

Even more, risotto is one of the top favorite Italian dishes ever. Authentic risotto originates from the Lombardy region. But over time it has become one of the most popular Italian dishes ever. This classic Italian rice dish is prepared with various meat, fish, or vegetable broths with onion, olive oil or butter or even lard, white wine, and Parmesan cheese. All over Italy, you can indulge in various risotto dishes made traditionally of Arborio rice or Carnaroli rice like chicken and pea risotto, mushroom risotto, seafood risotto, shrimp risotto, beef mince risotto … But if you are visiting the city of Milan in Lombardy, don’t miss an opportunity to taste authentic saffron-flavored Risotto alla Milanese with beef stock, lard, and cheese. Although my all-time favorite risotto is black risotto with cuttlefish Risotto al nero di seppia originating from the Veneto region! Just to remind you, in case you are traveling to Croatia or Montenegro and you want to try black risotto, ask for ‘crni rižoto‘. And when in Spain, keep in mind that ‘el arroz negro‘ is popular Spanish food too.


Traditional Italian ravioli are square-shaped pasta with a filling. Ravioli are eaten throughout Italy. But nevertheless, ravioli filling varies from one Italian region to another. In Rome and Lazio region the filling is made with spinach, ricotta cheese, pepper, and nutmeg, while in Sardinia for the filling is used the mix of cheese and lemon rid.


If you are traveling to Italian regions of Emilia-Romagna and Marche you should opt for tagliatelle pasta as this traditional Italian pasta in the shape of long and flat ribbons originate from there. Tagliatelle pasta comes with many sauces, but if you happen to visit Bologna you should opt for traditional Bolognese tagliatelle with Bolognese sauce.


Pappardelle pasta are broad, flat, and thick pasta noodles coming from Tuscany. They are similar to tagliatelle from Bologna. Pappardelle pasta is typically eaten with chicken or beef sauce. Today pappardelle are common pasta in Roman cuisine and Tuscan cuisine.

When in Tuscany, make yourself a favor and check out some of these fantastic food tours in Tuscany! PS: You can thank me later!


Another type of pasta typical for Tuscan and Roman cuisine. Fettuccine pasta is ribbon-style pasta. Traditional fettuccine pasta comes with chicken or beef sauce, but popular versions of fettuccine come also with tomatoes (Fettuccine al Pomodoro), with creamy cheese (Fettuccine Alfredo) and with seafood.


Linguine is an oval-shaped ribbon-style pasta similar to fettuccine. Linguine pasta is wider than spaghetti and more narrow than fettuccine. This traditional Italian pasta originally comes from the city of Genoa and the region of Liguria. If you are taking a trip to Genoa, you should try authentic linguine pasta in Genova.

Traditional Italian pasta dishes are some of the most toothsome dishes in the world! What about taking a pasta cooking class in Italy? Check out these awesome pasta cooking classes in Italy!


Carpaccio is a traditional Italian appetizer made of finely sliced thin meat or fish. Original carpaccio is beef carpaccio and it comes from Venice. Thus, when in Venice, please put carpaccio on your menu.

Magnificient Venice, La Serenissima …. when in Venice, make it even more magical and try out this yummy cooking class in Venice!


Florentine-style steak is a famous veal meat stake originating from the city of Florence in Italy. Traditional Bistecca Alla Fiorentina is a T-bone veal steak prepared on glowing coal, light layers, and ashes in such a way to get the meat colored from the outside but juicy, soft, and red from the inside. If you are traveling to Tuscany and Florence, be sure not to miss tasting authentic Bisteca Alla Fiorentina. The Florentine steak is one of the best food in Tuscany and the best food in Italy to treat yourself with.


Iconic Melanzane Alla Parmigiana is a traditional Italian dish made of deep-fried layers of eggplants with a sauce made of tomatoes and parmesan cheese and baked in an oven. Although Malanzane Alla Parmigiana is a typical vegetarian Italian dish, sometimes it is made with meat too. Parmigiana originates from Sicily and Campania region and it is one of the most famous Italian dishes. If you are traveling to Naples and Parma, keep in mind to try authentic Melanzane Alla Parmigiana.


