Italian food is a popular style of cooking that is known around the world. There is a lot more to Italian cooking than just pizza and pasta.
While everyone has cooked a lasagna or spaghetti bolognese at home, it’s time to delve deeper into the world of Italian cooking. There are a lot of dishes that get overlooked, but have great flavors and take very little time to prepare.
We have put together the 28 best Italian recipes you can try at home.
How could we not start off with the main thing people think of when someone says Italy. This recipe will take you through how to create your own authentic Italian pizza dough (for more Authentic Italian recipes, read here).
It can then be topped off with a tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese and any of your favorite toppings.
Pasta Fagioli al Forno literally translates to pasta baked with beans. This family dish is full of bold flavors that everyone will love.
You can expect a tangy tomato and creamy cheese sauce alongside aromatic herbs. Lots of vegetables are cooked alongside two different types of cheeses.
There’s nothing more in Italian cooking than chicken Parmesan (check out our favorite Italian chicken recipes). Chicken is pounded flat and coated in egg, cream and breadcrumbs.
The chicken is fired, and then layered into a pan with marinara sauce and mozzarella cheese. A hearty dish that your whole family will enjoy and ready to be beaten within half an hour.
A good Italian salad is the perfect side dish to any meal, or eaten by itself for lunch. It is the salad dressing that helps this salad come alive.
The dressing is very simple as it is made with herbs, oil, vinegar and honey. It is up to you what you add to your salad, but usually for an Italian salad, olives, lettuce, feta cheese and bell peppers are commonly used.
This is a one pan needed recipe, which is ideal for anyone who doesn’t have much time to cook in the middle of the week.
In just under 30 minutes, you can create a delicious and creamy dish that uses simple ingredients that pack a real punch. Chicken is coated in a rich sauce full of powerful flavors such as garlic, cheese and tomatoes.
Pizzette is the perfect pizza finger food or appetizer. Pre-made pizza dough will save you a lot of time and effort. To your dough circles, add tomatoes, cheese and any other toppings you wish and bake. Once baked, top with fresh basil and enjoy!
This dish is really easy to create, but will look impressive to your guests. Chicken topped with rich sun dried tomatoes, and gooey cheese. Ten topped off with a drizzle of balsamic reduction creates a well-balanced dish that only takes 30 minutes to make.
Who doesn’t want a pizza and dessert combined together? Juicy, sweet strawberries work well with the nutty and rich Nutella. If you want to do some texture, then consider adding nuts like almonds to the mixture.
It is best to cook the crust first, then add your filling and toppings. You can play around with the toppings by trying out banana, chocolate chips or peanut butter.
A traditional caponata is full of different flours such as sour, sweet and savory. There is depth created for boring the celery and opinions before you add your capers and olives.
Then the vinegar which is stirred through adds the sour notes to this dish. To improve these flavors, it is important to allow the sauce to sit for a while to improve. Caponata is best served with crusty bread to soak up those enhanced flavors.
This recipe consists of just two ingredients: prosecco and peaches, which produces a bubbly, fresh and sweet drink to enjoy. Within half an hour, you will have your Bellini drink ready to be served.
All you need to do is create a peach purée and add your prosecco and chill it. Perfect for brunch or an after dinner drink.
11. Alfredo Sauce
Alfredo sauce is really easy to knock up and will only take around 10 minutes to complete. In addition to that, you will only need 4 ingredients, as it is such a simple sauce to create.
To ensure that your Alfredo sauce is as smooth as possible, you need to make sure that your butter and cream mixture is bubbling before you add the cheese.
Everyone needs an Italian meatball recipe (see also our favorite homemade sauces for meatballs) that they always go back to. These meatballs are made by using a mixture of three different types of meats.
This then helps to create flavorful and juicy meatballs. Also, the thick paste created from soaking your breadcrumbs in milk means you will never have to suffer with dry meatballs ever again.
This recipe will replace your old meatball recipe, as it is so simple and helps you to create much more flavorful meatballs that never let you down. They can be served with your favorite pasta, tomato sauce and cheese or herbs.
