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22 Authentic Italian Recipes – Easy Meals That Aren’t Just Pizza

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Discover this list of 22 delicious Italian recipes, from tantalizing antipasti like Caprese Salad and Bruschetta, through the comforting warmth of pasta dishes like Spaghetti Carbonara and Lasagna alla Bolognese, to sweet finishes like Tiramisu and Panna Cotta ! Immerse yourself in Italy’s rich culinary heritage and explore regional specialties, all while bringing an authentic Italian dining experience to your own table.

22 italian recipes easy authentic dinner dessert 1

1. Spaghetti Carbonara

An Authentic Italian Classic

Spaghetti Carbonara is a traditional Italian dish that boasts rich flavors from simple ingredients. It combines creamy eggs, salty pecorino cheese, savory guanciale, and perfectly cooked spaghetti to create a culinary masterpiece. This rich and decadent meal will transport your taste buds to the heart of Italy.

Perfect for Weeknight Dinner

Despite its gourmet feel, Spaghetti Carbonara is surprisingly easy to make, making it a fantastic option for a quick yet satisfying weeknight dinner. Plus, the short ingredient list means you’re likely to have everything you need in your pantry already.

Tailor to Your Taste

While the traditional version uses guanciale, you can substitute with pancetta or bacon if needed. Likewise, feel free to adjust the cheese to your liking or add freshly ground black pepper for extra flavor.

Check this recipe.

2. Caprese Salad

A Refreshing Italian Favorite

Caprese Salad, a simple yet delightful Italian dish, combines ripe tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, aromatic basil, and a drizzle of balsamic reduction or olive oil. This colorful salad not only looks beautiful but also provides a burst of fresh, natural flavors with every bite.

A Versatile Side Dish

This salad works excellently as a side dish for any Italian main course, or it can stand alone as a light meal or appetizer. Its bright and fresh flavors make it a perfect choice for warm summer evenings.

Personalize Your Salad

Experiment with different varieties of tomatoes for a twist on the classic. For a unique touch, consider adding a sprinkle of sea salt or topping with grilled chicken for added protein.

Check this recipe.

3. Tiramisu

A Decadent Italian Dessert

Tiramisu is a timeless Italian dessert that offers layers of espresso-dipped ladyfingers and rich, creamy mascarpone filling. The dusting of cocoa powder on top not only adds to its visual appeal but also provides a delightful bitterness that complements the sweet and creamy flavors.

Impress Your Guests

Perfect for dinner parties or family gatherings, Tiramisu is a dessert that never fails to impress. The best part? It can be prepared ahead of time, so you won’t need to rush when it’s time to serve dessert.

Add Your Twist

Feel free to add a splash of coffee liqueur for a boozy twist, or use almond extract for a nutty flavor. You can also experiment with different cookies or biscuits instead of ladyfingers.

Check this recipe.

4. Bruschetta

A Classic Italian Antipasto

Bruschetta is a classic Italian antipasto that perfectly combines grilled bread rubbed with garlic and topped with diced tomatoes, fresh basil, and a splash of balsamic vinegar. This simple yet elegant appetizer is sure to please any palate.

Perfect for Parties

Whether you’re hosting a dinner party or just enjoying a casual evening with friends, bruschetta is a great choice. It’s easy to prepare, can be made in large batches, and it’s definitely a crowd-pleaser.

Customize to Your Liking

Feel free to experiment with the toppings. Add sliced olives, mozzarella, or even prosciutto for a unique twist on the traditional recipe.

Check this recipe.

5. Osso Buco alla Milanese

A Hearty Italian Dish

Osso Buco alla Milanese is a hearty Italian dish from Milan that’s rich and full of flavor. It features tender, slow-cooked veal shanks in a delectable sauce made from wine, vegetables, and broth. This dish will fill your kitchen with a tantalizing aroma that will leave you eagerly anticipating dinner.

