100 Ways to Cook Italian
From pizza and pasta to gelato and tiramisu, we've rounded up a collection of our most exquisite and enchanting Italian recipes. Fresh herbs, produce, and ingredients come together to create these Italian recipes, which offer lighter versions of otherwise diet-busting dishes.
First up is a classic— Pizza Margherita!
Because this classic Neapolitan-style pizza is so simple, it depends on quality ingredients: Use the best fresh mozzarella and basil you can find for this recipe.
Use whole-wheat panko in this Italian recipe; the regular type became soggy in a test.
Our cioppino is easy to make and it features fresh Italian flavors such as basil, oregano, and tomatoes. If you already have it on hand, feel free to substitute chicken broth in place of vegetable broth.
Pappardelle with Mushrooms
When this recipe first appeared in the magazine in October 2009, it was made with hollow bucatini noodles. For this version, we switched to ribbony pappardelle. In truth, any pasta would work well.
Mussels Fra Diavolo with Linguine
Fra diavolo means "brother devil" in Italian and refers to a spicy, tomato-based sauce. Here we use store-bought marinara that's jazzed up with fresh fennel, crushed red pepper, and garlic.
Grilled Caponata Salad with Grilled Flatbreads
Look for caper berries near the olives in the supermarket; they should be next to the capers, but they're much bigger and have a stem. In a pinch, substitute about a tablespoon of chopped capers. Japanese eggplants have thinner skins than typical globe eggplants, so you can leave the peel on. The light purple color is pretty, too.
Puréed strawberries create the "juice" that flavors this creamy gelato.
Ricotta, Parmesan, and mozzarella combine to give this lasagna an irresistible gooey factor. Store-bought tomato sauce offers convenience and is perked up with a little fresh basil, garlic, and ground red pepper.
Sausage, Fennel, and Ricotta Pizza
Dollops of ricotta cheese top this crispy pizza. Use a preheated pizza stone or baking sheet to ensure an extra-crisp crust.
Italian Tomato Soup
Homemade marinara sauce serves as the base in this tomato soup with ditalini pasta and shaved pecorino Romano cheese.
Fettuccine with Seared Tomatoes, Spinach, and Burrata
Don't skimp on the oil: There's a good bit here, but it creates a gorgeous tomato sauce that coats the noodles nicely. Burrata is rich, delicious fresh mozzarella cheese filled with cream. Although it was originally a hard-to-find imported Italian ingredient, now Bel Gioioso (an American cheese producer) makes and sells it in the gourmet cheese section at many major supermarkets.
We like our coffee strong here—you can also substitute 1 1/2 cups strong brewed coffee mixed with a tablespoon of instant espresso.
Slow-Roasted Tomato Marinara
Slow roasting concentrates the flavor in the tomatoes, making for a much heartier and somewhat thicker sauce. You can freeze the sauce in pint containers for up to six months. If you don't have a food mill, puree the sauce in a blender or food processor and strain through a sieve.
Our Vegetable Lasagna has half the fat and calories of traditional lasagna—but loaded with satisfying flavor. Lots of colorful, delicious baby veggies are layered between pasta to reduce the typical mounds of cheese.
Homemade Pizza Dough
Homemade pizza dough is economical, fun, and healthful since you control the ingredients. This recipe yields enough dough to make two pizzas, or one pizza and four large calzones.
Chicken with Pepperoni-Marinara Sauce
Commercial marinara sauce and quick-cooking chicken cutlets give you a jump start on dinner when preparing this Italian-inspired chicken entree. Pepperoni slices and shredded mozzarella make this meal appealing to kids and adults alike.
Italian Three-Bean Salad
Prepare the salad up to 1 day ahead, and store in the refrigerator. If you can't find fresh cranberry beans, substitute rinsed and drained canned cannellini beans, and add them to the snap beans for the last 2 minutes of cooking.
Spaghetti with Pork Bolognese
A rich bolognese sauce with plenty of meat feels like the old-world Italian dish, but fits in the new-world nutrition sense. One online reviewer claims, "I like any spaghetti sauce that sneaks in tons of veggies." Note: A little liquid remaining in your bolognese sauce helps coat the pasta.
Basil Plum Granita
Although complex black plums, with their winey flavor, taste and look spectacular in this refreshing granita, you can use most any variety.
Chicken Parmesan Burgers
Get out of your burger rut with these ground chicken parmesan burgers. Grill then serve on ciabatta rolls and top with marianara sauce and mozzarella.
