8 Authentic Italian Dishes You May Never Have Heard Of

July 24, 2015

Each week, Italian local Emiko Davies takes on a grand tour of Italy, showing us how to make classic, fiercely regional dishes at home.

Most of us are familiar with Italian food heavy-hitters. We know and love caprese salad, risotto, and spaghetti carbonara. But there's a whole word of regional dishes that haven't made it quite as big.

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Lucky for us, Emiko Davies is on the ground in Italy, reporting back with authentic dishes from Verona, Palermo, and everywhere in between. They're dishes that might be hard to find outside of Italy but that, with Emiko's help, you can recreate at home.

Here are eight Italian dishes to get to know a little better:

Focaccia di Recco

You probably think of focaccia as a fluffy bread that's often topped with caramelized onions and sun-dried tomatoes. But in this version from Recco, a town in the region in Liguria, thin, flaky dough surrounds a layer of oozy cheese.



In the 50s and 60s, sweet, small yeasted buns studded with raisins and filled with whipped cream were a favorite Roman breakfast. Their name (which translates to "almost husband") comes from a tradition of grooms-to-be gifting these treats to their fiancées. 


Ravioli all'Arancia

In Florence, ravioli is filled with a delicate mixture of orange zest and ricotta, then dressed with olive oil and a scattering of Parmesan. 


Schiacciata all'Uva

You'll only find this sticky, sweet bread full of grapes in Tuscany in September. To replicate the recipe in the states, Emiko recommends using Concord grapes or, if you can't find those, blueberries.


Strudel di Mele

Though you might not think of apple strudel as an Italian dish, it's a classic dessert in the Trentino-Alto Adige region, which was a part of Austria until after World War I. 


Gelo d'Anguria

This Sicilian dessert is made from only 3 ingredients—watermelon, cornstarch, and sugar—and is served in the capital Palermo for the mid-July celebrations of Santa Rosalia, the city's patron saint. 


Dita Degli Apostoli

"Apostle's fingers" are one of Puglia's most-loved desserts. The delicate ricotta filling, which almost always includes a splash of liqueur, varies between towns and families.  


Gnocchi alla Romana

You're likely familiar with potato gnocchi and ricotta gnocchi, but this Roman-style version is made by cutting cooked semolina flour into circles, then baking the gnocchi with butter and cheese. 

Photos by Emiko Davies

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Komala
  • Christy
  • Daniela Ortu
    Daniela Ortu
I used to work at Food52. I'm probably the person who picked all of the cookie dough out of the cookie dough ice cream.


Komala July 24, 2016
WOW! These look incredible! So glad Food 52 have the geeks to bring this to our attention. Now I must find a way to try are truly so "wrong" in the right way.
Christy August 2, 2015
I thought I would know these, but I only heard of one!
Daniela O. July 25, 2015
even i did not know some of these and I am italian...thanks!!!