The Different Types of Italian Cooking

Jeffrey Finegan, a longtime philanthropist, volunteers almost every day at a local homeless shelter in Pennsylvania. Outside of helping others, Jeffrey Finegan is an avid cook. Although he enjoys cooking a wide range of cuisines and dishes, he is especially fond of exploring Italian recipes.

A diverse country, each region of Italy maintains a unique type of cuisine. Many Americans are familiar with food from the central area of Italy, which includes such regions as Tuscany and Emilia-Romagna. Kitchens in these regions are well-stocked with such ingredients as prosciutto and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Egg pasta is also very popular in Emilia-Romagna, and many central Italian dishes make use of rich meats like fish and pork.

In southern Italy, the cuisine focuses more on simplicity and rich flavor. Often described as comfort food, southern dishes frequently showcase seafood and smaller game. This region includes such areas as Sicily and Sardinia, both of which bring a strong Mediterranean influence to the cuisine. Southern Italy is also notable for being widely considered the birthplace of typical spaghetti sauce.

Northern Italy, meanwhile, is influenced by European cuisine due to its close proximity to countries like France and Austria. Dairy and cheese are common staples of northern Italian dishes, and butter is often used in place of olive oil.