Classic Italian Recipes

Classic Italian Recipes

Celebrate the delectable diversity of Italian cuisine with these recipes, from rich, braised osso buco to comforting spaghetti carbonara, fresh caprese salad, and authentic Italian cocktails.

Classic Meatballs

The key to making these meatballs is to brown them first in a skillet and then braise them in a sauce of red wine and tomatoes. Serve with crusty bread or spaghetti to sop up the sauce.

See the recipe for Classic Meatballs »

Todd Coleman

Caprese Salad

A dish as simple as caprese salad demands the best ingredients: Use firm, in-season tomatoes, the freshest burrata, and dress with pristine olive oil and top-quality balsamic vinegar.

See the recipe for Caprese Salad »

Landon Nordeman

Tuscan Seafood Stew (Cacciucco)

This Tuscan soup has a base of octopus, squid, tomatoes, wine, garlic, sage, and dried red chiles; other fish are added at the end of cooking, before the soup is served over garlic-rubbed bread.

Todd Coleman


The traditional Bellini is made with white peach puree and sparkling wine, but the addition of a high quality peach brandy intensifies and sweetens the cocktail.

See the recipe for Bellini »

Nicole Franzen

Risotto alla Milanese

Floral and pleasantly bitter, saffron gives luscious, velvety risotto a sophisticated boost and a gorgeous golden hue in this elegant dish.

See the recipe for Risotto alla Milanese »

Todd Coleman

Arancini Veneziani (Venetian Rice Fritters)

Saffron-scented rice balls filled with ragu are laced with sharp parmesan cheese in this beloved Sicilian snack. See the gallery of step-by-step instructions for Arancine »

See the recipe for Arancini Veneziani »

Todd Coleman

Braciola (Italian Beef Rolls in Tomato Sauce)

In this satisfying dish, a lean cut of beef is pounded thin and rolled around a layer of grated cheese, fresh herbs, bits of prosciutto, raisins, and pine nuts. Tied, and seared, it is then left to simmer in tomato sauce for hours, until the meat is tender and infused with flavor from the stuffing.

See the recipe for Braciola »

Todd Coleman

Sgroppino, a slushy combination of lemon sorbet, vodka, and prosecco, is common in Italy as a palate cleanser, a dessert, or a pre-dinner drink. Whisk the ingredients together for a chilly, frothy twist.

Helen Rosner

Mostarda di Frutta (Spicy Mustard and Fruit Preserves)

Likened to a fruit-based relish, the complex condiment is best served with meats or cheeses that can stand up to its intensity of flavor.

See the recipe for Mostarda di Frutta »

Todd Coleman

Sicilian Cannoli

Cannoli should be light and creamy, not dense and sticky. To replicate the iconic dessert, use ricotta impastata, a smoother and drier version of ricotta, in the filling.

See the recipe for Sicilian Cannoli »

Landon Nordeman

Soupe Crasse (Cheese and Bread Soup)

Typically made with day-old bread or breadsticks during the holidays, this northern Italian specialty comes out like a luscious casserole of melted cheese and bread.

See the recipe for Soupe Crasse »

Todd Coleman

Gamberi al Rosmarino (Shrimp with Pancetta and Rosemary)

Redolent of rosemary, these pancetta-studded shrimp are smothered in tomatoes and a garlicky wine sauce. Serve them with plenty of crusty bread to mop up every last bit.

See the recipe for Gamberi al Rosmarino »

Todd Coleman

Gnocchi al Pesto (Potato Dumplings with Pesto)

Tender gnocchi tossed with a classic pesto genovese is a popular first course, or primo piatto, in Liguria.

See the recipe for Gnocchi al Pesto »

Penny De Los Santos

Broccoli Strascinati (Broccoli with Garlic and Hot Pepper)

Regular broccoli, broccoli rabe, and romanesco all work equally well in this traditional Roman dish. The side pairs beautifully with pork chops, but it's also delightful on its own with some grated cheese sprinkled on top.

See the recipe for Broccoli Strascinati »

Todd Coleman

Serve these delicate and tender veal shanks with mashed potatoes to soak up the rich gravy from the pan.

