Italian Food Traditions

We can all agree that Italians do it better when it comes to food. Italian food traditions abound in Italy. Its food is made up from a number of diverse cultures so there are many variations in Italian food.

But, some Italian cooking traditions have stood the test of time and have become food staples throughout the world.

In this guide, we go over common Italian traditions and dishes, based on authentic Italian recipes, which we think everyone should try at least once.

And, if you are not quite ready to hop over to Italy for an authentic Italian meal, visit Gerbasi Ristorante. We offer you Italy at its best.

How Food Plays a Big Part in the Everyday Italian Lifestyle

For the Italians, food is far from just a source of nourishment. The Italians love family. One of the reasons why is the way food plays such a big part in the everyday Italian lifestyle.

Italian families usually eat together with extended families and love to commemorate major holidays like Christmas and the many other religious festivals celebrated in Italy.

What Are the Italian Food Traditions?

Generally, Italian dishes are known for their taste of simplicity with a focus on quality and fresh ingredients. Their dishes influence other palettes all over the world.

There are an infinite number of Italian meals to try, but these are dishes that we think everyone should try at least once.


Lasagne is an all-time classic and can be traced back to Naples or Emilia-Romagna in Italy. It consists of beef or other ground meats, cheese and sometimes vegetables layered between pasta sheets, topped with cheese, and oven-baked. Italians compliment the flavors of this dish with a glass of red wine.


While rice dishes are not very common in Italy, risotto is a unique dish of traditional Italian cuisine, originating in Northern Italy.

Risotto is a creamy rice dish cooked with butter, saffron, wine, and onions. Sometimes meat, or fish are added depending on the region. The result is a delicious creamy rice texture.

Spaghetti Carbonara

Spaghetti carbonara is a classic spaghetti dish that’s associated with traditional Italian cooking. It’s one of the most famous pasta dishes ever. Pasta is a common ingredient for Italian cuisine, and the carbonara encompasses Italian cooking so superbly.

Carbonara is made with spaghetti, pork, egg, cheese, and black pepper. It is made by mixing eggs with cheese and then adding it to the hot pasta with pork and black pepper. The dish is usually enhanced with a sprinkle of fresh Parmesan cheese at the serving table.

A nice salad or antipasto appetizer typically consisting of olives, anchovies, cheeses, and meats is usually served before the meal

Neapolitan Pizza

Pizza is the most famous dish in the world of all traditional Italian dishes. With roots in Naples, pizza is now eaten in nearly every country in the world.

Neapolitan pizza is the most simple of them, consisting of simply a dough base with tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, fresh basil, and olive oil.

What Is the National Dish of Italy?

This is a debatable question. Many consider pizza as Italy’s national dish. But, the favorite dish can vary by Region.

Because of Italy’s diverse geography, fertile land and beautiful weather it has endured countless invasions from people of other countries. The impact of the invasions has left a wide footprint on the culture that influences the food prepared throughout the country.

Gerbasi Ristorante

No matter what your favorite Italian dish may be, we invite you to visit Gerbasi Ristorante to experience some of the best Italian food in the Bronx.

With an expansive menu catering to your dinner and lunch needs, Gerbasi Ristorante promises to be a thoroughly delightful Italian restaurant experience.


Italians are known for their food and have a rich history in preparing spicy Italian food. Adding some spice to your meals is a great way to warm you up while also enjoying a delicious meal. Here are several spices and herbs you can add to make your Italian dish recipes even that much more special.

Spices and Herbs to Add to Any Italian Dish


The first and most obvious option that cooks need in their kitchen is salt. Salt is abundant in Italian cooking and is known for the delicious and savory Italian food it produces. Salt helps bring out the unique flavors in Italian cuisine’s simplicity and elevates the flavor of your meals.

Of course, everyone’s taste for salt is different. Some people crave salty food, some do not. Experiment using differing amounts and your meals will come out just right!


Garlic is another common spice used in Italian cooking and this savory flavor compliments a lot of dishes very well. You can add it to your meats, cheeses, sauces, and a variety of other dishes as well.


Fresh ground pepper is a staple of authentic Italian cuisine. Freshly ground pepper is the best pepper to use on any sort of spicy Italian food dish.


Saffron is expensive to purchase, but this spice will add a unique color and flavor to your dish. This spice is used frequently in fish stews, risottos, and other saucy dishes.

Bay Leaves

Bay leaves are commonly used to help in flavoring marinades for meat as well as white sauces.


If there is garlic in an Italian dish, you can almost guarantee that parsley will be included in the recipe. These two complement each other very well and will go well with pasta, cheeses like mozzarella and other various pasta sauces.


This herb is abundant in the Italian countryside and is commonly used in meat marinades and grilling. It is also used with charcoals to give the smoke a better aroma when grilling or smoking.


Fresh basil is probably the most loved herb in Italian cuisine and pairs very well with tomatoes, which means you can use it with many tomato sauce recipes. Basil leaves are widely used in many pasta dishes, though it can also be seen cozying up with vegetables like eggplant or zucchini.

Crushed Red Pepper

Crushed red pepper flakes are perfect for adding spice to simple Italian meals like spaghetti bolognese, lasagna, sausages and pizza. Most restaurants offer this on the table, but you can easily pick up your own at your nearest grocery store.

Chili Powder

Chili powder has a more intense kick than red pepper, which makes it perfect for cooking. You can use this in marinades, salad dressings, or homemade sauces the next time you need to spice up your Italian meal.


Sage is known as the “miracle herb” in Italian cooking. It is used in great quantities in pasta dishes like risotto and gnocchi. Sage is also used to season roasted meats like pork, beef and chicken.

Italian Seasoning

And, of course there is the grand daddy of all spicy Italian food seasonings: Italian Seasoning. This is a blend of dried and ground herbs used in many Italian cuisine recipes. Herbs commonly included are sage, oregano, rosemary, thyme, garlic powder, basil and coriander.

Visit Gerbasi Ristorante for the Best Spicy Italian Food

Some like it hot! If you are a spicy food eater you will love our menu and full variety of spicy Italian food. Visit us today.