74 Italian Food Favorites to Make at Home

There's more to Italian cuisine than just pizza and pasta. Travel to the varied regions of Italy with this round-up of essential Italian food you can make at home. You'll find all the classic dishes you know and love — like minestrone and chicken Parmesan — plus new recipes you can add to your repertoire.

Arancini

"Lovely use for an excess of leftover rice! I happened to have basmati, and that worked nicely."

-La Dilettante

Pizza Margherita

Modeled after the Italian flag with its green basil, white cheese and red sauce, the pizza Margherita is a Neapolitan specialty, cooked in a scorching oven. This dough requires nearly no work, and the sauce is hardly more complicated than blanching some tomatoes.

Cacio e Pepe

Pasta bathed in creamy, buttery Parmigiano cheese and pepper? What's not to love? Make sure to reserve a bit of the pasta water that you can mix into the final product; this will give the sauce a smoother, more velvety texture.

Branzino in Salsa Piccante

"This was delicious and so flavorful! Will make this again and again. Make sure you get the right olives!"

-Go2yourdestiny

Tortoni

This simple take on the Biscuit Tortoni features ready-made ice cream mixed with coconut macaroons, chocolate chips and cherries, topped with fudge sauce and nuts.

Beef Braciole

"I have made this several times and we love it! After browning, I threw them into the Crock Pot and let them simmer for 4 hours. They were so tender that they cut with a fork."

-Jamie in North Caro

Chicken Parmigiana

"Oh heck yes. I'm currently operating without an oven, and this stovetop method was not only ridiculously easy but absolutely delicious, particularly when paired with a fine bottle of Cabernet."

-amandaflourie

Fresh Pasta

"I use three or four whole eggs, instead of the two eggs & the six yolks! We have been making egg noodles since I was a kid—and my mother and grandmother before us! It is so good!"

-Jill C.

Risotto al Pomodoro

"Perfect recipe! So much fun to use my garden tomatoes and basil for this. Perfect for summertime."

-NewEnglandCook

Classic Lasagna

"This recipe was great, as were the proportions of seasonings. I had to add more cheese and I used some Italian sausage with the ground beef. Excellent!"

-Kims Table

Arancini

"Lovely use for an excess of leftover rice! I happened to have basmati, and that worked nicely."

-La Dilettante

Pasta e Fagioli with Sausage

Pasta e Fagioli (literally "pasta and beans," though Italian Americans and fans of Dean Martin may know it as pasta "fazool") is similar to minestrone but can be made however the cook wants. This recipe, with its thicker broth, calls for Italian sausage.

Veal Milanese

This dish from Milan might be simple, but it is an Italian cuisine classic and can be expanded upon by adding different sauces and sides.

Nanna's Gnocchi

"This is the definitive way to make gnocchi. I used to sit on my grandmother's lap while she taught me to roll the dough. The best way to ensure light gnocchi is to dry-cook the potatoes. Then either rice them or pass them through a food mill. Regular mashing leaves too many lumps, which make the dough difficult to roll."

-awilliams234

Spaghetti alla Carbonara

This Roman pasta dish is made by simply mixing hot spaghetti with a mixture of eggs, pancetta and parmesan or pecorino. The heat of the pasta cooks the egg, leaving you with a beautifully creamy sauce. Add plenty of cracked black pepper on top and you'll never want to eat anything else.

Mini Meatball Minestrone

Minestrone is representative of Italy's traditional "cucina povera" (poor cooking), but in the modern era you can always add some bounty of your choosing. Food.com users love the meatballs in this recipe, which can be made from beef, pork and beef, or even from turkey!

Gelato con Olio e Sale

"It is similar to that savory bread-and-olive-oil taste, but colder. Slightly bitter on the front, fruity and nutty. Then smooth and salty where it counts. It has a sweet finish on the back end. I might add rosemary next time to be cheeky."

-College Girl

Taralli Baresi

"Taralli Baresi is a biscotti that was introduced many centuries ago in the Puglia region of Italy. Taralli Baresi are sometimes referred to as "Italian pretzels" by non-Italians because of their crunchy texture and shape."

