Easy Italian recipes you need to know how to make, from crusty focaccia to the best meatballs you’ll ever taste!
Learn how to make these 11 Italian recipes and you’ll be set for life! Italian food has always been a favorite in the US, and it’s had an indelible impact on our food tastes, especially if you grew up in the Northeast, like I did. Italian food runs in our veins, and there’s nothing more comforting to me than a slice of focaccia or a plate of sausage and peppers.
Italian pantry essentials
When you have these essentials in the cupboard, a good meal is never very far away. Hopefully you’ve got garlic, basil, lemons, and a chunk of real Parm in the kitchen, too.
- extra virgin olive oil
- balsamic vinegar
- pine nuts
- red pepper flakes
- arborio rice
- dried beans
- canned tomatoes and tomato paste
Soup is an integral part of the healthy Mediterranean diet, and the Italians are masters at making soups that are satisfying enough to make a meal. If you’re cooking on a budget, this classic Italian soup recipe will be your best friend.
Focaccia was the first bread I learned to make and it remains one of my favorites. It’s used for snacking, sandwiches, even breakfast in Italy. Different toppings like herbs or veggies give this basic Italian bread recipe many personalities.
Pesto is in a class by itself, it might be Italy’s greatest culinary gift to the world. My mouth waters just thinking about it. I suggest starting with the original pesto alla Genovese, and then adjusting it to your taste. I love mine spicy!
Caprese is less of a recipe and more of a state of mind. It’s knowing that the freshest, best ingredients need nothing more than a chop and a toss. When fabulous full sized tomatoes are out of season, I make this classic Italian tomato salad recipe with cherry tomatoes.
When you’re ready to advance to next level Italian food, fresh pasta is waiting for you. This recipe requires no special pasta machine ~ just a rolling pin and a floured surface.
One of the often forgotten aspects of Italian cuisine is all that wonderful citrus. Oranges and lemons feature in so many different recipes but citrus cakes are some of my favorites.
Carbonara is a classic Italian pasta dish that originated in Rome. It is a simple yet flavorful dish made with a few key ingredients: pasta, eggs, pancetta or guanciale (Italian cured pork jowl), Parmesan cheese, and black pepper.
If you’re going to make meatballs, I highly recommend you start with the best. These take a little bit of time, but they are transcendent. My meatballs al forno is an authentic Italian recipe from Mozza restaurant in Los Angeles.
Risotto is magical and something everybody needs to learn how to make. Once you do, I suggest you try my Instant Pot risotto. I’ll go out on a limb and swear it’s just as good as the best risotto I’ve ever eaten, but it takes a fraction of the time.
Frittatas are nutritious, budget friendly versatile meals that everybody loves ~ Thank you Italy!