Taste of Italy

A word of warning: These photos are sure to leave you craving a bowl of pasta, a thin crust pizza … and maybe even a trip to Italy. Buon appetito!
By: Allee Sangiolo

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Photo By: Mychko Alezander, Getty Images

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Whether you're drinking a cappuccino, an espresso, a latte or a macchiato -- biscotti are the perfect complement.

Start your Italian feast off right with a plate of bruschetta -- crostini topped with fresh tomatoes and basil, then drizzled with olive oil.

Gnocchi, soft (but dense) Italian dumplings, are often made with potato -- and are sure to fill you up.

If you’re craving dessert -- or even just a snack -- you can’t go wrong with a cannoli. The Sicilian pastry is often made with ricotta cheese, and is best washed down with a “digestivo” such as sambuca or grappa.

No Italian meal is complete without a bottle of red wine.

It may be simple, but few things are more delicious than a traditional Neapolitan margherita pizza, named after Queen Margherita when she was served a pizza made with the Italian flag’s colors on a visit to Naples in 1889.

Tiramisu, which appropriately translates as “pick me up,” is made of layers of ladyfingers soaked in espresso, mascarpone cheese, cocoa powder and liqueur.

Salami, prosciutto, pepperoni, capicola, soppressata … oh my! Italians love their cured meats, and they make for a great antipasto.

Nothing beats homemade, fresh pasta. 

The Italians love their olives, whether they are served as an antipasto or used to make olive oil.

A northern Italian specialty, pesto is made from garlic, plenty of fresh basil, pine nuts, olive oil and parmigiano-reggiano.

A popular “aperitivo” in Italy, a negroni is made of gin, sweet vermouth and Campari. Many restaurants and bars in Italy serve a buffet of free food to snack on while you enjoy a predinner cocktail.

A bowl of silky-creamy risotto. Typically served as a “primo,” or first course, risotto preparation is an art: al dente, but cooked enough that the starch from the rice creates a smooth and creamy consistency.

A caprese salad in the U.S. can hardly compare with the same simple dish in Italy: the red, juicy and ripe Roma tomatoes layered with thick slices of bufala mozzarella will put all other caprese salads you’ve had to shame.

Who could forget spaghetti? The iconic, long, round noodles are just one variety of over 300 different types of Italian pasta.

A classic Sicilian pasta dish, pasta alla norma is made with eggplant in a tomato sauce and ricotta salata. Southern Italian cuisine relies heavily on tomatoes, peppers, olives, artichokes, eggplants, fish and capers, while northern Italian cuisine uses less tomato sauce and more herbs and white sauce.

Polenta, made from maize meal, is a typical northern Italian dish. Once cooked into a creamy, thick paste, it can be served with vegetables, fish or meat, or shaped into patties and then fried, baked or grilled.