Todd Coleman

Pesto-Rubbed Chicken with Panzanella

Pesto genovese adds herbal brightness to grilled chicken, which is served over a hearty toasted bread salad.

See the recipe for Pesto-Rubbed Chicken with Panzanella »

Todd Coleman

Pizza Margherita

It doesn't get more classically Italian than this thin-crust pizza topped with tomato, mozzerella de buuffala, and fresh basil.

See the recipe for Pizza Margherita »

Todd Coleman

Piselli al Prosciutto (Sweet Peas with Prosciutto)

In this classic Roman contorno, or side dish, sweet peas are braised until tender, then sauteed with salty prosciutto.

See the recipe for Piselli al Prosciutto »

Todd Coleman

Spaghetti all'Amatriciana

Slow-simmered tomato sauce infused with bacon adds rich and flavorful body to the pasta sauce.

See the recipe for Spaghetti all'Amatriciana »

Todd Coleman

Maiale in Agrodolce (Sweet and Sour Glazed Pork Chops)

Honey and balsamic vinegar are the sweet and sour agents in this recipe, which pairs especially well with stewed sweet peppers.

See the recipe for Maiale in Agrodolce »

Michael Kraus


Found all over Italy, the prosecco-based spritz is a slightly bitter Venetian cocktail that pairs well with all sorts of cicheti.

See the recipe for Spritz »

Todd Coleman

Swordfish Puttanesca

Italy's puttanesca sauce, briny with anchovies, olives, and capers, pairs well with swordfish or any other meaty fish.

See the recipe for Swordfish Puttanesca »

Todd Coleman

Tuscan Bean Soup

Cannelini beans, carrots, onion, squash, potato, and kale combine to make a hearty, warming soup. Served with a slice of country-style bread, the dense and slightly sweet soup is the perfect remedy for cold weather.

See the recipe for Tuscan Bean Soup »

André Baranowski

Cipolline in Agrodolce (Sweet and Sour Onions)

Plump raisins are mixed with glazed pearl onions onions for a sweet and sour side dish that partners well with roasted meats like porchetta.

See the recipe for Cipolline in Agrodolce »

Todd Coleman

Sarde in Saor (Sweet and Sour Sardines)

Briny sardines are paired with sweet raisins, sauteed onions, and flavorful pine nuts for an enticing, sumptuous cicheti. Traditionally made with fried sardines, the dish is just as delicious when the fish are broiled.

See the recipe for Sarde in Saor »

Todd Coleman

Baked Music-Paper Bread with Rosemary

Thin sheets of music-paper bread are drizzled with olive oil and seasoned with rosemary and salt for a warm, satisfying Sardinian snack.

** See the recipe for Baked Music-Paper Bread with Rosemary »**

Brooke Slezac

Anna Nanni's Ragu alla Bolognese

"Everyone in this region makes ragu alla bolognese," says Anna Nanni, a cook at Trattoria Amerigo dal 1934, outside Bologna in the city of Savigno. "From ten women, you'll get ten different recipes, all of them traditional." Her ragu is brightly flavored and slightly tangy, owing to the addition of canned tomatoes.

See the recipe for Rag¿ alla Bolognese »

André Baranowski

Insalata di Polpo (Octopus Salad)

Tender boiled octopus brightened with a lemony dressing is a Venetian cicheti (small plate) staple.

See the recipe for Insalata di Polpo »

Todd Coleman

Eggplant Caponata

Briny capers and unsweetened chocolate add surprising complexity to this rich eggplant preparation, softened by the sweetness of caramelized onions and raisins. Served on toast, it makes a wonderful appetizer or side dish.

See the recipe for Eggplant Caponata »

Todd Coleman

Finocchio al Forno (Fennel Baked in Cream)

Fennel is baked in the oven with cream and Parmesan to create a luxurious, autumnal gratin.

See the recipe for Finocchio al Forno »

Todd Coleman

Gelato di Vaniglia (Sicilian Vanila Ice Cream)

Unlike most Sicilian gelato, this recipe calls for cream and an egg yolk. With a dense, velvety texture, the ice cream gets its strong vanilla flavorful from just a single vanilla bean.

See the recipe for Gelato di Vaniglia »

Christopher Hirsheimer