Italian bottarga refers to salted and cured fish roe (tuna or grey mullet). Once “the poor man’s caviar”, in modern times bottarga is a delicacy often called the Gold of the Sea. Italian bottarga originates from Sardinia and Sicily. Smooth and silky in texture and salty in flavor, bottarga comes with many pasta dishes, salads, and vegetables. If you are heading to Sardinia, you should opt for Bottarga di Muggine (grey mullet bottarga). And if you are traveling to Sicily, you should try Bottarga di Tonno (tuna bottarga).


Let’s talk about Italian delicacies and exotic Italian food.

Ricci di mare are food delicacy in Italy and beyond. Sea urchins are eaten in Italy from Naples to Sicily. In Italy, sea urchins are consumed fresh and raw scooped out of the shells with squeezed lemon juice or with pasta (pasta ai ricci di mare). If you are after sampling seafood delicacy and some of the Italian best food on your trip to Italy, then sea urchins should be on your list of Italian foods to try.


Crispy bruschetta is a famous Italian appetizer referring to grilled bread traditionally scrubbed with garlic and garnished with olive oil and salt.

Sometimes it comes topped with cheese, tomatoes, prosciutto, various salami, and various vegetables. The most popular Italian bruschetta comes with tomatoes and fresh basil. Bruschetta originates from ancient Rome and today you can enjoy it through Italy. Bruschette are popular finger foods in Italy.


Crusty grissini are traditional Italian breadsticks. Thiese crispy, long and uneven breadsticks are typical Italian snacks and appetizers. They originate from the city of Turin.


Polenta is a traditional Italian dish made of boiled cornmeal, originating from central and northern Italy. This simple poor man meal is commonly served instead of potatoes, rice, or pasta. Polenta has crossed the borders of Italy, and it is enjoyed in neighboring countries like Switzerland, Slovenia, and Croatia. Today polenta is not only one of the top staple foods of Italy. But also Swiss, Slovenian, and Croatian staple food.


Pasta with beans is a thick traditional Italian soup coming from Italian regions of Emilia-Romania and Campania. Ingredients of Pasta E Fagioli may vary from one region to another, but the main ingredients always remain tiny pasta, beans, olive oil, onion, garlic and tomato paste.


Pasta with chickpeas is similar soup to Pasta e Fagioli. Pasta e Cecci Alla Romana is a famous dish originating from Rome, but it is also a typical soup of regions of Sicily, Campania and Puglia. Roman pasta e cecci typically comes with anchovies.


Popular Minestrone soup is one of the most common foods in Italy. Minestrone is a thick vegetable soup made with pasta and rice and a tomato-based broth. Minestrone is typically made with seasonal hearty vegetables like beans, potatoes, tomatoes, celery, and carrots. Actually, there is no strict recipe for Minestrone soup since it’s commonly made with leftover vegetables and it might include meat, but not necessarily. Classic Italian Minestrone soup is a brothy and hearty soup similar to the above-mentioned Pasta e Fagioli and Pasta e Cecci Alla Romana.


Tortellini are popular button-shaped pasta filled with meat, cheese, nutmeg and egg, cooked in water, stir-fried with sage and butter and served with broth. This famous pasta originates from the Emilia Romagna region. If you are traveling to Modena or Bologna, you should try authentic tortellini.


Polpette are traditional Italian meatballs made of minced meat, eggs, parsley, and Parmigiano cheese. Italian polpette are typically made of veal or beef meat. But when they are made of fish, they are called crochette (crocchette al pesce). Most commonly they come as a snack or second course. In southern Italy, they come as a main course served in a tomato sauce though.


Arancini are traditional Italian stuffed and deep-fried rice balls originally coming from Sicily. Looking like orange, they are typically filled with minced meat, mozzarella cheese, béchamel sauce, ham, and peas. Today arancini are popular finger food in modern Italian cuisine.


Rice and peas’ is one of the most common traditional Italian dishes. On contrary to common belief outside of Italy, risi e bisi is a thick soup not a risotto. It originates from Venice where typically it is flavored with pancetta (pork belly salumi). So, if you are traveling to Venice and want to eat local Venice food, you should take ‘Risi e bisi’.


Carciofi alla Giudea or Jewish style fried artichokes have been a popular dish in Italy for centuries tracing back Jewish ghetto in Rome in 1555. Typically they are served as a first course (primo platto). When in Rome, you should try fried artichokes in the Jewish Quarter of Rome.


