Italian parsley is a variety of the parsley plant with flat leaves which is used as an herb in a wide range of cuisines around the world.
Probably the most commonly used herb in the culinary arts, parsley comes in two types: Italian parsley and curly parsley. Curly parsley is less flavorful than Italian parsley and is mainly used as a garnish.
Italian parsley (which is also known as flat parsley or flat-leaf parsley) has dark flat leaves and slender stems, with a bright and slightly bitter flavor. The stems have more flavor and aroma than the leaves.
Parsley stems are one of the traditional ingredients in the bouquet garni and sachet d'epices, which are used for flavoring stocks, soups and sauces.
Italian parsley is sometimes mistaken for cilantro, and they do indeed look similar. But Italian parsley has darker, shinier leaves than cilantro (which also known as coriander), and cilantro leaves are more delicate and fragrant.
Here are a few dishes that feature Italian parsley prominently:
Also See: Quiz: Is It an Herb or a Spice?