MEDITERRANEAN ITALIAN CUISINE INCLUDES MUCH OF ITALY OUTSIDE THE NORTH AND THE MOUNTAINOUS INLAND REGIONS.
Italian cuisine has a great variety of different ingredients which are commonly used, ranging from fruits, vegetables, sauces, meats, etc. In the North of Italy, fish (such as cod, or baccalà), potatoes, rice, corn (maize), sausages, pork, and different types of cheeses are the most common ingredients.
It is a diverse cuisine, but among its best-known and most characteristic foods are risotto, pizza in Neapolitan and Sicilian styles, and pasta dishes such as spaghetti.
Risotto is a dish made using Italian short-grain rice, which is both highly absorbent and resistant to turning into a pudding when cooked with stock and flavored with onions and garlic, cooked in butter. Risotto variations are plenty including the Veneto risottos that include additions of fish and white wine; chicken; eel; mushrooms and grated Parmesan cheese; quails; small pieces of beef; courgettes (zucchini); clams; ragù; beans; mussels; prawns; cuttlefish; and asparagus.
Pizza, also spoken as “pissaladina or pissaladière” in Provence (the cuisines of Mediterranean France and Italy having something in common), is a piece of bread dough rolled out thin, with a topping which varies from place to place, but is generally much simpler than those in the English-speaking world. In Naples this is tomato, anchovies and buffalo mozzarella. In San Remo it is onions cooked in olive oil, with salted sardines. The Provençal variety uses onions, black olives, and anchovies.
Spaghetti dishes also vary. It may be eaten “simply with olive oil and garlic”, without cheese, or with a sauce of “very red and ripe peeled tomatoes”, cooked briefly and flavored with garlic and either basil or parsley. One Sicilian variant includes pieces of bacon, onions fried in fat, garlic, stoned olives, and anchovies, served with olive oil and grated Parmesan cheese.