Vitello Tonatto is a famous Italian dish served as a cold appetizer (antipasto). It originates from the Piedmont region. This classic Italian dish is made from meat (veal) and fish (tuna). In fact, ‘vietello tonatto’ literally means ‘veal tuna’. The dish is made of sliced veal covered with creamy tuna sauce seasoned with capers, anchovies, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Vitello Tonatto is a typical Christmas dish in Italy, but nowdays it’s also served as a cold summer dish.


Parmesan cheese is world-famous Italian hard cheese coming from the province of Parma in the Emilia Romagna region. Parmigiano Reggiano is a hard cow’s milk cheese, nicknamed ‘King of Cheeses’. Commonly Parmesan cheese is grated over pasta, risotto, and salads but it is also eaten alone. If you are traveling to Modena or Bologna, tasting slices of authentic Parmesan Reggiano should not be missed out.


Another famous Italian cheese coming from the region of Lombardy and Po River valley. Grana Padano is a hard cheese of grainy texture, very similar to Parmegiano Reggiano. If you are travailing to Milan or Lake Como, you should opt for authentic Grana Padano cheese.


White mozzarella is a popular Italian cheese made from Italian water buffalo’s milk. Mozzarella is a semi-soft cheese very mild in taste. Although there are different types of mozzarella cheese (made from buffalo’s milk, cow’s milk, goats’ milk, and sheep’s milk), authentic mozzarella from southern Italy is always buffalo mozzarella (Mozzarella di Bufala Campana). Classic mozzarella comes from Lazio and Campana regions. Traditionally mozzarella is an ingredient of various pasta dishes, popular Caprese salad, and different kinds of pizza.


To talk about the most popular Italian cheese and not to mention gorgonzola would be unfair. Gorgonzola is the most famous Italian blue cheese. To tell the truth, this veined blue cheese is a top staple food from Italy, as it can be consumed in many ways (as a pizza topping, in a dish as an ingredient, in a sauce, as a side dish…). Gorgonzola cheese comes from the town of Gorgonzola near Milan in northern Italy.


Caprese salad is a famous Italian salad made of fresh sliced tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, garnished with olive oil, acetate balsamico (Italian vinegar), and fresh basil leaves. Caprese salad is traditionally an appetizer in Italy (not a side dish).


Prosciutto is famous Italian air-cured ham. Italian prosciutto typically refers to raw ham (prosciutto crudo) and rarely to cooked ham (prosciutto cotto). It originates from Po River Valley, but is it eaten across Italy as an appetizer. Sometimes prosciutto is also called Parma ham as the most appreciated prosciutto in Italy is Prosciutto di Parma from Parma province in the Emilia Romagna region in Po River Valley.


Salami are traditional foods in Italy. Italian salami refer to sausages (dry-cured and fresh) made of typically pork meat mixed with high-quality pork fat and spiced with pepper, salt, garlic, wine, fennel and sometimes even cinnamon. But sometimes Italian salami are made also with some other meats as well like: beef or rabbit meat. But nevertheless, all salami have in common red interior mixed with white fat.

Depending on your Italian itinerary and Italian destinations, you should try chicken or rabbit based Cacciatore sausage from Calabria, or Soppressata di Calabria, Salame di Felino from Parma, pork and fennel based finocchiona sausage (Salame Finocchiona) or Soppressata Toscana from Tuscany, Salame Napoletano with peperoncino, Genovese pork-based salami, Ciauscolo salami with pork meat, white wine, garlic and black pepper from Marche region.


Probably the most famous Italian sausage (salume) is Mortadella di Bologna. This traditional Italian pork-based sausage is made with black pepper, pistachios and myrtle berries. Although you can eat different variations of mortadella in Italy such as Prato mortadella with garlic and ‘alchermes‘ liquor from Tuscany or smoked Amatrice mortadella, you should not miss authentic Mortadella di Bologna in Bologna.


Genoa sauce is world renewed Italian sauce made from fresh basil leaves, smashed garlic, pine nuts and hard cheese blended with extra virgin olive oil. Original pesto comes from the city of Genoa, therefor it is named after the city. Pesto typically comes with various pasta dishes. Thus, when in Genova don’t miss out Pesto Genovese.