A Sunday Dinner Favorite

Although it takes a bit of time to cook, the result is worth the wait. This makes Osso Buco a great choice for leisurely Sunday dinners or special occasions. Plus, the leftover sauce is perfect for drizzling over mashed potatoes or polenta.

Tailor to Your Preferences

Feel free to swap the veal with beef or pork if you prefer. You can also play with the herbs and spices to give the dish your own personal touch.

Check this recipe.

6. Pesto Genovese

A Flavor-Packed Sauce

Pesto Genovese is a flavorful, aromatic sauce originating from Genoa in Italy. It is made from fresh basil leaves, pine nuts, garlic, parmesan, and olive oil, all blended together to create a bright and herbaceous sauce that pairs beautifully with pasta.

A Quick and Easy Option

If you’re pressed for time, Pesto Genovese is your savior. It requires no cooking and can be prepared in under 10 minutes. Toss it with freshly cooked pasta, and you have a meal that’s both quick and satisfying.

Play Around with Ingredients

Although the traditional recipe calls for pine nuts, you can try using almonds or walnuts instead. Feel free to adjust the quantities of each ingredient to match your taste preferences.

Check this recipe.

7. Risotto alla Milanese

A Creamy Italian Comfort Food

Risotto alla Milanese is a traditional Italian dish that hails from Milan. It’s a creamy and indulgent dish made from Arborio rice, saffron, onion, wine, and Parmesan cheese. The saffron gives it a characteristic yellow color and a unique flavor that sets it apart.

An Impressive Main Course

While risotto requires some attention while cooking, the result is a luxurious dish that’s perfect for dinner parties or special occasions. With its vibrant color and rich, creamy texture, Risotto alla Milanese is sure to impress your guests.

Experiment with Add-Ins

You can enjoy Risotto alla Milanese as is, or mix in other ingredients for extra flavor. Consider adding mushrooms, peas, or cooked shrimp for a new twist.

Check this recipe.

8. Panzanella

A Fresh and Vibrant Salad

Panzanella is a Tuscan salad that makes excellent use of ripe tomatoes and stale bread. Combined with fresh basil, cucumber, and a tangy vinaigrette, it’s a delicious, refreshing dish that’s perfect for the summer months.

Read also: 27 Pasta Side Dishes 

A Resourceful Meal

Panzanella is a great way to use up bread that’s past its prime, turning what might have been wasted into a vibrant and satisfying dish. It’s a beautiful reminder of the resourcefulness of traditional Italian cooking.

Add Your Favorite Ingredients

Feel free to add other ingredients to your Panzanella salad. Some mozzarella or grilled chicken could turn this side dish into a hearty meal, while olives or capers could add an extra layer of flavor.

Check this recipe.

9. Bolognese Sauce

A Robust Italian Sauce

Bolognese sauce is a hearty and flavorful meat-based sauce originating from Bologna, Italy. Made with ground beef, pancetta, wine, tomatoes, and a mirepoix of vegetables, it is slow-cooked to perfection to bring out the rich, savory flavors.

Perfect for Family Dinners

This sauce is ideal for family dinners, as it can be made in large batches and served over any type of pasta. The warmth and richness of Bolognese sauce makes it a comfort food favorite.

Experiment with Ingredients

You can adapt the recipe to suit your taste. Try adding different herbs or a splash of cream to make it your own.

Check this recipe.

10. Minestrone Soup

A Nutritious Italian Soup

Minestrone soup is a nutritious and hearty Italian dish filled with seasonal vegetables, beans, and pasta or rice. Its flavor-rich broth and versatile ingredient list make it a delicious and healthy choice for any meal.

Ideal for Meal Prep

Minestrone is perfect for meal prep. It keeps well in the fridge, and the flavors often improve with time. You can prepare a large batch and enjoy it over several days.

Customize to Your Liking

Feel free to use whatever vegetables you have on hand, or try adding different beans or grains. This soup is versatile, making it easy to adapt to your taste and dietary needs.