Florentine Steak is a simply seasoned yet thick steak that is designed to be shared with other people. Commonly a porterhouse steak will be used in this dish.
When it comes to seasoning, you want to keep it as simple as possible, thus you should only be using pepper, salt and olive oil (see also ‘12 Best Olive Oil Subscriptions‘). You can then serve this steak cooked the way you like with an Italian salad and potatoes.
14. Stuffed Shells
Pasta shells are filled with a creamy and rich Parmesan and ricotta mixture.
Then these shells are topped off with your meat sauce, while more cheese is sprinkled on the top of that as well. Within 30 minutes, these tasty pasta shells are ready to be enjoyed by everyone, either by themselves or alongside a salad of your choice.
15. Pasta Puttanesca
Pasta Puttanesca consists of a very aromatic sauce that is full of a lot of flavor, such as anchovies and garlic.
This sauce, combined with your favorite pasta, may become your new favorite pasta dish. In just 25 minutes, this whole meal is complete and ready to be served.
It may sound like a strange combination, but it works well together. Nutty arugula balances out the greasy sausage. You then add mozzarella cheese and a tomato sauce.
Garlic is also added to help balance out all the flavors, to create a really tasty pizza that the whole family will enjoy.
This is a step up from your normal pepperoni pizza, which is cooked in only 12 minutes. Therefore, if you are short on time but still want to make something delicious, then you should consider the sausage arugula pizza.
17. Pasta Alla Norma
This is a pasta dish which comes from Sicily. It is full of fresh basil, eggplants and marinara. For this dish, you will roast the eggplant (see also ‘27 Eggplant Recipes You Need To Try‘) to give it more flavor and texture, but usually you would fry them.
Very few ingredients are needed, but this simple dish is full of flavor that you will want to make to impress your friends and family.
Chicken Masala has a thick and creamy sauce that is made from heavy cream, mushrooms and Marsala wine, that makes this sauce irresistible.
This dish could become one of your favorite comfort foods, as it is so easy to put together. In 30 minutes, you can create this irresistible sauce alongside tender and juicy chicken (see also ‘29 Best Chicken Dinner Ideas‘).
Calzones are great meals to have on the go. With this recipe, pizza dough is used to cut down on the overall preparation time, but if you have the time you could make your own dough.
Then you stuff this dough with all your favorite pizza toppings and wrap them up and bake. A quick and easy dish to make, which can be eaten hot or cold.
Store bought may taste great, but you can make your own ricotta storm, and it tastes much more delicious. Only a few ingredients are needed, but it is important that you choose the best milk possible.
Then within 45 minutes after combining and heating your ingredients, you will have your own ricotta that you can eat by itself or add to dishes we have mentioned in this article.
21. Florentine Pasta
Florentine pasta tastes great whether it is served hot or cold. The star of this dish is the Parmesan sauce, which is extremely creamy.
Then bell peppers and spinach add color and freshness to the dish. In under 30 minutes, this meal is complete, thus making it ideal for someone who is busy to cook on a weeknight.
To make the perfect cappuccino, you only need 3 ingredients: water, milk and coffee. You can use a cappuccino maker, which will make the whole process easier, but you can make one just as well without one.
It is important that you get the milk nice and foamy, as that is the difference between a good and bad cappuccino. This coffee can be drunk morning or night.
Risotto can sound scary, but this recipe is extremely simple to create. The key to this dish is adding warm broth to the rice to ensure everything is cooked correctly. Mustard is a key ingredient in this dish to help a bit of heat in the risotto.
While the star of the risotto is the aromatic and savory rosemary, the mushrooms make up those delicious flavors. It is essential to take your time with a risotto to make sure that everything is cooked well, but also to give the flavors time to develop.
24. Tomato Sauce
An essential in Italian cooking is a flavorful and rich tomato sauce that can be used in various dishes. To make a good Italian sauce, you don’t need a lot of ingredients.
The key is to cook the sauce at a low temperature for a long time. Onion and garlic help to balance the acidity from the tomatoes. While herbs such as mint and basil and oregano help the sauce feel fresh and lighter.