Italian tartufo is a highly prized gourmet delicacy, especially Tartufo Bianco (white truffle) from the Piedmont region. White truffles reach regularly the price of several thousand dollars per kilo on the market. Fresh truffles are used over pasta, risotto, eggs, and salads in Italy. The city of Alba in the Piedmont region is nicknamed the White Truffle Capital of the World. If you are traveling to the city of Alba in Italy from September to December when the truffles season is, you should try local food delicacy called Carne Cruda all’ Albese. Black truffles are also a delicacy food but less aromatic and less praised than white truffles. If you traveling to the city of Assisi and in the Umbria region, be sure to try Asissi omelet with truffles. If you are a foodie and you want a unique souvenir from your trip to Italy, Italian olive oil with truffles could be your thing.


Italy is the second producer of olive oil in the World, following only Spain by the production. Olive oil is one of the most common traditional foods in Italy. Although olive oil is produced in Italy from the north to the south, from Lombardy to Calabria, Sicily, and Sardinia, some of the best olive oils come from Tuscany, Lake Garda area, Lazio Region and Sardinia.

Depending on where you are heading to on your Italy vacations, you could indulge in peppery flavored olive oil from Tuscany, herbal flavored olive oil from Liguria, delicate and rare olive oil from Lake Garda, tomato-like flavored olive oil from Lazio region, artichoke, and cardoon-like flavored olive oil from Sardinia.


Balsamic vinegar from Modena and Reggio Emilia is world-famous Italian vinegar made from grape must. Traditionally Aceto balsamico is used with pasta dishes and risotto dishes, and some seafood like shrimps and scallops, but also with grilled fish, eggs and fresh fruits. If you are heading to Modena or Reggio Emilia region, don’t miss sampling first-class Italian balsamic vinegar.


Campari is the most popular Italian liquor sold today in more than 190 countries worldwide. This aromatic dark red, and bitter-sweet in taste Italian drink is commonly used in various cocktails. The city of Novara in the Piedmont region on north-west Italy is the hometown of this world-famous liquor made from aromatic herbs, plants, and fruits.


Limoncello is world-renewed Italian lemon-flavored liquor originating from southern Italy, more precisely from the Bay of Naples, the Amalfi Coast, and the Sorrento Peninsula. This classic sweet and citrusy Italian drink is made by soaking lemon zests in neutral grain alcohol for months. Traditionally it is served chilled after dinner as a digestive. If you are planning your next vacation on the Amalfi Coast, you don’t want to miss out sampling authentic limoncello for sure.


Similar to Campari, but with less alcohol and with much less bitter in taste comes orange-colored Aperol, another classic Italian drink. While Campari is digestive, Aperol is an aperitif. In Italy, extremely popular is Aperol spritz, a cocktail made of Aperol, soda water, Prosecco wine, and a slice of orange. Aperol and Aperol Spritz originate from Padua, but they are widely consumed throughout Italy especially during hot summer days.


Prosecco is a famous Italian sparkling wine named after the village where it comes from – Prosecco village, close to Treviso and Venice. These days Prosecco is produced in a larger area of northeast Italy. In 2019 Prosecco hills received world heritage status by UNESCO. There are three types of Prosecco: Prosecco Spumante (sparkling), Prosecco Frizzante (semi-sparkling), and Prosecco Tranquillo. Prosecco is characterized by the fruity and flowery aroma and it matches greatly cured meats, fruits based appetizers (like prosciutto-wrapped melon) or crostini. Remember, France has Champagne, but Italy has Prosecco.


Amaretto is a popular Italian liquor made of bitter almonds but surprisingly it is very sweet in taste. Originally it was produced of almonds stones, but later the amaretto production of peach stones and apricot stones started also. Italian Amaretto is consumed alone or added to some dishes, especially desserts like tiramisu. But, amaretto comes in many popular cocktails too.


Negroni is one of the most famous Italian cocktails. The main ingredients are gin, Campari, vermouth, and a fresh orange peel. Negroni was named after Count Camillo Negroni who asked to put gin instead of soda water into his glass of Americano cocktail. The legend says the event took place in Caffe Casoni in Florence in 1919. Therefore, Florence is accredited as the birthplace of the Negroni cocktail. But if you are heading to Treviso, you should visit the Negroni Distillery in Treviso founded by Count Camillo in 1919 where bottles of legendary Antico Negroni have been produced.


