20 Italian Dishes You Must Try on Your Solo Trip to Italy
There is nothing more romantic than Italian food, fancier than Italian ingredients, and more craving than their taste. As a solo traveller who travels the world, you know Italian foods are available everywhere. Italian foods have established a clean table in the international cuisine, making it a religious thing to try on your solo travel to Italy.
A quick fact about Italian food I obtained on my solo travel to Italy. Italian cuisine is not only tasty but also economical and satiable for hunger.
Classic to current Italian foods
Is your mind hovering around the images of Pasta, Spaghetti, Lasagne thinking about Italian foods?
Don’t be old school. Of course, these Italian foods are classic, but there are so many mouth-watering dishes in the Italian cuisine for you to try and yearn for on your travel to Italy.
So, here are 20 Italian foods from classic to current to try on your solo travel to Italy.
1. The burger king of Italy (Lasagne)
Lasagne doesn’t need any introduction. And, I am well aware that, without anyone saying, Lasagne is included in your Italy travel list. Anyways, I like to have my share in describing this classic Italian food that is much sort after by the travellers in Italy. Talking about Lasagne, the layers of cheese, stuffing such as meat, vegetables, lettuce is fine, but the heavenly tasting sauce conquers the show.
2. The rice bowl of Italy (Risotto Alla Milanese)
Do you like saffron flavour?
Then the Italian food Risotto Alla Milanese is the one for you. If you think that Risotto Alla Milanese originated in Milan as I did, then you are wrong! Risotto Alla Milanese, in fact, has its root in Sicily. This delicious rice bowl was introduced by the Saracens (moors) into the community of Sicily during their occupation of Italy.
Risotto Alla Milanese filled mainly with rice is a mixture of onions, shallot, beef marrow, butter, saffron broth, and white wine. And, it is usually topped with parmesan cheese and a variety of rice called Arborio.
Arborio rice is cultivated from the town called Arborio hence the name. Arborio rice is high in starch content, and they give a creamy texture than other varieties of rice. So Arborio rice is the right one to make our saffron-flavoured Italian food Risotto Alla Milanese.
3. The yellow cornmeal of Italy (Polenta)
Following up Risotto Alla Milanese is another creamy-textured Italian food you can try on your solo travel to Italy.
Polenta is nothing but ground corn. The ground corn is boiled with milk, cheese, butter, and some peppers are added to get the resultant density. You can use them as a side dish and main course. If you like to have it as the main dish, then it will be served in thick creamy consistency combined with sliced veggies, meats, and extra cheese of your choice. Likewise, if you want to have it as a side dish, the original polenta paste, which is lightly textured, is served.
4. The Italian Ratatouille (Caponata)
I am confused should I call Caponata ‘the Italian Ratatouille’ or call the French Ratatouille ‘the French Caponata’.
Okay. I’ll settle it some other time. Whichever way, one thing is clear—they both are the same, almost including the same ingredients.
So, what I am pushing to your attention is, if you like Ratatouille, then you must try Caponata when you travel to Italy. I am sure this Italian food will meet your grand expectation.
However, my unyielding taste buds have managed to find some unique flavours in Caponata. Yeah. Caponata has a notable sweet and sour flavour resulting from the usage of sugar, raisins, tangy vinegar, and anchovies or could be the olives.
5. The flag salad (Caprese Salad)
You know precisely why I call Caprese salad the flag salad. This simple yet gratifying Italian food plate resembles the country’s flag—the combination of red (tomatoes), green (olives), and white(mozzarella). Further, you can extend the taste of Caprese salad by savouring it with sips of wine.
6. The pride of Naples (Neapolitan pizza)
Neapolitan pizza is the landmark of Italian cuisine. It was the first tang pizza presented to the world from Naples, Italy. This solo classic Italian food arouses your taste buds to try them as you travel the Italian streets, which certainly has pizza stalls and restaurants off and on.
The key highlight of this pizza is San Marzano tomatoes and Mozzarella di buffalo cheese. If you have read my blog post on My Ultimate Solo Travel Guide to Naples in Italy, you know I have mentioned an age-old pizza restaurant called L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele. Make it a point to visit L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele restaurant on your solo travel and try their pizzas to relish the archaic Italian recipe delivered by this authentic restaurant.
