In southern Italy there is a land of ancient culinary traditions and inimitable flavors. Here are 10 dishes to try in Campania absolutely.
To draw up a list of only 10 dishes to try in Campania is not easy, but those who love good food will never be disappointed, here. Not just pizza and babà, then. This region, with its long rocky coast and the mountains of the hinterland, with an infinite list of typical recipes and Km 0 ingredients, offers a truly unique variety of flavors.
Almost always the recipes come from popular traditions, created with simple ingredients, but always with fantasy and love for cooking. Here are then the 10 best typical dishes and where to taste them.
This ancient recipe originates in Sannio, in the Benevento area and is as simple as it is tasty. It is a fresh cherry tomato sauce flavored with garlic, basil, pecorino cheese and chilli. Perfect for seasoning long pasta, like spaghetti, even better if homemade.
Usually, it was prepared on Mondays, so as not to waste the leftovers from Sunday lunch, but as with all traditional recipes it is difficult to establish its exact origins. However, the name seems to confirm this story in some way. In the local dialect, in fact, scarpari where the shoemakers, who did not work on Mondays.
9. Spaghetti alla Nerano
A simple recipe, made of few ingredients, but a truly exceptional flavor. Spaghetti alla Nerano is a traditional dish from the village of Nerano, on the border between the Sorrento and Amalfi coasts.
Not a dish based on fish, despite the place where it was born, but on zucchini. Cut into thin slices, sautéed, finally enriched with a famous cheese of the area, the provolone del monaco. The spaghetti, of course, are al dente and to make everything even more appetizing there is a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese and a few fragrant basil leaves.
8. Praianese squid and potatoes
Among the 10 dishes to try in Campania, this excellent summer recipe born in the beautiful village of Praiano cannot be missed. Treat yourself to a trip to one of the most beautiful places in the region and since you're at it taste the excellent local cuisine.
In addition of course to squid and potatoes, this dish is made with a little tomato sauce, extra virgin olive oil, a glass of good white wine and plenty of parsley. It is a recipe of the tradition of the poor fishermen of the Amalfi coast, but with a very rich taste.
No love is more sincere than love for food
7. Maccaronara with truffle
A truly super first course, which combines two typical dishes of the Avellino area. The first is the black truffle, which here is of excellent quality, loved and celebrated throughout Italy for its aroma and flavor. In fact, on the Picentini mountains there are the most important centers of Campania for the production and sale of this product.
Truffle here can be found in oil, or in glass jars with water and salt, but for this recipe in particular it is accompanied by a particular type of spaghetti, larger than average. This pasta is also a typical product of the Avellino area and is made by hand, according to local recipes handed down for generations.
We are back again in the Benevento's area, where these delicious half-moon-shaped bundles are born, made of a simple dough prepared with flour and lard. Inside there is a filling based on cold cuts, sausage, eggs and local cheeses. They are then fried in abundant oil; someone also chooses to cook them in the oven, with the addition of a few brushstrokes of egg yolk to make them look golden.
You can find panzerotti literally everywhere in Benevento and not only there. They probably owe their luck, in addition to being a real delight, also to their "format" which makes them perfect as street food.
5. Caserta's black pork
Apparently the ancient Romans already knew and appreciated this meat. Then, over time, the black pork became a real must in the whole region of Caserta and Sannio.
It is raised in the semi-wild state and can be consumed in the form of cured meats or sausages, alone or as an ingredient in other typical recipes of these areas. Although it was born as a food of the popular tradition, now it can be found in the menus of famous chefs thanks to a strong but delicate flavor and to its being a versatile ingredient that goes well with many others. It's also perfect as an appetizer to be enjoyed together with the typical wines of Caserta's area.
4. Eggplant parmesan
Naples has dozens and dozens of delicacies to offer its visitors, to make a choice is really a challenge, though the eggplant parmigiana is definitely one of them. It is also an absolute must for those who want to know the best 10 dishes to try in Campania.
Common in all homes and in all restaurants, from the simplest to the most luxurious, it is a simple preparation, but with an incredible taste. Parmigiana is made from aubergines cut into thin slices, fried, and arranged in layers. Everything is then enriched with tomato sauce, pieces of mozzarella and fragrant basil leaves. Finally, it never goes without a shower of excellent grated Parmesan cheese . It's very often served as a side dish, but it is also excellent as a single dish.
3. Delizia al Limone
Large, absolutely fragrant, grown in the warm Mediterranean sun. The lemons of the Amalfi Coast are rightly famous and are widely used in local cuisine. As a simple condiment, as the main ingredient of another local glory, the limoncello liqueur and of course also in pastry.
They couldn't not be counted among the 10 dishes to try in Campania, the delizie al limone, that translates to lemon delice. Delicious in name and in fact. They are made of sponge cakes filled with cream and completely covered with a smooth, silky, exquisite lemon cream. They are widespread throughout the Amalfi Coast, where they can be found very easily. They'll sure provide an unforgettable taste experience.
2. Zizzona di Battipaglia
Among the 10 dishes to try in Campania there are some that need no introduction. One of these is undoubtedly mozzarella di bufala. It is perhaps the most famous of the many excellences of Campania dairies, and among the cornerstones of the Mediterranean Diet. In the Salerno area there is a particularly good variety, the so-called Zizzona di Battipaglia, produced with 100% buffalo milk.
Its name comes from its rounded shape which resembles that of a large female breast. The dimensions, not really small, seem an invitation to enjoy it in good company. In fact, the typical format is 10 kg. Its unique flavor goes perfectly with local vegetables and cured meats, but it is a real delicacy even on its own.
It is said that "appetite comes with eating", actually it comes with fasting!
It is the queen of Sunday tables in Naples, this recipe with ancient French origins. For many years it has been so rooted in the local culture that it was also celebrated by an author of the caliber of Eduardo De Filippo, who dedicated a poem to it.
Neapolitan ragù, not to be mistaken with the Bologna's one, is a sauce based on tomato, beef and pork. It's not an easy preparation, it requires slow and therefore long cooking times. Cooking ragù on Sunday morning is basically a ritual that tastes of home and family. Anyway, it's unique and rewards of every effort.
Where to taste this exquisite dish? Everywhere in Naples, actually. In restaurants, often in pizzerias where you can find pizza al ragù, and of course at grandma's house!