What Sherry is to Spain, Vin Santo is to Italy. Vin Santo is a classic Italian sweet dessert wine. Although it originates from Tuscany, today Vin Santo is produced throughout Italy. Thus, the color and sweetness of Vinsanto depend on the region and the method of production. As a dessert wine, Vin Santo is traditionally served with biscuits. If you are traveling to Tuscany and you have a sweet tooth, you should put Vin Santo and biscotti on your bucket list of traditional foods in Italy.


Chianti wine is probably the most famous Italian red wine. It is produced in the Chianti region between Florence and Siena in central Tuscany. The best known among Chianti wines is Chianti Classico. Symbol of Chianti wine is a black rooster seal that adorns every bottle of Chianti wine. This first-class dry wine is a great fit for all tomato-based dishes (pasta dishes, meatballs ..). No trip to Tuscany is complete without sampling authentic Chianti wine.


I believe Italian espresso doesn’t need any special introduction. In a certain way, espresso coffee is a synonym for Italy and the Italian way of life or ‘la dolce vita’ (the sweet life). When someone mentions Italian foods, the first thoughts on everyone’s mind are most likely pizza, pasta, gelato, and espresso coffee. A visit to Italy is not complete without a cup of espresso, macchiato, cappuccino, latte or cortado.


When talking about espresso, I should mention affogato too. Affogato is a popular coffee-based Italian dessert made of a scoop of vanilla gelato and a shot of espresso. Quite often some berries, honey, and some other gelato flavors are added. Essentially, affogato is something between a dessert and a beverage. No matter how do you want to define it (as a dessert or a beverage), for all coffee aficionado affogato is highly on the list of Italian foods to enjoy in Italy!


Tiramisu is another famous coffee-flavored Italian dessert. This rather simple Italian dessert is made of sweet ‘savoiardi’ biscuits soaked in coffee and sweet cream made of mascarpone cheese, eggs and sugar, and sometimes liqueur. The birth town of tiramisu is Treviso, but over time tiramisu has become one of the most popular desserts throughout Italy.


Panna Cotta is another world-famous dessert coming from Italy. Panna cotta in Italian literally means ‘cooked cream’. But panna cotta is much more than simple cooked cream. It is a par excellence dessert made of flavored cream (often with coffee, rum or vanilla) and served with berries, chocolate or caramel sauce. Additionally, it can be garnished with some liquors and fruits.


Panettone is sweet Italian bread traditionally prepared for Christmas. Panettone originates from the city of Milan in Italy, but over time it has become one of the most famous Christmas bread in the World. This cupola-shaped bread is flavored with candied oranges, citrons, lemon zest, raisins, and sometimes chocolate. Sweet panettone matches well sweet dessert wines and liquors.


While Panettone is sweet Italian Christmas bread, Colomba di Pasqua is sweet Italian Easter bread.

Delicious Easter Dove, or Colomba di Pasqua in Italian, tastes similar to Panettone. The dough is made pretty much the same. But unlike Panettone, Colomba di Pasqua is made without raisins, and the dough is traditionally covered with almonds and nib sugar. Colomba di Pasqua origniates from Milan, the same as Panettone.


Crostata is a famous Italian pie or baked tart with inconsistent thick fillings. Depending on the fillings, there are sweet and savory crostata pies. Sweet crostata comes with sweet fruits, most commonly cherries, apricots, and peaches, while savory crostata is filled with vegetables, cheese, meat, seafood, and fish. One of the most popular crostata pies is ricotta and lemon zest-based crostata called crostata di ricotta from central Italy.


Talking about authentic Italian foods means talking about traditional Italian pastries. Cannoli are famous Italian pastries. Sweet cannoli are tube-shaped and finger-sized pastries filled with sweet cream that quite often contains ricotta cheese. Cannoli originate from Sicily, or more precisely Palermo and Messina. Authentic Sicilian cannoli are filled with ricotta cheese, Sicilian Marsala wine, white vinegar, chocolate chips, and optionally chopped pistachios. This iconic Italian dessert is today well-known around the world.


Spain has turron, but Portugal and Italy have torrone. In any case, it is a confection made of egg whites, sugar, honey and toasted nuts (most frequently almonds, but also can be whole hazelnuts, and pistachios) in a most commonly rectangular shape. Traditionally torrone is a Christmas dessert in Italy.


