Italy may be known for some of the most delicious and iconic foods in the world such as pizza and pasta, but their cuisine is incredibly versatile… if not always appealing at first glance.
Once upon a time, many regions of Italy did not have access to rich and “luxurious” foods, but instead used cheaper alternatives that may not be as desired today. Some of these weird Italian foods might not exactly pique your appetite, and in fact, might have the opposite effect.
A lot of the recipes on this list stem from poorer times, but some the dishes are still as popular and delicious today as they were generations ago. These recipes have been curated for years, and so if you’re an adventurous diner, you may just want to try them now.
Keep an open mind about these dishes, because there’s a reason the Italians still love them today!
Let’s find out more about these strange Italian dishes you’ll want to try!
Coratella is a dish that involves the removal of the insides of small animals such as rabbits, lambs, and poultry. This includes the spleen, intestines, liver, and sweetbreads.
This may not be appealing for lots of people, but when it is cooked properly with the right seasonings, it can actually be incredibly delicious.
It is a popular food around Easter time in Italy, and it was first made in Lazio and Umbria.
People love coratella because it is super simple to prepare, and it’s incredibly cheap. For this reason, it was eaten a lot in the medieval times, where livestock was cheap, and money was scarce.
The sauce in coratella can make or break the dish. The dish is usually made with onions, artichokes, or mushrooms.
The classic coratella recipe is made with artichokes. It is made with lamb offal, artichokes, onions, garlic, white wine, and salt and pepper.
It is necessary to clean all parts of the offal before cooking, and frying in garlic and onion.
Try this dish if you are ever in Rome!
Tuscan Chicken Liver Crostini
This dish is probably the least strange on this list, and it is incredibly delicious. Tuscan chicken liver crostini is essentially a rough pâte, with chunks of chicken liver and delicious herbs and spices.
The crostini part is made with crusty French or Italian bread. This is then toasted with olive oil to make a delicious and crispy base for the chicken liver.
As you can see, this dish was first curated in Tuscany, and it has remained a popular dish in the area ever since. The dish is made by mixing chicken livers, capers, anchovies, garlic, parsley, sage, white wine, and butter.
Tuscan chicken liver crostini is a must-try dish if you are ever in the Tuscany area.
Cibreo was first made prominent by a small restaurant in Florence. The dish is made with the insides of a chicken. This includes the heart, liver, unfertilized eggs, and testicles.
This dish definitely does not sound the most appetizing, but it remains a popular and interesting dish in Florence. The dish has been around since the renaissance period, where nothing was ever wasted in cooking.
Cibreo is at least 500 years old, and it is a thick, creamy, and well-seasoned dish consisting of fried and creamed chicken offal, with delicious vegetables.
Some of the other ingredients include onions, parsley, butter, flour, unlaid chicken eggs, dry white wine, brown, and an egg yolk. This produces a delicious and hearty chicken stew.
Trippa Alla Romana
Trippa alla Romana translates to Roman style tripe. This recipe has been around for hundreds of years and remains among the most popular dishes in Roman cuisine. It is mostly eaten on a Saturday at lunch time, and it was first found in Rome. Now, it is eaten in Testaccio and Trastevere, and it is celebrated as a valued dish. Years ago, it was only eaten by the poorest residents in Rome.
Tripe is the oat of the cow that was almost seen as the least appealing, and it was only eaten for survival purposes by the lower classes in Rome, as well as the local slaughterhouse workers. It was known as the quinto quarto, which means the fifth quarter (the least desirable parts of butchered animals) of the animal’s insides. The first quarter was known as the best parts, and this was eaten by the richest in Rome.
The traditional recipe requires tripe, guanciale, tomatoes, onion, celery, carrot, garlic, olive oil, wild mint, pecorino Romano, and salt and pepper. When you buy tripe in Italy, it is usually pre boiled, making it pretty tasteless. When you get your tripe, try to find untouched tripe, and boil it yourself in salted water with onions, garlic, celery, and parsley.
This dish may be the weirdest one on this list. This dish originates in Lombardy, and it consists of small little songbirds. This has been a delicacy for years, and these little song birds are filled with meat and offal.
This includes rabbit, chicken, pork, and beef. The song birds are then seasoned, and put onto skewers. Once they are put onto skewers they are broiled or grilled at a high temperature.
The dish is usually served with polenta or rice, and they are found in a lot of places in Lombardy.
Stuffed song birds are not for everyone, and the presentation alone may put people off. However, if you are open to trying something new, song birds may be for you!
This is the only vegetarian-safe recipe on this list, and it’s pretty interesting. It has made its way to other areas of the world in the past then years, and it is seen as a delicacy in a lot of parts of Italy.
In short, Agretti is a long grass that is found in certain parts of Italy, as well as other countries in the world. The grass is boiled and topped with lemon, salt, and olive oil.
It can be served with whatever toppings are desired! It is a difficult crop to find, and it does not grow all year round, hence why it is a delicacy.
Stuffed Mice is exactly what it sounds like. Mice are protected in a lot areas of Italy, so you may not find this dish in certain areas. Mice are skinned and gutted.
They are then seasoned, and stuffed with raisins, nuts, onions, and spices. The mice are then roasted, and are served with polenta.
The thought of eating mice is not an appetizing thought, but Italy has a way of making certain dishes more appetizing than you’d think!
Final Thoughts on Weird Italian Foods
Italy is known for its delicious and rich foods, but once upon a time, the country was struggling to make ends meet, and this is clear in its previous cuisine.
However, some of these foods are pretty interesting, and should be tried!
Thank you for reading!