Pasta is something that has become a part of most peoples’ diets and it is well-known to be a major part of the Italian cuisine. Most dishes, such as Bolognese and lasagne, are widely known but there are plenty of pasta dishes that you may not have heard of but are definitely worth a try. There are around 300 different pasta shapes available in Italy, some of which are regional specialties.

Spaghetti alla puttanesca

This dish can be prepared very quickly. It is a similar tomato-based dish to spaghetti al Pomodoro and includes oregano, capers, and black Gaeta olives, which are added for flavour. Variations of the recipe may include chili or anchovies. The name comes from the fact that it was a dish often served in brothels in the Naples area.

Ziti alla Genovese

The name suggests that this dish originates in Genoa but it actually comes from Naples. The pasta consists of long, large tubes of pasta that are divided into smaller sections for cooking and eating. The sauce is onion-based and is simmered for hours. It includes minced carrots and celery as well as pieces of lard and meat. The sauce then becomes thick and creamy and is served with parmesan sprinkled over the top.

Pasta e ceci

This dish is part of the ‘ministre’ tradition of the Italian cuisine. The pasta is placed in a broth-type liquid and cooked along with other ingredients that might include beans, vegetables or potatoes. Add to this some extra virgin olive oil and some rosemary and you have created a warming dish that is very popular in Italy. In the south, the dish tends to be served thicker and creamier than it is in the north. This is achieved by blending some of the beans and reducing slightly the amount of water used in the broth.