13 of Our Best Mediterranean Recipes, from Greece, Italy, and Beyond

Break out the grape leaves and yogurt

Chef Georgia Goggi of Italy's Puglia region makes this slow-cooked tomato sauce with octopus and saffron. She pairs it with paccheri, a thick air-dried pasta—but any robust pasta shape will do.

Cretan Cheese Pies with Thyme and Honey (Kalitsounia)
Kalitsounia
These Cretan hand pies are often served around Easter. Made with a country-style phyllo, which is less flaky and slightly thicker than classic versions of the dough, they can be found either baked or fried, but are always filled with mild local sheep and goat cheeses. Get the recipe for Cretan Cheese Pies with Thyme and Honey (Kalitsounia) »Matt Taylor-Gross
Pesto Genovese
pesto
Cooks in Liguria, a skinny Italian region on the Mediterranean coast, are picky about their beloved pesto. They use sweet, delicate basil Genovese and remove any green sprouts from the center of the garlic cloves to avoid bitterness. Get the recipe for Pesto GenoveseMichelle Heimerman
Spicy Lamb and Grape Leaf Tarts With Orzo and Feta
Spicy Lamb and Grape Leaf Tarts With Orzo and Feta
These crustless tarts, adapted from Ana Sortun and Maura Kilpatrick's book Soframiz, are inspired by a yogurt and semolina custard that is traditionally baked inside cooked grape leaves in Greece. The authors say that, even though the grape leaves aren't rolled and filled cigar-style, the filled tarts are still a version of a dolma, a word that means "stuffed" in Turkish and Greek. "I love this version because the grape leaves get crispy and a little caramelized," Sortun says. They work equally well in ceramic ramekins, fluted or non-fluted tart pans, muffin tins, or small cast iron baking dishes. Get the recipe for Spicy Lamb and Grape Leaf Tarts With Orzo and Feta »Matt Taylor-Gross
Pork Belly Gyro
Pork Belly Gyro
"I tried to re-create thin gyro meat with shaved pork belly, but thick slabs are better. If it's too thin, it crisps up too much."— Rick Gencarelli, Lardo, Portland, Oregon Get the recipe for Pork Belly Gyro »Joseph De Leo
Turkish Lamb Dumplings with Yogurt and Brown Butter Tomato Sauce (Manti)
Lamb Dumplings
This version is Turkish in origin but uses a technique derived from Armenian recipes: The dumplings are baked in the oven before boiling, allowing the meat to better flavor the dough and imparting a toasty aroma to the final dish. Get the recipe for Turkish Lamb Dumplings with Yogurt and Brown Butter Tomato Sauce (Manti) »Matt Taylor-Gross
Italian Easter Pie (Pizza Gain, a.k.a. Pizza Rustica)
Pizza Gain
Sometimes called pizza rustica or Easter pie, this savory southern Italian pie—eaten around the holiday—incorporates chopped cured salamis and Italian cheeses into a dense, eggy filling surrounded by a pastry-like crust. It's most delicious eaten warm the same day it's baked, but leftovers (which you are almost certain to have) will keep for 4 to 5 days. Get the recipe for Italian Easter Pie (Pizza Gain, a.k.a. Pizza Rustica) »Matt Taylor-Gross
Taralli
Taralli
Having originated in Puglia—the "heel" of Italy, home to over 60 million olive trees, some thousands of years old—the very best savory taralli taste of little more than good olive oil, lots of salt, and often either fragrant fennel seed or coarsely ground black pepper, the two most classic flavors. Get the recipe for Taralli »Stacy Adimado
Lamb Shanks in Red Wine with Creamy Eggplant
Lamb Shanks in Red Wine with Creamy Eggplant
A creamy eggplant purée, enriched with béchamel and Gruyère cheese serves as a bed for meltingly tender lamb shanks, slow-braised in red wine and aromatics. Get the recipe for Lamb Shanks in Red Wine with Creamy Eggplant »Christina Holmes | Food Styling: Eugene Jho
Cauliflower Shawarma Berber
Cauliflower Shawarma Berber
This dish will make you dust off the grill in preparation for spring, and the taste of pomegranate will remind you of warm days on the way. Get the recipe for Cauliflower Shawarma Berber »Matt Taylor-Gross
Sunchoke Hummus
Sunchoke Hummus | Elaine Murphy
The earthy, nutty quality of Jerusalem artichokes works beautifully with tahini and lemon in this appetizer. Get the recipe for Sunchoke Hummus »Paul Sirisalee | Food Styling: Eugene Jho
White Bean and Sardine Stew
White Bean and Sardine Stew
You may think it's best to steer clear of canned sardines, but those are actually preferred for this dish. Get the recipe for White Bean and Sardine Stew »Ingalls Photography
Cacciucco (Tuscan Seafood Stew)
Cacciucco
A generous helping of mixed seafood is cooked with tomatoes, herbs and white wine for a delectable and hearty seafood stew. Get the recipe for Cacciucco (Tuscan Seafood Stew) »Todd Coleman