Whether your mind jumps to pizza or gelato, Italian food has one thing in common: incredible flavor. Italy’s cuisine is varied and regionally specific, but another common characteristic is simplicity.
Most dishes are made with few ingredients, as the focus is placed on the quality of the components of a dish. Let’s dive into the southern region of Italy, from which many popular food staples are originated.
The Top Staples of Southern Italian Cuisine
Southern Italian cuisine touches all food groups. From delicate and rich cheeses and meats to pasta and seafood preparations, there is something to love for everyone.
Italy is surrounded by water. Unsurprisingly, fresh seafood isn’t hard to find in this part of the world. The most common seafood items in Italian dishes are tuna, octopus, squid, mussels, sardines, and swordfish
Here are some outstanding seafood dishes to try:
- Stuffed sardines. The stuffing is usually comprised of bread crumbs, pine nuts, garlic, and chopped anchovies. A savory treat that isn’t short of flavors nor freshness.
- Zuppa di Pesce. This is a seafood stew with a bad of white wine, clam broth, and tomato sauce. The seafood that is included in the preparation widely varies, though most often a combination of squid, mussels, shrimp, and clams is used.
Al dente was invented by the Italians. Try some of these Southern staples with garlic and tomato sauce:
Southern Italian cheeses dominate the global cheese market. Make sure to try dishes with pecorino, caciocavallo, mozzarella, and ricotta. For example:
- Cacio e pepe. This simple pasta preparation comes with pepper and pecorino.
- Ricotta gnudi. These larger pasta balls are filled with delicate ricotta.
- Caprese. A caprese salad with basil, tomato, and fresh mozzarella.
Southern Italy is abundant with lamb and kid, which is a baby goat. These meats are often baked, grilled on skewers, or roasted.
Pork is popular for dry-cured meats and sausages, and tend to be a bit spicier in the south compared to other regions.
Fruits and Vegetables
The land in southern Italy is prime for growing fruits and vegetables. Italy’s land is lush, which is well known by wine lovers around the world. But while we tend to focus on vineyards, there are many great fruits and vegetables to enjoy in Southern Italy, primarily citrus fruits. Blood oranges, tangerines, and lemons are used plentifully in Italian cuisine.
To try some of Italy’s best without needing to cross the Atlantic ocean, visit Assaggio – an authentic Italian restaurant serving Positano cuisine.