Italian cuisine is surely one of the world’s most popular foods, and for good reason! Comfort food at its finest, some Italian dishes have become everyday staples, and there are as many flavor variations as there are people who make them. But Italian food extends far beyond pizza and pasta.
These are some of the best Italian recipes from around the internet, that bring together traditional techniques and classic flavors. So next time you’re craving pizza, whip up one of these classic Italian recipes instead for a real treat.
1. Parmigiana di Melanzane
Eggplant Parmigiana is a baked dish using layers-fried eggplant with mozzarella, basil and tomato sauce. While it may look like there are a lot of steps, the process is actually quite easy, it just takes a little bit of patience.
All the beautiful Italian flavors are baked right into the eggplant so when the bubbly, cheesy dish comes out of the oven, every forkful will transport you straight to Rome! Even eggplant haters can’t turn this one down. Plus, it freezes beautifully so you can make a double batch and keep one for when cravings hit.
2. Pasta e Fagioli al Forno
This comforting traditional Italian dish can be mastered in less than an hour. Italian sausage, cannellini beans and pasta are tossed together in a scrumptious homemade tomato sauce packed with herby flavor. It’s a great one for a big family dinner or whenever you need to feed a crowd. You can even make a batch on a Sunday for a week of delicious leftovers.
3. Chicken Florentine
This is one of those recipes where the effort required to make it is so minimal that I am always impressed with how amazing it looks and tastes! Pan-fried chicken and spinach are served in a creamy white wine sauce, perfect for a weeknight dinner date or Saturday evening comfort meal. The sauce is so easy and elevates this simple dish to an absolute winner.
4. Classic Panzanella Salad
Panzanella is a traditional bread salad popular in Tuscany. It consists of chunks of oven-baked bread flavored with salted tomatoes, a homemade vinaigrette and plenty of fresh herbs. There are plenty of options for customization like adding halloumi, lemon zest and capers or a range of grilled summer vegetables. Since Panzanella has been around for hundreds of years, it can be a bit daunting for beginners but this recipe has easy-to-follow steps and plenty of photographs, so try it now!
5. Italian Hot Chocolate
It’s not just food Italians master, they know their way around drinks too! This traditional Italian hot chocolate is one of the best drinks I’ve ever tried. Made with real chocolate and cocoa, it’s sweet, thick and warms you from the inside. So try this next time the weather’s chilly, it might just become your new favorite.
6. Easy Traditional Risotto
A made-from-scratch risotto is a dish that always leaves dinner guests’ mouths hanging open. It’s often so daunting that many home cooks shy away from it, thinking it’s too difficult and time-consuming. If that sounds familiar, this recipe is for you. It’s a basic risotto recipe, which means once you’ve mastered this, you can add in meat or vegetables as desired. There’s a lot of stirring involved which is what makes the dish so creamy, but that’s pretty much it!
7. Minestrone Soup
Minestrone is a classic Italian dish that seems to have unlimited variations. Every family has their own recipe, but there are a handful of ingredients that are in all minestrone recipes. Since it’s served throughout the year, it uses easily available products and pantry staples; borlotti beans, onion, tomatoes, celery and carrots are standard but feel free to add in other legumes, pulses, small pasta shapes, rice or vegetables if you have them.
8. Potato Gnocchi with Brown Butter Sage
A little bit fiddly, but a whole lot delicious! Gnocchi made from scratch is just one of those things that are worth the extra effort. Soft, pillowy potato dumplings are made by hand with the iconic ridges formed either with a gnocchi board or the back of a fork. This recipe walks you through how to make the gnocchi and offers a range of sauces and serving options to suit any taste. This will easily become your new go-to when you want to cook an impressive family meal for loved ones.
9. Traditional Italian Carbonara
Carbonara is an Italian staple but there are so many non-traditional recipes out there most of us have never actually made it the traditional Italian way. This recipe uses no cream but instead makes a creamy, saucy carbonara with only a few basic ingredients – it’s all in the technique! Make sure you twirl it high and serve it sprinkled with even more cheese for a truly restaurant-quality dish.
10. Italian Margherita Pizza
This pizza had to make the list of the most well-known Italian dish in the world! With basic ingredients and a few little tricks, you can experience pizza the Italian way anytime. This recipe uses all the tricks of Italian cooks and bakes it on a pizza stone, but you can stick to your oven if you don’t have one. One of the secret ingredients is San Marzano tomatoes, the same kind used in Italian dishes for centuries, which are now readily available at most stores.
11. Arancini de Rico: Sicilian Rice Balls
Run, don’t walk to make these delicious little rice balls! In Italy, they can be either triangular or ball-shaped, but the delicious rice inside is always perfectly seasoned and cheesy. This recipe starts with a basic risotto which is wrapped around a piece of mozzarella and a dab of tomato sauce which is then rolled in breadcrumbs and fried. Absolutely delectable served as a finger food or appetizer.