10 Essential Italian Recipes

While there are a million reasons to love Italian food, we appreciate the traditional recipes with fresh ingredients that bring people together. If you’re trying to expand your culinary skills, give some of the recipes from this list a try– they are full of rich flavors and fresh ingredients. If you love Italian food as much as we do, then these 10 recipes are essential.

1. Spaghetti Carbonara
If you love Italian food you’re sure to have come across dish before. Spaghetti Carbonara is a relatively simple dish to prepare. Essentially, it’s just mixture of pasta, cheese, eggs, and some kind of cured pork, which are all ingredients that tend to be commonly found in your kitchen at home. It’s traditionally prepared with Guanciale, but Pancetta or thinly-cut bacon is commonly used as well. In fact, this recipe is one that can be easily personalized for you or those you’re cooking for. No matter how you decide to prepare it you’ll still end up with a rich, creamy spaghetti that never disappoints.

2. Pasta Primavera
Spring is just around the corner, so this particular recipe incorporates some of our favorites things about the season, fresh veggies! Pasta primavera, like a lot of Italian recipes, can be personalized and prepared in any number of ways. We’ve tailored this version to include fresh garden vegetables, a little olive oil, some fresh lime juice, and a dash of salt and pepper for taste. If that sounds like a recipe light on calories, but loaded with flavor, that’s because it is! So no need to feel guilty if you go back for another serving, or two…

3. Spaghetti Bolognese
Bolognese Sauce has been a staple among Italian dishes for countless generations. There’s something deeply satisfying about making dishes from scratch, and this Spaghetti Bolognese recipe is intended to help you do just that. Serve your sauce over a freshly cooked pile of spaghetti, top with cheese and enjoy!

Shakshouka

4. Italian Shakshouka
Get ready for the easiest freaking meal of your life, Paleo (ish) Italian Shakshouka! Shakshouka is a dish that originates from Mediterranean and Middle Eastern regions. It’s basically eggs poached in some type of tomato sauce. AKA delicious, easy, and filling both emotionally and physically!

5. Gnocchi
We all know Italy has a lot to offer in terms of cuisine. When it comes to Italian comfort foods though, there’s a certain potato based dish that always comes to mind. Gnocchi is easily one of the most popular types of Italian recipes we have today. These ridged pillows of doughy perfection can be personalized in any number of ways, but the most common recipe is for potato gnocchi. In fact, it’s so popular in Italy that the Trattorias in Rome actually serve it up specially for “Gnocchi Thursdays”. So, to celebrate this dish we wanted to share a simple Italian recipe for homemade potato gnocchi.

6. Parmigiana
This classic dish is made extra crispy by subbing Panko for regular bread crumbs, and given a fiber boost when paired with whole-wheat pasta. Switching out some of the eggplant for zucchini gives the dish some surprising flavor combinations as well. This perfect version of a classic Italian meatless dinner, Parmigiana, will quickly become a family favorite. Add a glass of vino for a Sicilian-style date night or a scoop of gelato for a kid-friendly Italian night.

7. Risotto
We know Italy is generally regarded as the pasta capital of the world and for good reason. Yet, there’s another classic dish synonymous with Italian cuisine and wildly popular throughout all parts of Italy ~ Risotto! This type of traditional Italian rice dish is often served as an entree, and like many other Italian recipes, can be prepared or personalized in any number of ways. However, to make real risotto you’ll need the right type of rice. Italians generally use short-grain, starchy rice varieties like Carnaroli, Arborio, or Vialone Nano. These types of rice are plump and starchy, which gives this dish that lovely creaminess we all expect a great risotto to have, so make sure to have the right kind when preparing yours.

Chicken Cacciatora

8. Chicken Cacciatore
If there was ever an Italian recipe made to warm you up on a cold day, Chicken Cacciatora is it! Tender braised chicken marinated in authentic Italian pasta sauce along with different herbs and spices. If you’ve been looking for a new recipe to combat the cold weather, give Chicken Cacciatora a try. It’s simple to make, easy to personalize, and usually gone within the first pass around the dinner table…

9. Lasagna
When you think of “Italian food”, chances are lasagna is one of the first things that comes to mind. This dish can be prepared in any number of ways, but the classic Italian version is generally considered to be a lasagna with meat sauce. This recipe follows that classic style, while incorporating a “classic” of our own– Pasta Jay’s Classic Marinara Sauce.

10. Pizza Margherita
Margherita pizza has become a popular recipe served throughout Italy over the years. That popularity has carried beyond just Italy, as you can pretty much find an option for a Margherita pizza on the menu in almost any Italian restaurant nowadays. This particular Italian recipe utilizes fresh basil, mozzarella, and tomatoes as the core ingredients. There’s a simple explanation for this, as these ingredients purposefully reflect the national colors of Italy. Originally, this pizza was created in honor of Queen Margherita of Savoy, by a famous Italian pizzamaker named Raffaele Esposito. So enjoy a pizza that’s quite literally fit for a queen!

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