7. The nutritious ribbon pasta (Pizzoccheri)
Next on our Italian food line is Pizzoccheri. Pizzoccheri is a nutritious food put together with ribbon pasta and wheat. Honestly, Pizzoccheri is the best dish to fill a solo traveller’s appetite as it heartfully fills your stomach without any additional delicacies.
And, try this healthy Italian food with extra Valtellina Casera cheese to make it even more likeable for solo soul dining in Italy.
8. The tasty hat pasta (Tortellini)
Next to ribbon pasta is the hat pasta, which is widely known as Tortellini. Tortellini served as hat-shaped pasta, sometimes looks like a hat, sometimes like a belly button, and other times, the folding looks like a disordered ring to me. You can see for yourself and attribute your shape to Tortellini.
To be more specific, it looks like a cute little dumpling, but it is pasta. So, this pasta disguised like a dumpling is filled with nutmeg, prosciutto mortadella cheese, meat, and egg.
9. The grand Italian pasta (Spaghetti Alla Carbonara)
Pizza and pasta are the twin sisters that rule Italian cuisine. Spaghetti being one variety of pasta, has attained huge popularity. Thanks to European movies for introducing and teaching us to handle spaghetti with a fork.
eJokes apart, Rome is home to Spaghetti Alla Carbonara. This delectable Italian food is made of three main ingredients. They are meat, cheese, and eggs.
For the meat segment, Guanciale or Pancetta is used. And, for the cheese element, either Pecorino Romano cheese or Parmigiano Reggiano cheese is used. You know the secret of spaghetti now. So, the next time you order it, be more specific. Choose the right cheese, meat, and toppings.
10. The herb and pasta dumpling (Ravioli)
Ravioli is my second favourite Italian food that exhilarated my tastebuds and my solo travel experience in Italy. Ravioli is a traditional Italian food, and so it is remarkable that March 20 is celebrated as Ravioli Day in Italy.
With that said, Ravioli is mistaken for pasta, but it is not pasta. It is a dumpling traditionally appearing in a square shape, but currently, the dumpling is coming in various shapes.
The dumpling stuffing is mostly pasta, and the remaining filling is ricotta cheese, herbs, and tangy sauce.
11. The breaded chicken cutlet (Cotoletta)
Looking for some fresh dishes of Italian cuisine? Something that is not a dumpling, pasta, or pizza.
You have Cotoletta, an oddly large chicken cutlet. Cotoletta tastes divine even if you pair it with any sauce and cheese.
12. The yummy stew of Italy (Osso Buco)
If you are looking for some real spicy Italian food, then Osso Bucco is what you are looking for in the menu card. A very peculiar name for a stew!
So, I did quick research, and Osso Bucco in Italian means “hole in the bone.” It indirectly denotes the tingling flavour the dish gets from using the bone of the shank. Sliding the main ingredient that is beef/lamb/pork shank, the soup is made of three secrets of Italian culinary.
- Gremolata- Topping, which is a mixture of lemon zest, garlic, and parsley
- Olive oil- Olive oil is used in place of vegetable oil
- Red wine- the dish is deglazed with red wine.
Osso Buco is best paired with Risotto Alla Milanese. Do try this combo without fail while you are thinking over Italian foods.
13. The conical Sicilian rice ball (Arancini)
Yummy! Arancini is simple yet flavourful. This Italian rice ball is made in Sicily. The crunchy breadcrumbs stuffed with rice, butter, and egg is so tasty. I have tried making them at my home. It came out quite well though I couldn’t master the Italian trick.
aAnyways, you can dip Arancini in cheese or parmesan to make it more delicious. Interesting news on Sicilian Arancini—in the neighbourhood of Eastern Sicily, Arancini’s are prepared in the shape of a cone reflecting the notorious volcanic mountain Mount Etna, one of Sicily’s popular and adventurous tourist attractions.
