The Difference Between Southern and Northern Italian Cuisine -

The Difference Between Southern and Northern Italian Cuisine

A close up of a pizza pan on a stove

Southern Italian food is famed for its mouth-watering and flavour-filled foods. Spicy tomato-based sauces, salads, pastas, desserts and more make the dishes memorable. Food from this part of the world is said to be some of the best tasting food in the world. Indeed, many people are amazed upon tasting authentic Southern Italian food for the first time.

An Overview

A slice of bread on a plate

Southern Italian cuisine is best known for its incredible pizza recipes. Other popular traditional dishes that come straight out of Southern Italy are creamy marinara sauce, eggplant parmesan, and a wealth of fresh olive oils. Neapolitan pizza actually takes most of these ingredients (tomatoes, sauce, olive oil, cheese, etc.) and makes it a simple but delicious pie.

Aside from pizza, some of the most famous southern Italian food includes the Barolo and Tagliatelle. Barolo, which is a traditional Italian bread baked with meat and fennel, is best eaten on its own or with tomato sauce. Tagliatelle, which can either be stuffed or rolled, is made of thin layers of pasta cooked with beef and fennel sausage. The unique combination of ingredients gives the dish an earthy taste while keeping with the Italian roots.


Food on the cutting board

Pasta is another integral element of Southern Italian cooking. Long before the invention of pasta dishes, Italians were making their own pasta dough using figs, seeds, pastry shells, egg, fat, dough and water. The pasta of today is different thanks to advancements in cooking methods and ingredients. The dough is still made from the egg, but the most common types are made from durum wheat or semolina. In fact, one reason for the proliferation of pasta is the modernization of Italian cooking. The prevalence of pizza has made people crave for pasta as well.

For Southern Italian cooking, fish is a staple. Most Italian restaurants offer some variation of the fish dish that usually incorporates one or two pepper varieties. Fish is served with various types of vegetables, pasta and different sauces. Most Italian restaurants in Los Angeles to serve fish in many different ways.

Main Ingredients

Unlike most Mediterranean dishes, Southern Italian cooking relies heavily on onions, garlic and seasonings. The bold flavors of the ingredients blend well with the tomatoes and spices to form a delicious dish. Some chefs add bell peppers and/or onions to their stir-fry and use olive oil or butter to cook the ingredients. The final result is a delectable dish that is healthy and pretty good for you too.

Another prominent feature of Southern Italian food is that the emphasis is often on the basilica style of cooking. Basilicata is the Italian word for tomato paste, and it is featured in all of the traditional Italian dishes – from spaghetti and meatballs to pizza and the regional lasagna. Basilicata can be found anywhere in Italy, but it’s particularly popular in the northern regions of Tuscany. Simply put, it means “from the mountains”.

Vegetables are very common in southern Italian food. The most common vegetables you will find are red onions, zucchini, mushrooms and peas. Other ingredients include tomatoes (which may be added fresh or canned), fresh herbs, garlic, basil, salt and pepper. Although there are no true Italian foods that are totally vegetarian, the overwhelming majority of Italian dishes contain at least a little vegetable. In fact, Italian cooks are famous for their creativity in adding vegetables to their dishes; they’re able to use any variety of vegetables they like and still come out with a delicious dish.


As is the case with many Italian dishes, seafood is prevalent in the south. Scampi is a type of Italian sausage that is typically made from beef meat and delivered in a brick oven. Chicken sausages, another typical meat dish, is also found throughout the region. Other seafood dishes include fish, tuna, mussels and clams.

As with all types of Italian cuisine, the main staple of southern Italian food is pasta. As with many other countries in Italy, the most common type of pasta is the penne. Penne is a light, wheat dough that is typically used in Italian cooking. It is usually served with tomato sauce, and in many recipes, is even topped with cheese.


In general, Italian cuisine tends to be more spicy and less sweet than its northern counterpart. Spices such as garlic and onions are used more frequently in southern Italian cooking. For the northern Italian cuisine, sausages, sauteed legumes, and creamy sauces such as balsamic are more common. Southern Italian dishes tend to have more organ meats, red peppers, and onions. With the combination of the two styles, you can get a good idea of what is what when it comes to southern Italian food.

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