Garlicky Meatball Pasta
In about 30 minutes, you can have a bowl of Garlicky Meatball Pasta on your table--homemade meatballs included. Refrigerated fettuccine and commercial marinara sauce helps to quicken this quick and easy pasta dinner.
Balsamic-Glazed Pork Chops and Polenta
Reduce the vinegar while the polenta simmers so the entire meal is ready and hot at the same time.
Campari and Orange Sparkling Cocktail
Campari, an Italian aperitif, gives the drink a bitter edge and beautiful rosy color.
Steamed Clams Fagioli
A peasant dish no more! Our steamed clams version of this traditional dish is ready to go in 30 minutes and is loaded with classic Italian flavors.
Chicken with Italian Sweet-Sour Fennel
Experiment with fennel—a great source of vitamins and minerals—for a fun new flavor that pairs well with chicken.
Spaghetti with Clams and Slow-Roasted Cherry Tomatoes
This recipe makes an elegant dinner for entertaining. Spaghetti dressed with clams is a Southern Italian classic, and tomatoes contribute a contemporary addition.
Blue Cheese Polenta with Vegetables
It only takes 15 minutes to pull off this beautiful dish. You can also try roasting the veggies for a bit of a different spin.
Egg White and Sun-Dried Tomato Frittata
This ethereally fluffy frittata tastes rich, thanks to the cheese wedges. Pair with a green or fruit salad to make this dish into a nice brunch.
Rich porcini broth and nutty Parmigiano-Reggiano add deep umami taste to this vegetarian lasagna. Plain white button mushrooms will work in place of cremini. Serve with a simple green salad for a satisfying meal.
In Candy-Wrapped Tortelli, fresh dough gets twisted around the chicken-spinach filling, like a candy wrapper. Cutting and shaping tortelli by hand means each piece is unique--and therein lies the charm of this pasta dish.
Viennese Almond Crescents
Look for almond meal—also known as almond flour—in health-food and specialty stores. Bake the cookies ahead, and freeze up to six months in an airtight container, with wax paper between layers. Thaw and dust the cookies with powdered sugar just before serving.
This drink is a twist on the classic Bellini, a post–World War II cocktail of white peach puree and Champagne, first mixed at Harry's Bar in Venice. Freezing the watermelon before pureeing lends the drink a slightly slushy consistency. If you prefer a smoother texture, simply chill the watermelon. Serve in Champagne flutes.
Fresh asparagus is most economical in the spring when it's in season.
Gnocchi with Browned Butter
Pair fresh sage with buttery gnocchi for an authentic and delicious Italian delight.
Meyer Lemon Chicken Piccata
Freshen up a classic chicken dish by using Meyer lemons for the sauce. These lemons have a great tangy aroma and are sweeter and less acidic that regular lemons.
"Farrotto" with Butternut, Gruyère, and Hazelnuts
Cubes of butternut squash hold their shape and bite and stand out wonderfully against the farro background. Grated Gruyéré cheese and chopped hazelnuts add the perfect touch of fat and salt at the end of this vegetarian main dish.
Grilled Pepper, Onion, and Sausage Calzoness
Use sweet turkey Italian sausage in these calzones for sensitive palates. Serve with a spinach salad.
Shrimp Fettuccine Alfredo
Refrigerated pasta is a time-pressed cook's secret weapon, cooking up in a flash. Reserved pasta water will give your alfredo sauce the right consistency.
Chicken puttanesca is a simple Italian pasta sauce featuring fresh ingredients like chopped onion, garlic, chopped tomato, capers, sliced green olives, fresh herbs, and chopped anchovy. Serve with angel hair pasta.
Tuscan-Style Potato Soup
Take your normal potato soup on a tour of the Italian countryside with the addition of pine nuts, sage, pancetta, and Italian sausage.
Prosciutto and Cheese Tartine
Although the name tartine often refers to a French open-faced sandwich, this version is closer to Italian focaccia topped with piquant salad. Because it's inexpensive to make your own flatbread, you can splurge on real Italian Parmigiano-Reggiano, which makes a huge difference in a simple recipe like this one. You'll also have room in the budget for 2 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto for a salty, savory note.
Deep Dark Chocolate Biscotti
This decadent-seeming chocolate biscotti recipe is actually pretty healthy and features good-for-you ingredients like whole-wheat flour, flaxseed, and unsalted almonds.
Chicken and Basil Calzones
Ground chicken breast is a lean alternative to beef. Substitute ground sirloin, if you prefer.
