Italian pasta recipes vary according to regional cuisine. Northern recipes, for instance, from the Piemonte, Calabria and Liguria regions feature readily available cheeses, cured hams and pancetta, a kind of smoked bacon. Most notable of these recipes is pasta carbonara.

Pasta Carbonara

This Italian pasta recipe requires, 3-4 strips of pancetta or bacon, 1 egg, 1/4 cup of cream and an aged grated cheese. Now, the variations to this Italian pasta recipe are enhanced by using a fresh pasta or spaghetti. Cook the pasta until desired doneness and drain. Meanwhile, saute pancetta for about 5 minutes or until crisp, if preferred. Crush one clove of garlic until flattened and rub inside of bowl for extra flavor. Whisk together, egg and cream. Place drained pasta into garlic-rubbed bowl. Pour egg and cream over pasta. Briefly toss to coat. Add pancetta and cheese. Toss to evenly coat pasta. Serve with curls of Parmesan or Romano cheese. For an extra flair, try a native cheese like Fontina. Garnish lightly with freshly ground pepper.

The Central Region

Toscana, Emilia Romagna, Umbria and Marche comprise the Central Italian region. Here, Italian pasta recipes are simple, yet elegant and always delightful to the palate. Parmiggiano Reggiano, olives, coppa and fish enhance the style of central regional Italian pasta dishes. Ingredients used here are from “Una cucina povera”, a poor man’s kitchen. In Tuscano, you will dine on eel, rabbit, beef and chicken accented by fennel, tarragon, sage, rosemary and chile pepper. One recipe with Puttanesca sauce is complex only in flavor.

For this, use 28 oz of peeled tomatoes, lightly blanched until the skin is easily removed. 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 2 tins of anchovies, chopped finely, 4 cloves of minced garlic, 1/2 cup of pitted olives (green, black or marinated as preferred), 2 tablespoons of drained capers, 1/2 teaspoon of dried red pepper flakes, 1/4 teaspoon each oregano and salt. 1/4 cup Italian flat-leaf parsley. Drain tomatoes and turn into a food processor until tomatoes are finely crushed.

In a small skillet, combine olive oil, garlic, oregano, anchovies, olives, capers, pepper flakes and salt. Saute 3 minutes until garlic is tender. Pour this over boiled and drained pasta. Toss with Italian parsley.

The Southern Region

The Southern region of Italy, Lazio, Abruzzo, Campania, Puglia, Molise and Basilicata offers a wide variety of robusto peasant cuisine. The ingredients likely include mozzarella, pecorino, goat cheese, lentils and peperoncini, along with swordfish , tuna, olives and citrus fruits.

One traditional Italian pasta recipe uses olive oil, lemon, basil, 1 clove crushed garlic and pine nuts. For the pasta, use orcchetti. Into a small bowl, squeeze the juice of one lemon. Set rind of lemon aside. Chop 1/2 cup fresh basil. Rub bowl with garlic clove. Chop remainder of clove finely. Place drained orcchetti in bowl. Toss with basil, chopped garlic and olive oil until pasta is well coated. Add lemon juice and pine nuts. Blend well. Using reserved lemon rind, grate finely and add to pasta coating lightly.

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