Italian ingredients and dishes vary by region. There are many significant regional dishes that have become national while retaining their regional roots. Many dishes that were once regional have proliferated in different variations across the country. Wine & Cheese are a major part of the cuisine, playing different roles both nationally and regionally. Coffee, more specifically espresso, has become highly important to the cultural cuisine of Italy.
Traditional Italian meals usually contain no fewer than 3 to 4 courses. Meals are seen as a time to spend with family and friends and can be longer than in other cultures. During holidays, many family feasts last for several hours. This meal is kept for special events (such as weddings) while the everyday menu only includes the first & second course, a side dish and coffee.
In Traditional Italian meals the primo or first course, is usually the more filling dish and consists of either risotto or pasta, both being rich in carbohydrates.
Common Italian dishes include: Bistecca alla fiorentina, Baccalà alla Vicentina, Pasta e fagioli, risotto, pasta e fagioli, lasagne verdi, Pizza napoletana, Ragù alla bolognese, Fettuccine Alfredo, Veal osso buco, gramigna, tagliatelle, Pinzimonio, Ribollita, Ossibuchi alla toscana, Bistecca alla fiorentina, Crema paradiso, Erbazzone, Tortelli, Tortellini, Cappelletti, Cannelloni, Crespelle, Rosette, Lasagne, Passatelli, Mortadella, Salame Felino, Coppa, Salami of San Secondo, Spaghetti alla carbonara, Saltimbocca alla Romana, Bucatini all'amatriciana, Pane di Altamura, Tonno alla palermitana. Italian restaurants in Qingdao: