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18 Best Italian Recipes

Check out some of our very favorite Italian recipes, including authentic Old-World recipes and those inspired by Italian-American cooking. You'll see many familiar favorites here -- and likely find some new Italian treasures to try, as well. These are main dish Italian recipes; for side dishes, check out our Italian side dish collection.

1. Rustic Marinara Sauce

We'll start with a traditional, rustic tomato sauce. "I've been perfecting this recipe for over 10 years," says NMP. "Melting just a little cheese in the sauce adds great richness without overwhelming the tomatoes. And it's easy to keep these ingredients stocked in the house! Makes for amazing leftovers!"

Rustic Marinara Sauce

Photo by KGora

2. Saltimbocca di Pollo alla Romana (Prosciutto-Stuffed Chicken Breast Roulades)

"Known as Saltimbocca alla Romana, these chicken breasts are a tasty second course, very easy to make, just a few ingredients are necessary but still delicious!" says Aldo.

Saltimbocca di Pollo alla Romana (Prosciutto-Stuffed Chicken Breast Roulades)

Photo by Kim's Cooking Now

3. Authentic Tortellini Soup

This simple soup with cheese tortellini, Italian sausage, and chopped fresh spinach is quick-and-easy to prepare. "This soup only takes 30 minutes and is awesome on a cold night," says Stephanie.

Authentic Tortellini Soup

Photo by Linda T

4. Baked Ziti with Sausage

Spaghetti sauce, cheese, and sausage is baked until bubbly in this hearty ziti. "This is quite possibly the one thing that I am constantly asked to make," says Ashley. "This is a ziti with a lot of flavor."

Baked Ziti with Sausage

Photo by Cooking Monster Bryan

5. Gnocchi with Tomato Sauce and Mozzarella

"Known as 'gnocchi alla sorrentina,' this classic Italian pasta dish that uses simple ingredients and tastes delicious," says saretta. "Use homemade or store-bought gnocchi."

Gnocchi with Tomato Sauce and Mozzarella

Photo by Allrecipes

6. Spaghetti alla Carbonara: the Traditional Italian Recipe

"This dish was created in the Lazio region (the area around Rome) in the middle of the 20th century, after World War II," says ivan zeta. "We don't use cream, milk, garlic, onions or other strange ingredients; we use only guanciale, eggs, pecorino cheese, and lots of black pepper (carbonaro is the Italian for coal miner). This isn't the Italian-American version, it's the real, creamy carbonara and it comes right from Italy, where I live. Buon appetito."

Spaghetti alla Carbonara: the Traditional Italian Recipe

Photo by Buckwheat Queen

7. Bistecca alla Fiorentina (Tuscan Porterhouse)

"This flagship Tuscan steak is made from the region's Chianina breed of cattle which are prized for their tenderness and flavor," says eat!. "In typical Italian style, simplicity rules the day; little more than olive oil, rosemary, and salt are needed to highlight the rich flavor of the grilled meat. With Italian food, freshness and quality are top priority, so I use nothing less than choice porterhouse, and much prefer prime!"

Bistecca alla Fiorentina (Tuscan Porterhouse)

Photo by hungryallweighs

8. Cacio e Pepe Lasagna

"Fast, fresh individually portioned lasagna bowls that please the stomach every time," says Sahara B. "I serve this with a small garden side salad and baked asparagus, but it easily could be a meal by itself."

Cacio e Pepe Lasagna

Photo by Buckwheat Queen

9. Pork Saltimbocca

"In Italy, 'saltimbocca' means 'jumps in the mouth,'" says Chef John. "This tender, juicy and delicious pork tenderloin is finished with a rich meaty sauce and will certainly please your palate."

Pork Saltimbocca

Photo by Chef John

10. Italian Baked Eggplant with Parmesan (Parmigiana di Melanzane)

"Eggplant parmigiana or eggplant Parmesan is one of the most popular and iconic vegetarian Italian dishes and this recipe is straight from Italy," says Beatrice. "Use ripe eggplant without seeds and salt them for 1 hour to remove the bitterness."

11. Pork Agrodolce

"Agrodolce, a generic Italian term for any type of sweet and sour condiment, really shines when used for braising chunks of succulent pork shoulder," says Chef John. "This soul-warming comfort food is amazing served on rice, pasta, polenta, or, as seen here, a big pile of ricotta mashed potatoes. I'm not sure if Italians barbecue like we do here in the States, but the sauce very much reminded me of something we'd brush on a rack of ribs while sipping a cold beer."

Pork Agrodolce

Photo by Chef John

12. Spaghetti Alla Carbonara Tradizionali

"Unlike a lot of recipes out there for spaghetti carbonara, this is the true Italian recipe from an Italian!" says Andry008. "You can't get more authentic than this recipe! Top with extra Pecorino-Romano cheese, salt, and pepper. Note there's no cream, just eggs, and Pecorino Romano cheese is used, not Parmesan."

Spaghetti Alla Carbonara Tradizionali

Photo by Buckwheat Queen

13. Ossobuco alla Milanese

"Ossobuco is one of the signature dishes of Milanese cuisine," says clara. "Veal shanks are cut crosswise to reveal the marrow, a cut often just referred to as 'ossobucco'. The dish is finished with a gremolata, which is a mix of chopped parsley and lemon zest. In Milan, ossobucco is typically served with a saffron risotto."

Ossobuco alla Milanese

Photo by debbie eckstein

14. Pasta Fazool (Pasta e Fagioli)

"This classic Italian-American comfort food works with any kind of sausage, but I like the fennel and anise flavors of sweet Italian sausage with the beans--it's a hearty soup that's fast and easy to put together," says Chef John.

Pasta Fazool (Pasta e Fagioli)

Photo by Chef John

15. Beefy Baked Ravioli

"This recipe is a hit with my husband and everyone else I've given the recipe to," says Angie Shirk Williams. "It's very easy and satisfies that Italian craving."

Beefy Baked Ravioli

Photo by CandiceSteele

16. Bucatini All'Amatriciana

A simple tomato sauce with crispy guanciale is tossed with bucatini pasta for a quick, delicious, and authentic Italian dish for two. "This pasta dish is my signature dish, says Chef Carlo Apolloni. "I really enjoy making this pasta, especially with the right ingredients like guanciale. Top with freshly grated Parmesan cheese."

Bucatini All'Amatriciana

Photo by Buckwheat Queen

17. Tuscan Fish Stew

"I spent a few days in Florence about 30 years ago, and while I don't remember much, I do recall my surprise at how delicious the Tuscan fish stew was," says Chef John. "What I found so interesting was how herbs like oregano, sage, and rosemary, which I'd only associated with meat, were also used with seafood. Also, FYI just in case any old-school Tuscans are coming over: I hear that for this to qualify as an official Italian fish stew you need use at least 5 different types of seafood, which is both insane and adorable. Serve with crusty bread."

Tuscan Fish Stew

Photo by Chef John

18. Shrimp Scampi with Pasta

"Well-rounded seafood and pasta dish," says JustJen. "Good with any pasta; angel hair is less filling."

Shrimp Scampi with Pasta

Photo by naples34102

Check out our collection of Italian Recipes.


Carl Hanson

About Carl Hanson

Carl will eat that. Share with him @CarlNo9 on Twitter.