Check this recipe.

11. Arancini

A Tasty Sicilian Snack

Arancini are delicious and crispy fried rice balls originating from Sicily. Typically filled with ragu, mozzarella, and peas, they are then coated in breadcrumbs and deep-fried for a golden, crunchy exterior.

Perfect for Parties

These make perfect appetizers or snacks, particularly for parties or get-togethers. Their size and flavor make them a hit with both adults and kids.

Experiment with Fillings

You can get creative with the fillings, using various cheeses, vegetables, or even different meats. The possibilities are endless with Arancini.

Check this recipe.

12. Saltimbocca

A Quick Italian Main Course

Saltimbocca, meaning “jumps in the mouth” in Italian, is a delicious and quick main course. It typically consists of thin slices of veal, prosciutto, and sage leaves cooked in white wine and butter.

Perfect for Busy Weeknights

Saltimbocca is an ideal weeknight dinner. It’s simple, requires minimal ingredients, and can be cooked in under 30 minutes.

Switch Up Your Proteins

Feel free to use chicken or pork instead of veal if you prefer. The key is in the combination of the meat with the salty prosciutto and the aromatic sage.

Check this recipe.

13. Cioppino

A Hearty Italian-American Stew

Cioppino is a seafood stew that originated in San Francisco by Italian-American fishermen. It’s a combination of various types of seafood in a tomato-based broth. This flavorful stew is hearty and satisfying, making it a great centerpiece for a meal.

Perfect for Seafood Lovers

If you’re a fan of seafood, this stew is a must-try. It’s typically loaded with a variety of seafood like clams, shrimp, mussels, and fish. Each bite is a new discovery.

Customizable Ingredients

Feel free to swap out the seafood for what’s fresh and available to you. Some people even like to add in squid or scallops.

Check this recipe.

14. Caponata

A Flavorful Sicilian Dish

Caponata is a flavorful Sicilian dish typically made from eggplant, celery, capers, vinegar, and other vegetables. It has a unique sweet and sour taste and can be served as a side dish, salad, or relish.

A Versatile Recipe

Caponata can be eaten hot or cold, and it’s a great dish to make ahead of time, as the flavors intensify when it sits overnight.

Adaptable to Your Liking

Feel free to adjust the ingredients to your preference. Try adding zucchini, bell peppers, or pine nuts for a variation on the traditional recipe.

Check this recipe.

15. Chicken Piccata

A Tangy and Savory Dish

Chicken Piccata is a tangy and savory dish that consists of chicken cutlets, lemon, capers, and white wine. The chicken is sautéed until golden, then served with the tangy sauce for a dish that’s full of flavor.

Perfect for Weeknight Dinners

This dish is ideal for weeknight dinners as it’s quick to make and uses simple ingredients. Yet, it’s also elegant enough for entertaining guests.

Customize with Your Preferences

Feel free to swap out the chicken for thin slices of pork or turkey, or use a non-alcoholic substitute for the wine.

Check this recipe.

16. Focaccia

A Flavorful Italian Bread

Focaccia is a flavorful Italian bread that’s topped with olive oil, salt, and other toppings like herbs, olives, or tomatoes. The dough is similar to pizza dough but is baked in a flat pan, resulting in a thicker, softer loaf.

Perfect for Sharing

Focaccia is a great bread for sharing at family gatherings or dinner parties. It’s often served as an appetizer, side dish, or used for making sandwiches.

Customize Your Toppings

Feel free to experiment with different toppings. Some popular options include caramelized onions, rosemary, and grated cheese.

Check this recipe.

17. Zabaglione

A Light and Creamy Dessert

Zabaglione is a light, creamy Italian dessert made from egg yolks, sugar, and a sweet wine, typically Marsala. It’s whisked over gentle heat until it becomes frothy and increased in volume.

Perfect End to a Meal

This delicate and luscious dessert is the perfect way to end a meal. It can be served either warm or cold, depending on your preference.