-Phil Franco

Ragù alla Salsiccia

A hefty dose of red wine and a decent shake of red pepper flakes gives this sausage ragù some serious oomph.

Buridda (Ligurian Fish Stew)

"Like everywhere else in Italy, Liguria has its local food traditions—simple but packed with flavor. Buridda, a traditional Ligurian specialty, is a preparation of fresh fish, gently stewed in an aromatic tomato sauce and flavored with garlic, herbs, carrots, onion and olive oil. It is claimed to be the region's tastiest dish."

-NcMysteryShopper

Torrone

Soft, hazelnut-studded nougat sandwiched between thin pieces of wafer paper... This southern Italian treat is usually consumed around the Christmas season, but that doesn't mean you can't whip some up whenever the sweet tooth starts its cravings.

Linguine alle Vongole (Linguine with Clam Sauce)

"I made this for a special romantic dinner for me and my husband. Very delicious and surprisingly easy to make. The pepper flakes were an added twist. We both thought we were dining in a classy restaurant."

-bella214

Risotto Ai Frutti di Mare

The beauty of this seafood risotto is that you can add all your favorites from the sea—and leave out the ones you don't like. From squid and shrimp to clams and mussels, customize to your preferences.

Sausage & Pepperoni Calzone

The calzone is everything you love about a pizza wrapped up in a convenient package. In Italy, they are sometimes sold at counters and eaten on-the-go.

Limoncello

When peeling the lemons for this powerful and sweet liqueur, make sure you only remove the outermost layer. The white pith can cause the limoncello to take on a bitter flavor.

Minestrone

Pro Tip: Cook the pasta separately and add it to bowls of this veggie-heavy soup as desired. This will prevent the pasta from becoming soggy, or from overcooking in the soup.

Sfogliatelle

Sometimes called a "lobster tail" in English, this flaky pastry can be made with a variety of fillings—like lemon ricotta custard. It has its roots in Campania.

Tiramisu

You could have coffee and a cookie, or you could take coffee, cookies, cream, chocolate and some Marsala and make a whole dessert out of it.

Porchetta

A big piece of skin-on pork is stuffed with herbs and roasted for hours, before being sliced up and shared for a feast. Make sure the skin is extra-crispy; everybody knows that's the best part of porchetta.

Chicken Piccata

"I don't find it too tart from the lemon juice at all; it has the zippy flavor I expect from piccata. I am more used to piccata flattened into scallopini, but not pounding it out is fine too. I usually serve this on a bed of angel hair pasta with extra sauce tossed into the noodles."

-PalatablePastime

Baccalà Soup

Baccalà (salt cod) has been an influential part of European cuisine since the discovery of massive fish stocks in the Americas. In southern Italian cuisine, it is particularly important for the "Feast of the Seven Fishes." It must be washed and re-hydrated before it is used.

Ragù Napoletano

Unlike the ground beef in ragù bolognese, this sauce features whole pieces of steak. Slow-simmered in a mixture of soffritto (onions, carrots and celery) and tomatoes, this is the grandfather of what you might know as "Sunday gravy."

Ravioli with 4 Filling Options

"I am Italian and my Nonna used water like this recipe does, to bring the dough together. It creates more of a chew as opposed to adding another egg and having it more like an eggy noodle texture."

-Katrina K.

Chicken Cacciatore

"Cacciatore" means hunter in Italian, so it makes sense that this dish is a meaty wonder. With onions, garlic, peppers and olives in a tomato sauce, it's perfect served on its own or with some pasta.

Fettuccine Alfredo

While the original fettuccine Alfredo (invented by the Roman restauranteur Alfredo di Lelio in the late 19th century) was prepared tableside with nothing but butter and Parmigiano, most modern recipes (like this one) call for cream, too.

Baccalà Fritto

"Mangia! My Italian family makes a variation of this on Christmas Eve. Soak the dried, salted fish in cold water for at least 24 hours, changing water three or four times."

-Pamme

Pasta Boscaiola

Boscaiolo means lumberjack in Italian, and when you spend a lot of time in the woods chopping down trees, you're bound to stumble upon some mushrooms eventually. This pasta can be customized with any of the mycological treasures you might find in the market—including button, porcini and oyster mushrooms.

