Exploring Novara: Local Dishes, Restaurants, and Traditional Recipes

Exploring Novara: Local Dishes, Restaurants, and Traditional Recipes

Exploring Novara: Local Dishes, Restaurants, and Traditional Recipes


Welcome to Novara, a charming city located in the Piedmont region of northern Italy. Novara offers a delightful blend of history, culture, and most importantly, incredible cuisine. In this guide, we will take you on a culinary journey through Novara, highlighting the local dishes, recommending some top restaurants, and even sharing a few traditional recipes.

Local Dishes

Novara is renowned for its delicious local dishes that are deeply rooted in traditional Piedmontese cuisine. Here are a few must-try dishes:

Risotto alla Novarese

Risotto alla Novarese is a mouthwatering dish made with rice cooked in a flavorful broth and finished with butter and Parmesan cheese. It is often prepared with beef or veal marrowbone, giving it a rich and creamy texture. The dish is typically served as a main course, and its creamy consistency is sure to leave you craving for more.


Paniscia is a hearty dish that originates from the Novara area. It is a type of risotto made with a mixture of rice, beans, and a variety of sausages. The rice is cooked in a tomato-based broth, giving Paniscia its distinctive red color and robust flavor. This dish is a comforting and satisfying meal, perfect for a chilly evening.

Ravioli Novaresi

Another local specialty, Ravioli Novaresi, is a type of stuffed pasta that will delight your taste buds. The ravioli is typically filled with a mixture of beef, pork, spinach, and cheese. It is then served with a rich tomato sauce and grated Parmesan cheese. Each bite is filled with a burst of flavors, making this dish a true pleasure to savor.


When it comes to dining out in Novara, there are plenty of fantastic restaurants to choose from. Here are just a few of our top recommendations:

Osteria di Porta Delta

Osteria di Porta Delta is a charming restaurant located in the heart of Novara. It offers a cozy and rustic atmosphere where you can enjoy delicious traditional Piedmontese dishes. From homemade pasta to grilled meats, their menu is sure to satisfy all cravings.

Ristorante Sfoglia

Ristorante Sfoglia is a popular choice among locals and visitors alike. This elegant restaurant serves a fusion of traditional and innovative dishes, showcasing the region's culinary heritage with a modern twist. Their extensive wine list complements the flavorful dishes perfectly.

Trattoria del Centro

If you're looking for a more casual dining experience, Trattoria del Centro is the place to go. This family-owned trattoria serves up authentic Italian classics with a focus on fresh, locally sourced ingredients. The friendly staff and warm ambiance make it a favorite among locals.

Traditional Recipes

Now, let's dive into a couple of traditional recipes from Novara that you can recreate in your own kitchen:

Recipe: Risotto alla Novarese


  • 320g Arborio rice
  • 80g butter
  • 60g Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1.5 liters beef or vegetable broth
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional: beef or veal marrowbone


  1. In a large pan, melt half of the butter over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and sauté until translucent.
  2. If using beef or veal marrowbone, add it to the pan and cook for a few minutes until it releases its flavor.
  3. Add the rice to the pan and stir it well, ensuring each grain is coated with the butter.
  4. Begin adding the broth, one ladle at a time, stirring continuously until each ladleful is absorbed before adding more. Continue this process for around 15-18 minutes or until the rice is cooked al dente.
  5. Remove the pan from heat and stir in the remaining butter and grated Parmesan cheese until creamy and well combined.
  6. Season with salt and pepper to taste and let the risotto rest for a couple of minutes before serving it hot.

Recipe: Ravioli Novaresi


  • For the pasta:
  • 300g all-purpose flour
  • 3 eggs
  • For the filling:
  • 200g ground beef
  • 100g ground pork
  • 100g spinach, blanched and chopped
  • 80g Parmesan cheese, grated
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • For the sauce:
  • 500g tomato passata
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour and eggs to make the pasta dough. Knead it until smooth and elastic. Wrap it in plastic wrap and let it rest for 30 minutes.
  2. In a separate bowl, mix together the ground beef, ground pork, chopped spinach, grated Parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper to make the filling.
  3. Roll out the pasta dough into thin sheets and cut out circles using a round cutter.
  4. Place a spoonful of the filling onto each pasta circle. Fold the circle in half and press the edges to seal the ravioli.
  5. In a saucepan, heat the olive oil and minced garlic over medium heat. Add the tomato passata, salt, and pepper, and let it simmer for 10-15 minutes.
  6. Cook the ravioli in boiling salted water for about 3-4 minutes or until they float to the surface. Drain them well.
  7. Serve the ravioli hot, topped with the tomato sauce and some grated Parmesan cheese.