If you are in Italy for the first time, you will be amazed at the diversity of the regional food, each and every Italian region is characterized by its own typical recipes.
In Italy three-course meals a day is the rule. On Sundays however, or in case you have guests, antipasto or an appetizer is usually served. Antipasto can include lots of treats: cheese with honey or jam, cold colds (ham, salami, ciauscolo, lonza), pickles of any sort: mushrooms, olives, onions, garlics, aubergines, courgettes, peppers, etc. Also very typical and tasty is bruschetta – toasted bread rubbed with garlic and topped with extra-virgin olive oil, salt and pepper for plain recipe or toppings of spicy red pepper, tomato, vegetables, or cheese. A big favourite in summer is caprese – salad in the style of Capri, consisting of fresh tomatoes topped with slices of the freshest mozzarella cheese and basil leaves.
First courses can include traditional pasta dishes – spaghetti, tagliatelle etc., or vegetable soups or risotto. Have you ever heard of the quick, easy and yummy "Bucatini all’Amatriciana” – a great pasta sauce, on the gentle side of spicy, that is sure to become a favourite ? Have you ever had “Maccheroni alla chitarra”, handmade pasta cut into strips, very similar to spaghetti noodles traditionally served topped with the juices from a lamb braise or spicy tomato sauce and sprinkled with freshly grated pecorino cheese ?
As to second courses, two Italians’ popular dishes are “Pizzaiola Veal” and "Brasato". The former is a dish derived from the Neapolitan tradition that features beef meat cooked with tomatoes and olive oil long enough to tenderize the meat. Variations include garlic and oregano leaves.
The “Brasato” is veal braised with wine, Barolo is advisable, that tenderizes and soaks up the aromatic liquid.
So when you go in Italy, you had better try one of the traditional recipes: as the proverb goes <when in Rome, do as the Romans do>!