traditional Italian pasta dishes

10 Traditional Italian Pasta Dishes You Must Try

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the Top 10 traditional Italian pasta dishes and explore the ingredients, regions, and unique characteristics that make them so special.

Italian cuisine is known for its diverse and delicious pasta dishes. From classic favorites like spaghetti and meatballs to lesser-known regional specialties, there is no shortage of delicious pasta dishes to discover.

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1. Spaghetti alla Carbonara

spaghetti carbonara

Packed with flavor, this dish hails from Rome and is a simple yet delicious pasta dish made with spaghetti, eggs, pancetta or bacon, and grated Pecorino Romano cheese.

The sauce combines the eggs and cheese and then adds the pancetta or bacon. The dish is typically finished with a sprinkle of black pepper. There are many variations to this dish. You can use bacon rather than pork or zucchini rather than bacon or pork as a vegetarian style. Get the recipe.

2. Fettuccine Alfredo (Fettuccine al Burro)

fettuccine al burro

This dish is from Rome, made with fettuccine pasta, butter, and Parmesan cheese. The pasta is cooked until tender and then tossed with butter and cheese. Then, the dish is typically finished with a sprinkle of black pepper.

Note: the original recipe is quite different from whatever you may find in the United States. Get the recipe.

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3. Lasagna alla Bolognese

Italian lasagna with besciamella sauce

Lasagna is a traditional pasta dish from Emilia-Romagna, made with wide, flat noodles, meat sauce, béchamel or ricotta cheese, and grated Parmesan cheese. The dish is typically baked in the oven, creating delicious pasta, meat, and cheese layers. Get the recipe.

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4. Tagliatelle al Ragù

tagliatelle al ragu'

This dish comes from Emilia-Romagna and is made with tagliatelle pasta, meat sauce, and grated Parmesan cheese. The sauce is typically made with beef, pork, and pancetta or bacon and then slow-cooked for several hours. Get the recipe.

5. Penne all’Arrabbiata

penne arrabbiata

This dish is from Lazio, made with penne pasta, tomatoes, garlic, and red pepper flakes. The sauce is typically made by sautéing garlic and red pepper flakes in olive oil and adding tomatoes to create a spicy and flavorful pasta dish. Get the recipe.

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6. Gnocchi alla Sorrentina

gnocchi alla sorrentina

This dish is from Campania and is made with potato dumplings, tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, and basil. The dumplings are typically made by mixing mashed potatoes with flour and eggs and then boiled. The dish is generally finished with a sprinkle of grated Parmesan cheese. Get the recipe.

7. Spaghetti Cacio e Pepe

cacio e pepe

This dish is from Lazio, made with spaghetti, Pecorino Romano cheese, and black pepper. The sauce is made by grating the cheese, mixing it with black pepper, and then tossing the pasta with the sauce. Get the recipe.

8. Risotto alla Milanese

risotto alla milanese

This dish is from Milan (Lombardy region) and is made with Arborio rice, saffron, and grated Parmesan cheese. The rice is cooked in a beef broth and white wine mixture and then finished with saffron and cheese. Get the recipe.

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9. Cannelloni


This dish is from Campania and is made with large, tube-shaped pasta filled with meat, spinach, and ricotta cheese. Moreover, the pasta is typically rolled and baked in the oven with a tomato or meat sauce. Get the recipe.

10. Ossobuco with Polenta

ossobuco con polenta

This dish is from Lombardy and is made with polenta, ossobuco, and gremolada. Ossobuco is a traditional Milanese dish with veal shanks cooked in a rich tomato sauce.

At the same time, polenta is a traditional Northern Italian cornmeal dish. Gremolada, a mixture of lemon zest, garlic, and parsley, is added as a garnish. Get the recipe.

These are the Top 10 traditional Italian pasta dishes, each with a unique flavor and history. From spaghetti alla Carbonara in Rome to Risotto alla Milanese in Lombardy, these dishes are beloved for their rich flavors and comforting textures.

Whether you’re a pasta lover or a newbie, these dishes are sure to impress. Each pasta dish accurately represents its region, showcasing the local ingredients and culinary traditions.

Next time you’re looking to try something new or want to explore the diversity of Italian cuisine, give one of these dishes a try and experience the authentic taste of Italy.

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