Cacciucco is a hearty Tuscan Seafood Stew. Usually, 5 different types of seafood are used within the dish, but you can just do what goes into the stew.
A lot of seasoning such as garlic, sage, red pepper flakes and parsley are added to create depth. This stew takes 25 minutes to complete, and you can serve it by itself or with fresh croutons.
Of course, lasagna had to be somewhere on the list. A good, flavorful and simple lasagna is the perfect comfort food. This recipe makes creating a lasagna easier than ever before, as this recipe is all about keeping things simple.
Uncooked lasagna noodles are layered between ricotta, mozzarella cheese, Parmesan cheese and meat sauce and baked. With just 7 ingredients, you can make a lasagna in no time.
27. Hot Chocolate
There is something different about Italian hot chocolate, which means you may never get back to the powdered stuff again. This recipe helps you to create a thick, rich and creamy hot chocolate.
While milk and sugar helps to transform the bitter dark chocolate into a sweet treat. It only takes a few minutes to create, there’s no reason you shouldn’t try making your own Italian hot chocolate at home.
Muffuletta is a type of sandwich which consists of multiple layers of vegetables and meat. It is all about creating thin layers of cheese and cold cuts to create a uniform filling.
It is important to let the sandwich rest before you allow the bread to absorb the juices from the olives. You need to make sure you use a sturdy bread that can handle all the ingredients.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is Italy’s National Dish?
There are a lot of dishes that people may think of when someone says the word Italy. Yet, Ragù alla Bolognese, otherwise known as spaghetti bolognese, is said to be recognized as the national dish of Italy.
It is believed that the origins of this dish can be traced all the way back to the 18th Century to a small town known as Imola near the city of Bologna.
Today, spaghetti bologna is a popular meal that a lot of females will enjoy weekly. Yet, in Italy it has a rich and deep history, which makes it so loved even today.
What Is The Most Popular Dessert In Italy?
Italy is known for its delicious dessert and there are a lot to choose from. Some of the most popular desserts include tiramisu, which is a layered coffee and sponge finger biscuit trifle like dessert.
Then you have bonet, which is a custard-like dessert made using cocoa herbal liquor, sugar and amaretto biscuits.
Another popular Italian dessert (see also ‘23 Easy Italian Desserts‘) is sbrisolona, which is a kind of cake which is extremely flaky and crumbly. Nowadays, people add lemon to the almonds and lard/butter mixture to add a sourness to balance out the sweetness.
If you like your cakes, then the black cake may be a good choice. Black cake is made using dark chocolate, coffee, almond and peanuts. This is a rich cake, so a small piece is just enough.
What Are The Weirdest Foods That Italians Eat?
Depending on where in Italy You are, some places have quite weird things on their menus that you should be aware of. Below are the 7 weirdest foods that are known to be eaten in Italy, that you should keep your eyes out for:
- Maggot Cheese,
- Cow Guts,
- Stuffed Mice With Mince,
- Chunky Chicken Liver With Hearts And Anchovies,
- Cow Spleen Served Alongside Ricotta Or Curd Cheese,
- Pork Blood Cake
In addition to this, it is known that Itlains also enjoy eating live frogs, stewed squirrels, baked locusts and friend snakes.
If you are looking for something different to try, then you may want to consider these dishes. They aren’t to everyone’s tastes, which is why they are only found in particular areas in Italy.
What Is The Right Way To Eat An Italian Pizza?
When you are in Italy, unless you buy a piece of pizza off the street, you are expected to cut your pizza with a knife and fork. Hence, pizzas are served on the street.
They are rectangular, so you are expected to eat it with your hands. Yet in restaurants they will be round and a knife and fork will be given to you for you to use.
If you don’t want to use a knife and fork, then you can fold each slice of pizza in half and eat it with your hands this way. Thus, there are two acceptable ways to eat pizza, the proper Italian way.
There you have the 28 best Italian recipes that you can try at home for yourself. All these recipes are really easy to attempt and won’t take too much time either.
Thus, if you are bored with cooking the same meals, why not try one of the dishes that we have mentioned above, you know it will be easy to recreate but full of flavor.