Anisette Cookies

Cookies studded with anise liqueur (or extract) make for a wonderful treat—often around the holidays. This recipe opts for a cinnamon and sugar topping, though you can also glaze with a simple icing then decorate with rainbow sprinkles.

Chicken Saltimbocca

You take the chicken (or veal), you wrap it up in some salty prosciutto with some sage wedged in between and presto! You've got yourself some saltimbocca.

Ragù alla Bolognese

"A very good and authentic bolognese. It is amazing how many bolognese recipes are out there without the milk. That is not bolognese.... that is meat sauce. This has the milk and it makes such a difference!"

-LizP5885

Rosemary & Garlic Focaccia

"The first time I made this it stuck terribly to my pan. I've made it two more times, and parchment paper made all the difference. I heated my olive oil, garlic, rosemary and a bit of salt in the microwave oven, and brushed the infused oil on top, but avoided placing the bits of garlic, for fear of burning them."

-juliadjulie

Ciabatta (Italian Slipper Bread)

It may feel like ciabatta bread is as old as time, but did you know that it was actually invented in the early 1980's as an Italian answer to the baguette? Cut your loaf in half and make a sandwich, or just dip it in high-quality oil.

Chicken Agrodolce

"Chicken breasts are briefly sauteed, then simmered in a sauce of honey, balsamic vinegar, wine, orange and lemon juice. Toss in a few toasted pignoli, and you've got a quick and delicious dinner with risotto or capellini."

-EdsGirlAngie

Cioppino (Fish Stew)

Similar to the French bouillabaisse, this fish stew—Italian by way of San Francisco—is traditionally made with whatever seafood is available on the docks. In this case, that means scallops, clams, shrimp, cod, and whatever else you're interested in.

Bruschetta with Pesto & Tomatoes

"A quick, light, summery lunch, snack or starter. A favorite brunch bite for us."

-Zurie

Pesto

This Genoese specialty is traditionally made by hand-chopping garlic, pine nuts, basil and Parmigiano, then submerging it in spicy, local olive oil. To save time, however, a blender is your best friend when it comes to this pesto recipe.

Penne all'Arrabbiata

Like it hot? Arrabbiata (literally "angry") sauce is made with tomatoes and garlic, but gets its name from a healthy dose of dried red peppers. Feel free to adjust depending on your preferred level of spiciness.

Mushroom Risotto

"The recipe makes restaurant-grade risotto! It was my first time cooking a mushroom risotto and I was so glad I made this one, the texture, flavors and aroma were wonderful."

-Chef floWer

Traditional Veal Osso Buco

Where's the red sauce? While you may know osso buco with tomatoes, the original way to prepare the dish is to cook it low and slow in white wine, and then top it with gremolata—an herbed-up mixture of garlic, parsley and lemon zest.

Cannoli

"Creamy and delicious, perfect topped with chocolate sprinkles and powdered sugar. Next time I want to brighten the flavor with a touch of lemon zest."

-Hadice

Almond Panna Cotta with Cherry Compote

Cream is cooked with gelatin and then left in molds to set in different shapes. It is often served with fruit-flavored accompaniments; this recipe features a compote of Bing cherries with a bit of balsamic vinegar that adds a nice zing to the topping.

Traditional Polenta

The key to this corn staple is to add the cornmeal to the boiling water slowly while mixing with a spoon. This prevents the corn from clumping together.

Panzanella Salad

This traditional Italian salad is made using day-old bread mixed with tomatoes, capers, anchovies, other fresh vegetables and a dash of vinegar.

Stracciatella

Like Chinese egg drop soup, stracciatella is made by drizzling an egg mixture into hot broth. This recipe also features orzo and spinach in the chicken-based broth.

Goulash Triestino

"This was wonderful! I served it over whole wheat noodles and it was enjoyed by all. The Hungarian paprika makes such a difference! This would be very good over mashed potatoes as well."

