From fried zucchini blossoms, to grilled Florentine steak, we’ve gathered our favorite Italian recipes perfect for al fresco dining.
Grapefruit supremes (segments of pulp separated from the membrane) and aged balsamic vinegar brighten this classic Italian salad from author Dana Bowen. André Baranowski Squash, peppers, or eggplant can be substituted for the zucchini in this simple, savory summer pie. Get the recipe for Zucchini, Onion and Ricotta Pie (Torta Salata di Zucchine e Cipolle) » Ingalls Photography Calzones don’t always have to be baked—this ham and ricotta version is deep-fried. Farideh Sadeghin Shrimp are sautéed in smoky bacon fat and served simply on grilled bread with rosemary for this popular snack at Venice, Italy’s Da Fiore restaurant. See the recipe for Crostini Di Scampi (Shrimp and Rosemary Crostini) » Ingalls Photography Light and airy, with a subtle squash flavor, zucchini blossoms are wonderful to cook; they make a flavorful, delicate appetizer when stuffed with salty anchovies and fried. Landon Nordeman Most stromboli recipes call for pizza dough, but the secret to the crispy crust on this baked roll is Italian bread dough. Our version is adapted from one served at Philadelphia’s Romano’s Pizzeria. Ingalls Photography Fragrant rosemary and lemon are added to this risotto after it is cooked. See the recipe for Lemon-Rosemary Risotto » Ingalls Photography In this classic dish, cold sliced veal is served under a blanket of creamy tuna mayonnaise. Ingalls Photography Crusty, garlicky toasted bread is topped with creamy ricotta, rosemary-accented beans, and spicy sautéed broccoli rabe in this quick, satisfying Italian appetizer. Andre Baranowski Serravalle Scrivia native and local cook Davide Gheezi makes this pasta dish with mushrooms that have been foraged, dried, and stored over the winter. The silver-dollar-size rounds of corzetti (sometimes called croxetti) are elevated with a mushroom sauce bolstered by a savory veal stock. Ingalls Photography In this classic Genoese dish, fettuccine pasta is combined with string beans, baby red potatoes, and tossed with basil pesto. Get the recipe for Trenette al Pesto » Todd Coleman Invented in 1975 by Sirio Maccioni of Le Cirque restaurant in New York City, this classic is a colorful combination of pasta, cream, parmesan, and lightly sautéed spring and summer vegetables. Get the recipe for Spaghetti alla Primavera » Todd Coleman Slightly bitter rapini (also known as broccoli rabe) marries well with tangy goat cheese in a pasta recipe that’s ideal for summer picnics and potlucks. Get the recipe for Orecchiette with Rapini and Goat Cheese » André Baranowski This flavorful pesto from Sicily is traditionally served with homemade busiate, a spiral-shaped pasta; you can substitute dried fusilli in a pinch. Todd Coleman This pasta is filled with all kinds of seafood—clams, squid, shrimp, and lobster. Michael Kraus 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 Brushing meat with rosemary imparts an herbal fragrance to this Italian steak, which is traditionally served with cannellini beans and lemon wedges. Ingalls Photography This most iconic of pizzas is topped with tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella, and basil leaves, the colors of the Italian flag. Todd Coleman This stunner of a pie features summer squash blossoms, creamy burrata, and a crisp, chewy crust. Penny De Los Santos Deep-frying seafood in a good-quality extra-virgin olive oil imparts fruity, peppery flavors and creates an incredibly delicate crust. Todd Coleman The recipe for this pan-fried fillet is finished with a white-wine butter sauce laced with lemon, capers, and shallots. Penny De Los Santos This creamy codfish mousse is delicious served with char-grilled squares of polenta. Todd Coleman In her book Lidia’s Italian Table (William Morrow, 1998), Lidia Bastianich recommends making this rustic Italian salad with toasted country bread and ripe tomatoes. See the Panzanella recipe » Penny De Los Santos Smooth, grassy, and slightly savory, this rich olive oil gelato makes for an elegant dessert—we love it topped with a sprinkle of sea salt. Helen Rosner A heady mixture of olive oil and preserved oranges flavors this moist, dense Sicilian dessert. André Baranowski The recipe for this elegant, easy-to-make dessert is based on one prepared at Ristorante Dattilo in Calabria. Helen Rosner Crushed amaretti cookies lend nutty depth to sweet mashed peaches in this simple dessert. Ingalls Photography Soft, very ripe peaches work best in the filling for this summery tart from Piedmont home cook Maddalena Bellorini. Landon Nordeman In the hot, dry summers in Sicily, an icy slush of strong espresso and simple syrup is the perfect refresher. It’s often served as a parfait layered with rich, lightly sweetened whipped cream. Michael Kraus This delectable Italian specialty is cool, creamy, lightly nutty, and especially delicious when paired with our Chocolate Gelato. Christopher Hirsheimer