Beyond pizza and pasta: The best Italian dishes

Italy has one of the most popular and distinctive cuisines in the world. Its bold flavours and fresh seasonal ingredients are favourites in fine dining and rustic home cooking alike. With pizza and pasta being some of the most accessible and affordable Italian options, it can be easy to assume that this is all Italian cuisine has to offer. But the reality is that Italian food is as strong on variety as it is on flavour.

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If you are hoping to broaden your experience and take your taste buds on a culinary adventure across Italy, check out some of the best dishes below.


These delectable balls of fried rice and flour are also mixed with eggs, cheese, and fresh herbs for a rich consistency and great flavour. They are traditionally served with antipasti, but with olives, fresh bread, and a fine Italian cheese or meat, they can be a great meal in themselves.


This distinctive Italian dish is traditionally the very finest raw beef, seasoned and served fresh, but there are now several variations. With a drizzle of olive oil and a generous squeeze of lemon, tuna carpaccio is increasingly popular. Vegetarian options are just as flavoursome and authentic too. Try tomato carpaccio with mozzarella, or get creative with aubergine or root vegetables. With helpful tips and recipes, you can even create a version at home.

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A luxurious Italian comfort food, a rich risotto can be made fresh and light with the addition of garden vegetables such as peas and herbs like parsley, or it can be sumptuous and creamy with porcini mushrooms. Adding fish is also popular. For trickier dishes, it is difficult to beat the experience of trying the dish when cooked by an authentic chef. Visit popular local spots such as, an Italian restaurant in Dublin, and try a taste of Italy firsthand.


Italy has some of the world’s most popular desserts, but it doesn’t always have to be tiramisu or pannacotta. Pandoro is a delectable variation on a traditional panettone, made with beer yeast, and is instantly recognisable for its flavour and vibrant yellow colour.

Whether you are new to the joys of Italian food or have experience of some of the most authentic dishes the nation has to offer, there is always something new to enjoy.

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