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30 Italian Recipes That Will Never Go Out of Style

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It’s amore!
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Italian cuisine — and Italian-American cuisine in particular — is the height of comfort food. From baked lasagna oozing with cheese to hearty pasta dishes loaded with alfredo sauce to meatballs cooked to a delicate golden brown, Italians know what they’re doing when it comes to food. Beyond some of the dishes that are better known in the United States, there’s also risotto, polenta, tramezzini and more. Below, we’ve included some of our most beloved Italian dishes to help bring the comfort of nonna’s cooking straight to your dinner table. 

Pasta With Fennel and Sausage

Pasta With Fennel and Sausage
(Lisa Schumacher/food styling) (Abel Uribe, Chicago Tribune)

Sausage, a protein staple in Italian cookery, makes appearances in sandwiches, pasta dishes and more. Here, the licorice-like tang of fresh fennel complements the fennel seed typically used in Italian sausage and ties the whole meal together.

For the Pasta With Fennel and Sausage recipe, click here.

Cheese and Spinach Manicotti

Cheese and Spinach Manicotti
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Manicotti, the quintessential make-ahead meal, is perfect for holidays, potlucks and everything in between. Sort of like an Italian enchilada, manicotti shells are stuffed with a homemade cheese-and-spinach filling and topped with sauce. Toss it into the oven the day of your event and it’ll be fresh and piping hot when you need it.

For the Cheese and Spinach Manicotti recipe, click here.

Chicken Piccata With Rice

Chicken Piccata With Rice
(James F. Quinn, Chicago Tribune)

Chicken piccata is the perfect dinner option for busy weeknights. In this version, mushrooms and chicken are cooked in a sauce made with lemon juice, chicken broth, capers and heavy cream. Enjoy the dish as is or serve it over a bed of rice like this recipe suggests.

For the Chicken Piccata With Rice recipe, click here.

Eggplant Parmesan

Eggplant Parmesan
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A great vegetarian alternative to chicken Parmesan is eggplant Parm. Make sure you sprinkle the sliced eggplant with salt and let it sit for an hour before patting the moisture off with a paper towel. This will ensure the dish is crisp instead of soggy.

For the Eggplant Parmesan recipe, click here.

Shrimp and Vegetable Tramezzini

Shrimp and Vegetable Tramezzini
(Food styling by Lisa Schumacher) (Michael Tercha / Chicago Tribune; Lisa Schumacher / food styling)

If you have Italian relatives you want to impress, make them tramezzini. Despite being hard to find in the U.S., the little sandwiches are easy to make and oh-so-scrumptious. Here, they’re prepared with shrimp, thinly sliced carrots and zucchini delicately placed between two slices of bread slathered with Italian mayonnaise.

For the Shrimp and Vegetable Tramezzi recipe, click here.

Homemade Gnocchi

Homemade Gnocchi
(Michael Tercha / Chicago Tribune)

If your grandma hasn’t already taught you how to make homemade gnocchi, here’s your chance to learn. This easy-to-follow recipe will yield pillowy discs of potato perfection. Serve the dish with a garlic scape pesto sauce or tossed with roasted tomatoes.

For the Homemade Gnocchi recipe, click here.

Classic Meatballs

Classic Meatballs
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Meatballs are featured in different cuisines around the world, but the preparation technique and ingredients vary depending on where you look. In Italy, the iconic dish is typically made by mixing ground beef with breadcrumbs, minced onion, eggs and seasoning.

For the Classic Meatballs recipe, click here.

Classic Lasagna

Classic Lasagna
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Some liberties have been taken with lasagna since its inception. You can make it taco-style with cheddar cheese and ground beef or Florentine-style with spinach and chicken. Sometimes, though, the classics are king. This no-frills recipe sticks to the tried-and-true ingredients like red sauce, ricotta and mozzarella.

For the Classic Lasagna recipe, click here.

Arugula and Pancetta Pizza

Arugula and Pancetta Pizza

Buca di Beppo

Although pizza didn’t originate in Italy, the dish is common across the country today. This recipe makes use of classic Italian ingredients, like pancetta, spicy sausage and a balsamic glaze. If you’re short on time, use store-bought crust. If you have the time, try making it from scratch.