14. The crumbly latke of Italy (Zucchini)
Squash is known as Zucchini in Italy. Italians practically make pasta, stew, salads using Zucchini. However, I love Zucchini latke. Latke is basically a corn flour-coated fried dish. Latke is similar to what Indians call ‘pakoras.’
Getting back to our Zucchini latke, they are insanely delicious when dipped with Tzatziki.
Tzatziki is a thick density yoghurt aptly salted, added with a pinch of garlic powder, drop of lemon, and cucumber. They are also similar to Indian ‘raitas’.
15. The honey balls of Italy (Pignolata)
Pignolata is a traditional Italian dessert primarily made of honey and pine nuts. In hindsight, they look like ordinary dough balls dipped in honey spattered with Christmas sprinkles.
But the tiny balls own a discrete flavour of pine nuts invisibly embedded in the dough balls. Guess what? Pignolata is one of the signatures Italian foods. They are specially prepared in significant quantities during Christmas and Carnival times, thereby getting themselves the status of must-try Italian cultural food.
Speaking of this winter Italian food, have you any plans of taking your solo travel during the months of winter or specifically December?
Finding a hostel during times of celebration is troublesome. I struggled to find accommodation as a solo traveller. So, if you need assistance, here are some budget-friendly hostels/dorms to stay on your travel to Italy.
16. The reboiled Tuscan soup (Ribollita)
Ribollita in Italian means’ Reboiled’. I will be lying If I say Ribollita soup was super appetising. I particularly didn’t like the messy and unlikable look of the soup. Like, I don’t know how to describe it, but the large pieces of vegetables submerged in the light water looked terrible.
But, to my surprise, my ears feignedly recorded the voices of people ordering Ribollita in the restaurant. That says Ribollita is indeed a popular Italian food to try as a traveller. Nothing decorative—it is just a soup made of pieces of bread and all sorts of vegetables you will possibly encounter in the market.
17. The potato dumpling (Gnocchi Alla Bava)
Gnocchi Alla Bava traces its root from the Bava family of Italy. Yes, this recipe created by the Bava family is one of my favourites. The rich taste of Gnocchi Alla Bava comes from the potatoes floating in the pool of Fontinella cheese sauce sprayed with pepper and nutmeg.
18. The frozen ice cream (Gelato)
The world is indebted to Italian cuisine for three enchanting dishes—pizza, pasta, and gelato. It is visibly frozen and has a higher density than ordinary ice cream. Gelato is flavoursome in its appearance and to the taste buds. Typically, Italian Gelatos’ come in vanilla, chocolate, hazelnut, pistachio, and almond flavours.
19. The creamy gelatine (Panna Cotta)
Panna Cotta is certainly a finger-licking recipe from Italian cuisine. The entire dish is just cream. Indeed, highly mouldered cream with added gelatine, increasing the thickness. Bavarian cream and Blancmange are similar creamy desserts made of sugar and gelatine you can try on your solo travel to Italy.
20. The expensive dessert (Tiramisu)
Tiramisu is a delight to all coffee lovers. The terrific dessert increases price amounts to its usage of mascarpone cheese. Mascarpone is a cream cheese whose preparation involves a lengthy process, thus positioning tiramisu on the expensive side.
Did you love it, friends?
No wonder Italian cuisine is popular.
However, if you are allergic to dairy products, mainly cheese, I don’t know how far you can tolerate Italian dishes. Nevertheless, you have spicy, hot-spirited, peppery, and saucy dishes like Ossobuco, Ribollita, Zucchini, and Cotoletta.
Asking out of curiosity, have you tried cooking any of the cheese or cream dishes mentioned in the list? Quite a number of fascinating cheese varieties, isn’t it? And interesting names too.
I would like to try one of the Italian cheese recipes in my kitchen. If not the Fontinella cheese, I shall try the simple and basic mozzarella cheese.
So, if you have experienced knowledge in Italian culinary, my eyes are waiting to see your comments. Do share your refreshing to disastrous experiences if you have any while preparing the Italian dishes.
If you are willing to learn a few Italian phrases check my blogpost on 25 Italian Useful Words/Phrases for a Solo Female Traveller in Italy.
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An introverted blogger who is looking to make unforgettable solo travel memories with one short life.