If you are going to Venice for the carnival, you should try a traditional Italian carnival pastry called galani. Galani are fried sweet and thin pastry strips sold in every bakery and pastry shop in Venice. If you are visiting Venice Carnival, you should treat yourself with delicious and crispy galani.


Biscotti or cantuccini are traditional Italian almond biscuits originating from Tuscany, or more specifically from the city of Prato in Tuscany. Original cantuccini from Prato are called biscotti di Prato. These oblong-shaped crispy cookies are traditionally consumed with sweet dessert wine, i.e above mentioned vin santo. If you are taking a trip to Tuscany, you should try Tuscany biscotti or biscotti di Prato.


Frittelle are classic Italian doughnuts prepared traditionally in Carnival time and originally coming from Venice and the Veneto region. These round-shaped traditional Carnival confections are filled with raisins and sometimes pine nuts. They are also known in Venice as Fritelle Veneziane. While Frittelle Veneziane are typically filled with raisins and pine nuts, Frittelle con cioccolata are filled with chocolate, Frittelle con zabaione are filed with Marsala wine, Frittelle con crema chantilly are filled with vanilla.


Probably the most popular frozen dessert in the world is Italian gelato. Authentic Italian gelato is a creamy custard made of whole milk and eggs traditionally flavored with chocolate, vanilla, stracciatella, hazelnut, and pistachio. Modern gelato is flavored with some fruity flavors. No visit to Italy is complete without a scoop of Italian gelato, agree?!


Worldwide known Semifreddo is one of the most popular desserts from Italy. This ‘half mousse – half ice cream’ dessert is typically made with egg yolks, sugar and cream. Some of the most popular semifreddos are chocolate semifreddo, lemon semifreddo, nougat semifreddo, pistachio semifredo, berry semifreddo, tiramisu semifreddo..


What are the traditional foods of Italy?

Traditional foods of Italy are: ragu alla Bolognese, pizza, focaccia, spaghetti, lasagne, gnocchi, risotto, ravioli, tagliatelle, pappardelle, fettuccine, linguine, carpaccio, bistecca alla Fiorentina, melanzane alla parmigiana, bottarga, ricci di mare, bruschetta, grissini, polenta, pasta e fagioli, pasta e cecci, tortellini, polpette, arancini …

What do Italians eat?

Italians traditionally eat: pizza, bistecca alla Fiorentina, carpaccio, spaghetti, bruschetta, lasagne, gnocchi, risotto, ravioli, tagliatelle, pappardelle, fettuccine, linguine, focaccia, grissini, polenta, parmigiano reggiano, grana padano, mozarella, pasta e fagioli, pasta e cecci, tortellini, polpette, arancini, risi e bisi, carciofi alla giudea, ragu alla bolognese

What is the national dish of italy?

The national dish of Italy is ragu alla bolognese (bolognese sauce). The bolognese sauce is used a lot in Italian cuisine throughout Italy with many traditional Italian pasta dishes such as spaghetti, tagliatelle, pappardelle, fettuccine …

What to eat in Italy?

If you want to sample authentic foods from Italy, you must eat in Italy: authentic Italian pizza, authentic Italian gelato, spaghetti, bruschetta, lasagne, gnocchi, risotto, ravioli, tagliatelle, pappardelle, fettuccine, linguine, focaccia, ragu alla bolognese, some authentic Italian cheese (like parmigiano reggiano, grana padano, mozarella ..), authentic Caprese salad …

What are some common foods in Italy?

Common foods in Italy are: pizza, carpaccio, spaghetti, gnocchi, risotto, bruschetta, lasagne, ravioli, tagliatelle, parmegiano reggiano, grana padano, mozarella, prosciutto, salami, pesto genovese, olio d’oliva, aceto balsamico, gelato …

What food is Italy known for?

Italy is known for famous foods from Italy like pizza, spaghetti, prosciutto, lasagne, gnocchi, ravioli, risotto, bruschetta, parmigiano reggiano, mozarella, grana padano, insalata caprese, gelato, tiramisu …

Watch the video: Venetian rice and spring peas: Risi e Bisi, Italian recipe - Giannis North Beach (August 2022).