-CheSara

Eggplant Caponata

"This stuff is delicious! I like to serve it room temperature on toasted baguette slices—though it is just as good warm as a side dish or mixed into pasta. I do think it gets better and more complex with time."

-MacChef

Biscotti

What makes these biscuits—or cookies—unique is the fact that they are baked twice to create a dry dessert with a crunchy texture. In Italy, biscotti are frequently served with vin santo—a dessert wine made from desiccated grapes.

Blackberry Gelato

What makes gelato different from regular ice cream? Less incorporated air, less fat and a whole lot more flavor.

Osso Buco in Tomato Sauce

"Yes, this is a yummy recipe! I could not find veal, so I used lamb shanks. A delicious, comforting and heartily recommended dish!"

-Zurie

Bistecca alla Fiorentina

This simple grilled steak is an essential in Tuscany. While it is best cooked over a wood-fired grill, it is not necessary. The fresh rosemary (and sometimes sage) add a wonderful herbaceousness to the final product.

Peperonata

"As the name implies, its dominant ingredient is sweet, colorful bell peppers. The flavors become wonderfully complex after simmering with onions, tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, herbs and a hint of heat from a pinch of red pepper flakes. It’s finished either with red wine in northern Italy or wine vinegar in the south."

-Peter Steriti

Basil & Lime Granita

"Loved this; it is mouth-puckering good! Just the right amount of yummy refreshing coolness needed for a hot summer day. The basil adds a nice herbed flavor."

-teresas

Panettone

A sweet dessert loaf from Milan, the panettone is often consumed in December around the holiday season. It's speckled with dried, candied fruits and contains a splash of rum.

Fried Calamari

"Good recipe, but you should avoid salting the bread crumbs before frying. Salt breaks down the oil and much of it will end up being washed off by the oil. It's best to salt immediately after frying."

-shootermcgavin

Chocolate Gelato

"Amazing recipe. I have always dreaded making ganache—for no particular reason except the fear of failure. After 14 years I, at last, mustered the courage to make some, and I chose this recipe. It was a HUGE success and a great addition to my favorite recipes."

-yawanika

Risi e Bisi

Is it a soup? Is it a risotto? Do you eat it with a spoon? A fork? The jury is still out on this Venetian dish, but one thing is for sure: Green peas and crispy pancetta make a pretty great combo.

Muffuletta (Sesame Bread)

You're probably familiar with the muffuletta sandwich served in New Orleans, which is jammed with deli meats, sliced cheeses and chopped olives. Turns out the sandwich gets its name from the bread—a flat, light, yeasty loaf topped with sesame seeds brought to the region by Sicilian immigrants.

Semifreddo

"This was great. The amaretto gave the cookie almost a marzipan flavor. I love chocolate and almonds, so I melted some semi-sweet chocolate and spread it on the cookie. I used finely-chopped almonds, plus chocolate and candied sprinkles to roll the semifreddo in."

-Marlitt

Bucatini all'Amatriciana

"I have made this for dinner twice so far, and the second time it tasted even better. Cheesy and smoky works so well together in a rich tomato sauce!"

-Kumquat the Cats fr

Mediterranean Calamari

Don't want to fry your squid? Try this slightly spicy, wine-infused tomato sauce. Capers add a bit of the salty umami that you crave.

Pork or Chicken Scaloppine in Lemon Cream Sauce

"What a wonderful recipe! It brought back a lot of memories of family dinners from my childhood. I had forgotten how good fried pork chops really are."

-Realtor by day

Panzanella Salad with Olives

"This is very good. I love the crunch of the toasted French bread. Great flavors."

-EPC6816

Pizzelle

These wafer-thin cookies are flavored with anise and made using a special waffle iron. You can form them into cannoli shapes or simply eat them with a dusting of powdered sugar.

Caprese Salad

"Big, fresh, delicious basil leaves with vine-ripe tomatoes and fresh mozzarella... with freshly-ground, cracked pepper... Ahhh, a delight for the tastebuds!"

-Mimi Bobeck

Struffoli

Struffoli are basically small balls of fried dough coated in honey. These ones have a lightly caramelized flavor that comes from the addition of bourbon or rye whiskey.

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