Exploring Italian Food—The Dishes You Definitely Need to Try

Everyone is familiar with Bello Deli Italian staples like pasta and pizza, though the versions we know—and love—the best Italian staples in North America are not quite the same as those traditional recipes hailing from the most intimate regions of Italy.  But aside from what you may know—and love—here are a few Italian dishes you definitely need to try.

Bello Deli

BIGOLI

If you love spaghetti, you really need to try bugoli.  The signature pasta of the Veneto region, bigoli is similar to spaghetti in that it consists of long noodles and a simple sauce. Bigoli noodles, however, are thick, coarse, and tubular (like long macaroni, perhaps, or bucatini) and made traditionally from buckwheat flour and duck eggs.  It is most often served with a simple, dry red wine sauce, vegetables, and roasted wild duck, and garnished with parsley and a dash—or two—of Parmesan cheese.

RIBOLLITA

Traditionally known as “cucina povera” (poor man’s food), this dish was invented—and most often consumed—by servants who would collect table scraps of unfinished bread and vegetables from their master’s table, and boil them in water for their own dinner. The word “Ribollita” actually means “reboiled” in Italian.  The bread thickens this soup so it more resembles a chili and while it may have had humble beginnings, this dish is now proudly considered one of the most important—and succulent—dishes of Tuscany.

RISI E BISI

Basically, “rice and peas,” this dish might sound bland but, of course, Italians know how to take simple ingredients and make a sophisticated and flavorful plate. Yes, it really only contains rice and peas, but the two main ingredients are cooked down with stock and seasoning much like a traditional risotto; though, risi e bisi is made without stirring, so the result is less of a soup and more of a balanced, textured, and surprisingly flavorful Venetian dish.

OSSO BUCCO

While the other dishes on this list are mostly obscure, osso bucco is not something that every westerner has tried, even if they commonly see it on the menu.  Make sure you check this out, though, the next time you sit down at an Italian restaurant (or, if you are lucky, at an Italian family table).  The dish consists of veal shank braised slowly in white wine and vegetables all served along with a garlic gremolata.  Modern versions of this dish may also come with tomatoes, but the authentic, traditiaonl Milanese dish does not have tomato.  When you are done, remember to scoop at the buttery, rich marrow from the veal bones—most will contend this is the best part!