For the Arugula and Pancetta Pizza recipe, click here.

Traditional Bolognese Ragu

Traditional Bolognese Ragu
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Whether you know it as meat sauce or ragu, making traditional bolognese can be a challenge. According to L'Accademia Italiana della Cucina in Italy, this recipe for traditional bolognese ragu is the right way to make the sauce. Wondering what pasta shape you should add to your bolognese? Don’t stray far from tagliatelle or other wide, long noodles—the only shape allowed, according to some purists.

For the Bolognese Ragu recipe, click here.

Spaghetti Carbonara

Spaghetti Carbonara
Jacqui Wedewer/The Daily Meal

Spaghetti carbonara is a traditional Roman pasta dish that uses ingredients typically on hand like bacon and eggs. You can make it the traditional way or get creative by playing around with pasta shapes.

For the Spaghetti Carbonara recipe, click here.

White Wine Clam Sauce Over Linguine

White Wine Clam Sauce Over Linguine
Courtesy of McCormick

Seafood is an integral part of the cuisine of Italy, which is in the Mediterranean, so much so that entire Christmas Eve dinners are dedicated to serving fish in different ways. In this recipe, clams are the star. Pasta is served with the shellfish and tossed in a homemade, white-wine clam sauce.

For the White Wine Clam Sauce Over Linguine recipe, click here.

Griddle-Seared Chicken With Caprese-Style Tomatoes

Griddle-Seared Chicken With Caprese-Style Tomatoes
Terrence Antonio James/Chicago Tribune; Shannon Kinsella/food styling

Caprese-style denotes any dish made with mozzarella, basil and tomatoes. It can be served in a variety of ways: as a salad, sandwich, skewers or as an entire entree. This griddle-seared chicken is topped with marinated mozzarella, tomatoes and basil.

For the Griddle-Seared Chicken With Caprese-Style Tomatoes recipe, click here.

Ravioli With Cream, Bay Leaf and Sage

Ravioli With Cream, Bay Leaf and Sage
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Of course, no list of Italian recipes would be complete without ravioli. This one serves the beloved cheese-filled pasta in a cream sauce with fresh sage. Serve it with a crack of pepper and fresh grated Parmesan cheese and you’ll feel like you’re at an authentic Italian restaurant.

For the Ravioli With Cream, Bay Leaf and Sage recipe, click here.

Pasta e Fagioli

Pasta e Fagioli
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Nothing is more comforting than a bowl of soup on a cold day and for Italians, that soup is pasta e fagioli. The dish, which translates to pasta and beans, is quite literal. It’s a blend of ditalini macaroni cooked in a pot of chicken broth, plum tomatoes, cannellini beans and seasonings.

For the Pasta e Fagioli recipe, click here.

Homemade Calzones

Homemade Calzones
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Most pizza shops offer calzones, but if you want to make them at home, you can. Once you make the dough, fill your calzones with anything you want. Opt for the classic combo of mozzarella cheese with red sauce and pepperoni or follow along with this recipe, which includes ricotta cheese, a blend of dark greens and a whole lotta garlic.

For the Homemade Calzones recipe, click here.

Panzanella With Grilled Shrimp

Panzanella With Grilled Shrimp
Chicago Tribune

In the U.S., Italian cuisine is most often associated with pasta dishes, pizza and meatballs. But in reality, it’s much more than that. Delicious salads are also a staple of the Mediterranean country. Panzanella, a chopped salad that originated in Italy, is made by tossing day-old bread with tomatoes, cucumber and oil and vinegar.

For the Panzanella With Grilled Shrimp recipe, click here.

Spaghetti all’Amatriciana

Spaghetti all’Amatriciana
Chicago Tribune

Revered by some as one of the most famous pasta dishes in Rome, Spaghetti all'Amatriciana is set apart from the rest by guanciale (cured pork jowl). If the ingredient isn’t available near you, thinly sliced bacon will do the trick.

For the Spaghetti all'Amatriciana recipe, click here.

Pasta With Tomatoes and Basil

Pasta With Tomatoes and Basil
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As implied by the straightforward name, this pasta with tomatoes and basil is made with, well, tomatoes and fresh herbs. The sauce can be prepared with either fresh or canned tomatoes and the pasta choice is up to you.

