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There's A Large Variety In Italian Cuisine When many people think about Italian food, they think of spaghetti and meatballs, which is actually an American innovation, pizza, lasagna or ravioli. Actually, the cuisine of Italy is way more diverse and has many more influences than you might imagine. Pasta with spicy tomato sauces (and there are many variations) make up only a small part of what is possibly the world's most popular cuisine. Early Origins The beginning of Italian cuisine go back into history, but most likely not from the sources you may be expecting. The ancient Romans had access to olive oil, which is the foundation of many Mediterranean cuisines, from Lebanese and Greek to Spanish and Moroccan. But, the diet of many Romans was much different for the diet of the modern Italian diet. Actually, a lot of Roman delicacies would be too much for the modern palates. Modern Italian culture has a lot more in common with that of the Etruscans compared to the Romans from what historians can determine. Etruscans, whose name survives in the appellation "Tuscany," a northern province, were a far more pleasure-loving people with keen appreciation of beauty and the finer things in life, unlike the pragmatic and militaristic Romans. Even though the people of Italy owe their language to the Latin tongue of Rome, over generations, they've taken on more of the Etruscan way of living. Which also includes the love of good food. That Etruscan influence has played an important role in the development of modern Italian food. Tomato Sauce and Pasta While pasta dishes with rich, tomato-based sauces are practically as strongly identified with Italy as opera, high-end sports cars and designer men's clothes, neither of these actually originated in Italy. Pasta, in fact, was basically unknown in Italy before 1300, and it would be a few more centuries before there were tomatoes available. It was the famous 13th century traveler and explorer Marco Polo who initially introduced pasta from China around 1296. But, tomatoes are native to America and were brought back from the New World from the Spaniards in the 1500s. People that lived in or around the Mediterranean discovered that the local climate worked rather well to cultivate this novel fruit. It should be pointed out that these dishes are native mainly to the southern region of Italy and the island of Sicily, which is called the Mezzogiorno, although they are the most popular among aficionados of Italian cuisine. Northern Italian cuisine is quite a bit different. In the past couple of years, another sauce that originates from the city of Genoa has become more and more popular. Made with olive oil, garlic, pine nuts and fresh, ground basil leaves, pesto is a staple of northern Italian dishes, finding its way into anything from fettuccine con fungi e pancetta (flat noodles with mushrooms and bacon) to seafood and chicken dishes. The reason pasta dishes with tomato sauce like lasagna and ravioli are the most popular among Italian food lovers, is because most Italian immigrants to the United States and Canada originated from Sicily and southern Italy.

Antoni Ravioli Company, Inc.

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There's A Large Variety In Italian Cuisine Exploring Italian Cuisine Even when it involves tomato-based sauces, there's a great deal of diversity. The most prevalent is marinara sauce or "sailor's sauce," however you will also be able to try spicy putanesca, arrabiata, fra diavolo and fresh tomato and basil, which happily combines the North and South. Get started on a culinary tour of Italia today, because there is a whole world of flavor waiting to be discovered! When many people think about Italian food, they think of spaghetti and meatballs, which is actually an American innovati...

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Antoni Ravioli Company, Inc.

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There's A Large Variety In Italian Cuisine