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Pasta with beet sauce and gorgonzola cheese.

Hungry? Eat this!

For the record, “Italian Food” is SO much more than pizza, spaghetti, ravioli and fettucine alfredo. In fact, “fettucine alfredo” doesn’t exist except in the restaurants catering to tourists away from home looking for their favorite edible myth.

Hold your hand up in front of you with your thumb and forefinger a half inch apart. That measures the typical range Americans imagine of the variety of food in Italy. Now, stick your arms straight out to your sides. That’s the REAL measure of the bountiful range of edible deliciousness you’ll encounter in Italy. And that bounty is not at all spread uniformly throughout “the boot”. You can go 50 kilometers and find a completely different food culture. There are some foods you’ll find in one town only.

I urge you. When you answer that call to go explore Italy, please don’t fall back on ordering pizza, spaghetti and ravioli. Sure, they will be good, and not like what you’ve had in America. Rather, find out what the local specialty is and eat it with gusto. And please, whatever you do, don’t seek out that well-known, international hamburger chain. You’ll be in the land of good food! Eat well! You might just find your next, new favorite dish.

In the last month, I stayed in the north of Italy: Milano, Sanremo, Genova, Pavia and small towns scattered in the hills south of Milan. The following photos show a selection of the dishes I ate with great pleasure.

(For contrast, check out Eating the South to see some of the foods I enjoyed when I traveled in Sicily, the southern coast and “heel of the boot” in 2011.)

(Click on the first photo to view the images “plate-size” and click through the slide show.)

  1. Donna D.June 30,14

    The pasta with beet sauce and gorgonzola! You are so lucky! This dish haunts me… I often recall the time Loredano made it at your house …

  2. Donna D.June 30,14

    I wanted to click “like” on so many of these photos / dishes!

  3. MaureenJune 30,14

    The pasta with beet sauce and gorgonzola is remarkably easy and SO delicious!

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