Regional Food Preferences in Italy

When talking about Italian food, pasta is usually the first thing that comes to mind. Pasta is really the dish that unifies the whole of the nation. However, if you think that food is prepared the same way everywhere in Italy, you're wrong. In fact, there are only a few Italian dishes that are considered "national." Each region of Italy has its own typical food and recipes. Although Italy can be broken down into 20 different regions, you will find some common cooking trends allowing the division of Italy into 3 different gastronomic areas: North, Center and South. Our Lake of the Ozarks Italian restaurant brings you these regional differences from


In northern Italy, tradition revolves around hot soups, like minestrone and vegetables like radicchio, and is based on dishes that are rich in fat. Cheese, truffle, polenta, risotti and game are the most popular of ingredients. Potatoes are also used a lot and are the main ingredient of a famous northern recipe called pizzoccheri. In northern Italy, cooking with butter is preferred, while in southern Italy, extra virgin olive oil is preferred.


The center of Italy is renowned for its heavy-bodied food, such as pecorini, scamorze, insaccati and sottolii. However, the area is also famous for truffles and mushrooms. This area specializes in some special homemade pastas: paste fresche, maccheroni and spaghetti alla chitarra, for instance, always seasoned with sauces containing meat and game. Their preferred type of meat in this area is pork, served as secondo piatto.


The food in the southern part of Italy is typically Mediterranean. People will cook with fish a lot and shellfish are used a lot with pasta and pizza. While the pizza you'll find in northern and central Italy is extremely thin, in Naples you'll find it rather thick by Italian standard. However, it is still quite thin when compared to the typical American style pizza. Mozzarella and other typical dairy products are considered the specialties of southern Italy. The dishes in this area always have a beautiful smell, thanks to spices and seasoning like basil, oregano and citrus fruits. Soft cheeses such as stracchino are popular in the North, while the South is proud of its Mozzzarella di Bufala Campana.

The nature and type of food obviously depends on the climate, territory and culture. Here at Li'l Rizzo's, we feature a variety of different Italian dishes. Our pizza would be comparable with that you would find in Italy, as our pizza has a nice thin, cracker-like crust. Our dishes features meats from chicken to fish, featuring something from each of these Italian regions. Come see us and enjoy the BEST Italian food at the Lake of the Ozarks!

Lake of the Ozarks BEST Italian Food and Sports Bar! 

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