22 Best Italian Recipes
Check out some of our very favorite Italian recipes, including authentic Old-World recipes and those inspired by Italian-American cooking. You'll see many familiar favorites here -- and likely find some new Italian treasures to try, as well. These are main dish Italian recipes; for side dishes, check out our Italian side dish collection.
Rustic Marinara Sauce
We'll start with a traditional, rustic tomato sauce. "I've been perfecting this recipe for over 10 years," says NMP. "Melting just a little cheese in the sauce adds great richness without overwhelming the tomatoes. And it's easy to keep these ingredients stocked in the house! Makes for amazing leftovers!"
Saltimbocca di Pollo alla Romana (Prosciutto-Stuffed Chicken Breast Roulades)
"Known as Saltimbocca alla Romana, these chicken breasts are a tasty second course, very easy to make, just a few ingredients are necessary but still delicious!" says Aldo.
Authentic Tortellini Soup
This simple soup with cheese tortellini, Italian sausage, and chopped fresh spinach is quick-and-easy to prepare. "This soup only takes 30 minutes and is awesome on a cold night," says Stephanie.
Baked Ziti with Sausage
Spaghetti sauce, cheese, and sausage is baked until bubbly in this hearty ziti. "This is quite possibly the one thing that I am constantly asked to make," says Ashley. "This is a ziti with a lot of flavor."
Gnocchi with Tomato Sauce and Mozzarella
"Known as 'gnocchi alla sorrentina,' this classic Italian pasta dish that uses simple ingredients and tastes delicious," says saretta. "Use homemade or store-bought gnocchi."
Spaghetti alla Carbonara: the Traditional Italian Recipe
"This dish was created in the Lazio region (the area around Rome) in the middle of the 20th century, after World War II," says ivan zeta. "We don't use cream, milk, garlic, onions or other strange ingredients; we use only guanciale, eggs, pecorino cheese, and lots of black pepper (carbonaro is the Italian for coal miner). This isn't the Italian-American version, it's the real, creamy carbonara and it comes right from Italy, where I live. Buon appetito."
Bistecca alla Fiorentina (Tuscan Porterhouse)
"This flagship Tuscan steak is made from the region's Chianina breed of cattle which are prized for their tenderness and flavor," says eat!. "In typical Italian style, simplicity rules the day; little more than olive oil, rosemary, and salt are needed to highlight the rich flavor of the grilled meat. With Italian food, freshness and quality are top priority, so I use nothing less than choice porterhouse, and much prefer prime!"
Cacio e Pepe Lasagna
"Fast, fresh individually portioned lasagna bowls that please the stomach every time," says Sahara B. "I serve this with a small garden side salad and baked asparagus, but it easily could be a meal by itself."
"In Italy, 'saltimbocca' means 'jumps in the mouth,'" says Chef John. "This tender, juicy and delicious pork tenderloin is finished with a rich meaty sauce and will certainly please your palate."
Italian Baked Eggplant with Parmesan (Parmigiana di Melanzane)
"Eggplant parmigiana or eggplant Parmesan is one of the most popular and iconic vegetarian Italian dishes and this recipe is straight from Italy," says Beatrice. "Use ripe eggplant without seeds and salt them for 1 hour to remove the bitterness."
"Agrodolce, a generic Italian term for any type of sweet and sour condiment, really shines when used for braising chunks of succulent pork shoulder," says Chef John. "This soul-warming comfort food is amazing served on rice, pasta, polenta, or, as seen here, a big pile of ricotta mashed potatoes. I'm not sure if Italians barbecue like we do here in the States, but the sauce very much reminded me of something we'd brush on a rack of ribs while sipping a cold beer."
Spaghetti Alla Carbonara Tradizionali
"Unlike a lot of recipes out there for spaghetti carbonara, this is the true Italian recipe from an Italian!" says Andry008. "You can't get more authentic than this recipe! Top with extra Pecorino-Romano cheese, salt, and pepper. Note there's no cream, just eggs, and Pecorino Romano cheese is used, not Parmesan."
Ossobuco alla Milanese
"Ossobuco is one of the signature dishes of Milanese cuisine," says clara. "Veal shanks are cut crosswise to reveal the marrow, a cut often just referred to as 'ossobucco'. The dish is finished with a gremolata, which is a mix of chopped parsley and lemon zest. In Milan, ossobucco is typically served with a saffron risotto."
Pasta Fazool (Pasta e Fagioli)
"This classic Italian-American comfort food works with any kind of sausage, but I like the fennel and anise flavors of sweet Italian sausage with the beans--it's a hearty soup that's fast and easy to put together," says Chef John.
Beefy Baked Ravioli
"This recipe is a hit with my husband and everyone else I've given the recipe to," says Angie Shirk Williams. "It's very easy and satisfies that Italian craving."
A simple tomato sauce with crispy guanciale is tossed with bucatini pasta for a quick, delicious, and authentic Italian dish for two. "This pasta dish is my signature dish, says Chef Carlo Apolloni. "I really enjoy making this pasta, especially with the right ingredients like guanciale. Top with freshly grated Parmesan cheese."
Tuscan Fish Stew
"I spent a few days in Florence about 30 years ago, and while I don't remember much, I do recall my surprise at how delicious the Tuscan fish stew was," says Chef John. "What I found so interesting was how herbs like oregano, sage, and rosemary, which I'd only associated with meat, were also used with seafood. Also, FYI just in case any old-school Tuscans are coming over: I hear that for this to qualify as an official Italian fish stew you need use at least 5 different types of seafood, which is both insane and adorable. Serve with crusty bread."
Shrimp Scampi with Pasta
"Well-rounded seafood and pasta dish," says JustJen. "Good with any pasta; angel hair is less filling."
Risotto alla Pavese
"Creamy risotto made with fresh cranberry beans comes from the Lombardy region of Italy," says Buckwheat Queen. "With traditional flavors from the region, this risotto is bursting with flavor and healthy goodness. Cranberry beans are also called borlotti beans."
Italian Sausage and Mushroom Lasagna with Bechamel Sauce
"The bechamel adds a little something special to this wonderful lasagna," says Valerie Brunmeier. "I like to use part skim ricotta and mozzarella and low-fat milk to cut some of the fat in this dish. You won't notice the difference."
Italian Shrimp and Scallop Risotto
"The secret to making a good seafood risotto is to use a high-quality fish stock and of course the freshest seafood you can find," says tea. "Cook the shellfish and rice separately, as the rice needs more time. If you cook them together, the shellfish will overcook and get chewy."
Peposa Dell'Impruneta (Tuscan Black Pepper Beef)
Here's a traditional Tuscan preparation. Beef short ribs are slowly braised with lots and lots of black pepper, red wine, and fresh herbs. The result is rich, flavorful, fork tender beef. "The amount of black pepper is up to you," says Chef John. "But even the ridiculous amount I used wasn’t overpowering. The acidity and sweetness of the reduced wine balances everything beautifully."