Add Your Twist

Serve it over fresh fruit or with a sprinkle of cocoa powder or cinnamon for a delightful twist. You can also substitute the Marsala with other sweet wines or liqueurs.

Check this recipe.

18. Panna Cotta

A Silky Italian Dessert

Panna Cotta is a creamy Italian dessert made from cream, sugar, and gelatin. The mixture is set in a mold and then chilled, resulting in a silky, smooth dessert that’s incredibly refreshing.

A Simple Yet Elegant Dessert

Despite its elegant appearance, panna cotta is surprisingly easy to make. It’s the perfect dessert to impress your guests without spending hours in the kitchen.

Endless Flavor Possibilities

Panna Cotta is incredibly versatile. You can flavor it with vanilla, coffee, chocolate, or fruit purees. Top it with fresh fruit, a berry coulis, or a drizzle of honey for added sweetness.

Check this recipe.

19. Spaghetti alle Vongole

A Classic Seafood Pasta

Spaghetti alle Vongole is a classic Italian dish that combines spaghetti with clams in a garlic, white wine, and chili sauce. The briny clams, garlicky sauce, and al dente pasta make for a beautifully balanced dish.

Read also: 21 Sweet Potato Recipes

Impress Your Guests

This dish is perfect for a romantic dinner or a special occasion. Despite its elegant appearance, it’s surprisingly easy to make and is sure to impress your guests.

Quality Ingredients are Key

Use the freshest clams you can find for the best flavor, and don’t forget to strain the clam juice to remove any sand or grit.

Check this recipe.

20. Tagliatelle al Ragù Bolognese

A Rich and Hearty Pasta Dish

Tagliatelle al Ragù Bolognese is a traditional Italian dish from Bologna. The thick, flat pasta is topped with a rich and hearty meat sauce made from beef, pork, vegetables, wine, and a small amount of tomato.

Perfect for Sunday Dinner

This comforting dish is perfect for a cozy Sunday dinner with family. It’s a labor of love that requires a long cooking time, but the result is well worth the wait.

Serve with Grated Parmesan

Don’t forget to serve your Bolognese with a generous sprinkle of freshly grated Parmesan cheese for the ultimate finishing touch.

Check this recipe.

21. Italian Wedding Soup

A Hearty and Nourishing Soup

Italian Wedding Soup is a hearty, nourishing soup made with meatballs, pasta, and vegetables, typically escarole or spinach. Despite its name, it’s not traditionally served at weddings but is a reference to the “marriage” of flavors in the soup.

Perfect for Cold Weather

This comforting soup is perfect for cold weather. It’s a complete meal in a bowl, with protein, carbohydrates, and vegetables.

Make It Your Own

Feel free to customize the soup by adding your favorite vegetables or using different types of pasta. You can also make the meatballs with a mixture of beef and pork for added flavor.

Check this recipe.

22. Tortellini in Brodo

A Traditional Italian Soup

Tortellini in Brodo is a traditional Italian dish that combines small, stuffed pasta with a clear, flavorful broth. The tortellini are typically filled with a mixture of meat, cheese, or vegetables.

A Comforting, Light Meal

This comforting soup is perfect for a light lunch or dinner. Despite its simplicity, it’s incredibly flavorful and satisfying.

Use Homemade Broth for the Best Flavor

While you can use store-bought broth, homemade broth will give your soup the best flavor. You can also use different types of tortellini to suit your preferences.

Check this recipe.


It’s clear that Italian cuisine offers a delightful variety of dishes that celebrate simple, fresh ingredients and flavorful combinations. Whether you’re a seasoned cook or a beginner in the kitchen, these 22 Italian recipes provide ample opportunity to hone your cooking skills and enjoy delicious meals. So why wait? Start exploring these authentic Italian recipes today and transport your taste buds to the sunny, flavor-rich landscapes of Italy right from the comfort of your home.

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