Recipes by Ethnicity: African Recipes
Costa Rican Recipes
Middle Eastern Recipes
United States Recipes
Pennetini in White
Sausage and Polenta
Go to any family restaurant with Italian dining in mind and you are likely to order chicken parmesan, pasta alfredo, spaghetti and meatballs, or maybe a pizza. It is easy to think that some pasta, some marinara sauce, a crust of Italian bread and a glass of wine is the beginning and end of Italian cuisine, especially if you grew up in the United States. There is much more than red sauce and starch on the agenda for most Italian regional cuisines, and with all of the various regions and cultures in the boot on the ocean, Italian regional cuisines have as much range as your average New York City block.
There is the tourist region of Tuscany, on the northwestern coast of Italy. Tuscany is sought out for its simple but delicious dishes, seasoned sparingly with basil, parsley, and thyme. Tuscan bread and a little bit of olive oil is a big part of the seafood dishes of the Tuscan region.
Much like the American idea of Chinese food, the American idea of Italian food is only the tip of the iceberg. Italian regional cuisine is marked by the country's locality to northern Africa and other Mediterranean countries, as well as a diverse local landscape, ranging from mountains to oceans. Sheppards, shopkeepers, farmers, and fisherman all contribute to one of the most diverse cultural cuisines in the world. Next time you are in the mood for Italian food, try something a little bit different than your usual spaghetti and meatballs, maybe a saffron seafood stew or a polenta. Rest assured, you won't think of the words "Italian cuisine" the same again.