In Northern Italy though there are many kinds of stuffed pasta, polenta and risotto are equally popular if not more so. Basil, nuts, vinegar (balsamic and wine) and olive oil are very common. Common ingredients include ham, sausage, different sorts of salami, truffles, grana cheese, and tomatoes.
Traditional Central Italian cuisine uses ingredients such as tomatoes, all kinds of meat, fish, and pecorino cheese. pasta served with meat sauce (including game meat). Finally, in Southern Italy, tomatoes – fresh or cooked into tomato sauce – peppers, olives and olive oil, garlic, artichokes, oranges, ricotta cheese, eggplants, zucchini, certain types of fish (anchovies, sardines and tuna), and capers are important components to the local cuisine.
Italian cuisine is also well known (and well regarded) for its use of a diverse variety of pasta. Pasta include noodles in various lengths, widths and shapes. Pasta can be simple or filled with other ingredients (meat, cheese or vegetables).
The word pasta is also used to refer to dishes in which pasta products are a primary ingredient. It is usually served with sauce. There are hundreds of different shapes of pasta with at least locally recognized names.