Limoncello is good ice-cold on its own, but it's also delicious in a lemon drop martini, mixed with sparkling wine, or splashed over a bowl of fresh fruit. Since it takes two weeks to infuse the bracing citrusy flavor into the vodka, start this gift early and decant it into pretty sterilized glass bottles.
Baked Feta with Romesco and Olive Tapenade
Make the romesco sauce and tapenade up to three days ahead, and keep them chilled separately.
This speedy seafood stew is loaded with shrimp, mussels, and fish.
Fresh lasagna noodles offer silky texture without the work of making your own pasta. Here we cut the sheets into thick noodles. Sub pappardelle or fettuccine, if necessary.
Farfalle with Fava Beans, Morel Mushrooms, and Mascarpone
You can also use shiitake mushrooms and edamame, good year-round alternatives to morels and fava beans.
Complete the meal with steamed broccoli or carrot sticks with light ranch dressing.
Ravioli with Herbed Ricotta Filling
You can shape the pasta and freeze it up to a month before cooking.
Honey-Almond Focaccia with Rosemary
This classic Italian bread gets a just-sweet-enough upgrade in this recipe, perfect for your next get-together.
Mozzarella, Ham, and Basil Panini
A few special ingredients--like freshly baked ciabatta bread or imported Dijon mustard--make a quick, simple sandwich seem like a treat.
Sautéed Sausage and Grapes with Broccoli Rabe
This is a classic Italian combo—grapes and sausage—paired with pleasantly bitter broccoli rabe to balance the sweetness.
Tuscan Pork Kebabs
Coming in at under 200 calories per serving, these colorful grilled pork kebabs are perfect for a light picnic on the patio. Sautéed chard makes a simple side.
These breadsticks turn any soup or salad into a great lunch. Brush the dough with oil, coat with the cheesy seasoning blend, cut into thin strips, and bake until browned and crisp. For best results, bake only one sheet at a time.
Mushroom-Brown Rice Risotto
Short-grain brown rice gets a whole pound of fresh mushrooms and a shower of chopped green beans in this vegetarian risotto. If the rice isn't tender enough after you've stirred in all the porcini liquid, add water and continue cooking and stirring until it's done.
Sautéed Halibut with Romesco Sauce
Highlight the sweet and subtle flavor of halibut with a smoky homemade romesco sauce.
Summer Vegetable Frittata
Garden-fresh summer vegetables will make this frittata a special breakfast or brunch treat.
Fire-Seared Antipasto Platter
More of a game plan than a set recipe, this dish lends itself to an assortment of ingredients you may have on hand. For example, if you can't find capocollo—cured sausage similar to salami—substitute salami or pepperoni. Serve the platter while vegetables are warm or at room temperature.
Pasta with Asparagus, Pancetta, and Pine Nuts
Pasta is the perfect weeknight meal. Your family will love the comforting flavors, and you'll love that it's surprisingly low in calories.
Potato and Greens Torta
A potato ricer gives the torta the most desirable texture; they're inexpensive (as little as $10) and produce the creamiest mashed potatoes.
Farfalle with Lamb Ragu, Ricotta, and Mint
A classic flavor combination, lamb and mint meet bow-tie pasta for a hearty weeknight meal.
Orange rind, orange juice, sweet cherries, and merlot are sweetened with a simple syrup and then frozen to make this Cherry-Merlot Granita.
Sausage, Tomato, and Arugula Fettuccine
Mix up your normal pasta routine with this flavor-packed dish that's perfect for summertime.
Zucchini, Cherry Tomato, and Fresh Ricotta Pasta
Our quick ricotta method is inexpensive and easy, and truly makes this weeknight pasta dish shine.
Garden Alfredo with Chicken
Fresh vegetables shine in this super creamy pasta recipe for Garden Alfredo with Chicken.
Our version of this quick dessert uses shaved bittersweet chocolate for added richness. Look for amaretti cookies at specialty or gourmet markets; they have a distinct almond-amaretto flavor and crunchy texture that make this dish memorable. In a pinch, you can substitute crumbled almond biscotti.
Borlotti beans, bacon, and fennel add delicious flavor to this classic Italian soup.
Tuscan-Style New York Strip with Arugula-Artichoke Salad
Based on the classic bistecca Fiorentina—grilled porterhouse—this dish uses sirloin strip steaks, which are leaner (and, because they're boneless, a little easier to grill) than porterhouse. Lemon juice is a traditional accent in the dish, meant to cut the richness of the meat. Use a mandoline to slice the artichokes thinly and evenly.
Simple Lobster Risotto
Simmering the shells infuses the broth with lobster flavor and adds elegance to this simple risotto dish.