For the Pasta With Tomatoes and Basil recipe, click here.

Stuffed Shells

Stuffed Shells
Styling and Photography by Faigy Feldman

Similar to manicotti, stuffed shells also fall under the umbrella of pastas stuffed with a ricotta, mozzarella, and Parmesan cheese filling. This classic holiday fare can easily be made the night before and popped into the oven for convenient, same-day cooking.

For the Stuffed Shells recipe, click here.

Muffuletta

Muffuletta
Bill Hogan/Chicago Tribune

Although the muffuletta sandwich is closely associated with New Orleans, it originated among Italian immigrants. With ingredients like mortadella, Italian salami and provolone cheese, a muffuletta sandwich is Italian in nature, no matter where it originated.

For the Muffuletta recipe, click here.

Fennel and Garlic Taralli

Fennel and Garlic Taralli
Courtesy of Chicago Tribune

Taralli is a popular snack food in the southern half of the Italian peninsula. Here, the Italian pretzels are made with fennel seed and garlic. Enjoy them as-is or serve them as a side with soup and stew.

For the Fennel and Garlic Taralli recipe, click here.

Butterfly Pasta

Butterfly Pasta
Bill Hogan/Chicago Tribune

Farfalle — commonly called butterfly or bowtie pasta by kids — is best served in a red sauce seasoned with garlic and oregano. Pump up the dish with some protein by serving it with marinated chicken or cooked shrimp.

For the Butterfly Pasta recipe, click here.

Pesto Alla Trapanese

Pesto Alla Trapanese
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Although jarred pesto is available on grocery store shelves nationwide, nothing beats the homemade stuff. The sauce has been around since Ancient Rome. In this rendition, a paste of garlic, salt, almonds, pecorino cheese and herbs is formed to make pesto alla Trapanese.

For the Pesto Alla Trapanese recipe, click here.

Tuscan Chicken Pasta

Tuscan Chicken Pasta
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Looking for a way to use up leftover chicken? Add it to pasta. This recipe will show you the glory of garlic. Slide the top off the head to expose the cloves and rub them with a little olive oil. Wrap the garlic in aluminum foil and bake for about an hour. When done, the cloves will squeeze right out and form a garlicky paste.

For the Tuscan Chicken Pasta recipe, click here.

Creamy Mushroom Risotto

Creamy Mushroom Risotto
Jessica Chou/The Daily Meal

Risotto is one of the hardest Italian dishes to master. Get it wrong and it can have the consistency of grits; get it really wrong and it’ll come out like soup. This creamy mushroom risotto is simple enough for home cooks to master and comes together in less than one hour.

For the Creamy Mushroom Risotto recipe, click here.

Polenta

Polenta
Bill Hogan/Chicago Tribune

Once you get the technique down, it’s easy to customize Polenta. Amplify its creaminess by adding butter, stirring in freshly grated Parmesan, or adding sauteed garlic and mushrooms. Enjoy it as is or chill it and deep fry it once it hardens.

For the Polenta recipe, click here.

Italian Wedding Soup

Italian Wedding Soup
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Despite its name, Italian wedding soup isn’t commonly served at weddings. It gets its name because of the marriage of flavors. From the hearty stock down to the miniature meatballs and vegetables, this comforting soup is perfect for fall days.

For the Italian Wedding Soup recipe, click here.

Air Fryer Chicken Parmesan

Air Fryer Chicken Parmesan
Courtesy of Bits and Bites

Air fryers are considered a modern marvel. The kitchen appliance can whip up everything from french fries to hot wings. But have we gone too far with chicken Parmesan? Not quite. Your air fryer will birth a perfectly crispy chicken that shines when served with red sauce and melted mozzarella.

For the Air Fryer Chicken Parmesan recipe, click here.

Cacio e Pepe

Cacio e Pepe
Jacqui Wedewer/The Daily Meal

With nothing more than the ingredients they could carry in their sacks (dry pasta, cheese and black pepper), shepherds brought cacio e pepe to the forefront 2,500 years ago. Today, it’s one of the most popular Italian dishes and continues to make appearances at the dinner table and in restaurants. It’s also one of many pasta dishes that are ready in about half an hour.

For the Cacio e Pepe recipe, click here.

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