MOD_JEVENTS_LATEST_AIRING_NOW04:00 - 05:35Losing Hearts (France)

Italy’s Most Popular Dishes

Italy’s Most Popular Dishes

You may be surprised to learn that many of Italy’s most iconic dishes don’t even have Italian names. It’s true! The fact is that many of these famous meals are named from ancient Greek words.




Lasagna is an Italian casserole dish made up of layers of pasta, meat, cheese and tomato sauce. The name of lasagna is derived from a Greek word “lasanon”, which translates to “cooking pot”, the dish used to cook this meal in ancient times.

It is not known how old the dish is but the recipe was found in England’s first written cookbook.


Known for its versatility and variety of fillings, ravioli has become a worldwide favorite.  Most scholars hold that the word “ravioli” is reminiscent of the Italian verb “riavvolgere”, or “to wrap”, though some Italian linguists believe that the two words are not etymologically connected.

The word may also be a diminutive of Italian dialectal “rava”, or “turnip”. The earliest mention of ravioli appears in the writings of Francesco di Marco, a merchant of Venice in the 14th century.





Although in popular culture it’s believed that pasta was invented in Italy, the truth is that its origin takes us to China, where it was originally made with potatoes. The Italians borrowed this recipe, changed it, and made it their own to the delight of hungry people the world over.

Spaghetti is the most iconic style of pasta, and the word is plural form of the Italian “spaghetto”, a diminutive of “spago”, which means “thin or fine string”.

Return to The World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2012



Sign up for the Eurochannel Newsletter!

Don't miss our latest line-up, exclusive sweepstakes and events!