A table laid out with Italian dishes somehow always reminds of a sunny afternoon and a gathering of friends and family. And Italian dishes certainly go much beyond the pasta and pizza that we get in stores. Italian dishes are amongst the most popular dishes in the world and are extremely regional. For example, the creamy Risotto hails from Milan, Carbonara from Rome, Pizza is from Naples, and Strudel is from Trentino-Alto Adige.
Italian cuisine is more about the ingredients and their quality and variety than about the preparation. Italian cuisine uses a lot of fresh tomatoes, Parmesan, mushrooms, olives, etc. This is what makes Italian dishes have the ‘fifth’ taste known as umami, incomparable to any cuisine in the world. Their taste is enhanced even more by the generous use of olive oil and fresh herbs like bay leaves, basil, parsley, rosemary, oregano, etc.
Italian dishes may look as if they need a lot of hard work but that’s not really true. Italian recipes are made by using six to eight basic ingredients, herbs, and oils and are pretty easy to make at home.
We have rounded up some of the best Italian recipes for you to bring these fresh European flavours to your kitchen!
Before you start, here are some tips for making delicious food Italian way:
- Be it vegetables or herbs, use only the freshest ingredients for Italian cuisine.
- Choose the right olive oil to make your Italian dishes more flavourful. For sautéed and baked Italian dishes, virgin olive oil works the best and for salads, you should work with extra virgin olive oil. For intensely cooked food Italian pomace oil is the best.
- Don’t use too much pasta. Your Italian pasta dishes must have more flavours from the oil, vegetables, and herbs rather than pasta itself.
- Make sweet Italian dishes and desserts with fresh fruits instead of heavy creams and loads of sugars.
Pasta Arrabbiata Chicken: This is one of the heartiest food Italians love! Its hot flavours, accentuated by lots of garlic and the sweetness of red wine, make this amongst the most loved Italian food recipes.
- Heat olive oil in a pan and add boneless and skinless chicken breast pieces. Cook until the chicken turns brown. Add onions and cook more till they soften. Stir in garlic and red pepper flakes.
- Add to this, Marinara sauce, red wine, chicken broth, fresh oregano & basil, grated Parmesan, salt, and pepper.
- Bring this to a boil and cook for 15-20 minutes.
- Serve hot topped with more Parmesan, basil, and oregano.
Pumpkin Risotto: This hearty and flavourful Italian rice-based recipe is super easy and fun to make. It is one of the best Italian veg dishes loved by children and adults alike.
- Heat butter and olive oil in a pan and cook onions and garlic till they turn soft and exude flavours.
- Add cooked rice to this and cook for a couple of minutes more.
- Add diced pumpkin and mushrooms and cook for 4-5 minutes.
- Add chicken or vegetable stock and simmer till the liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender.
- Stir in fresh parsley, freshly ground black pepper, and salt.
- Serve immediately.
Cauliflower Crust Pizza: This is one of the most-loved Italian veg dishes that is packed with the goodness of fresh vegetables. Not just this, this is one of the tastiest Italian dishes that is gluten and grain-free.
- Thaw frozen cauliflower completely. Transfer this to a thin dishtowel and squeeze all the excess moisture. Repeat this step as many times as required to get the perfect pizza base.
- In a bowl, mix this cauliflower ‘rice’, eggs, goat cheese, oregano, and salt. Mix this well.
- Spread out this dough on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Bake for 30-35 minutes until the crust is completely dry and golden.
- Flip over to bake on both sides.
- Now add the topping of chopped vegetables, cheese, and sauce, and bake for 5-10 minutes more till the cheese melts.
- Slice and serve warm.
Bruschetta: This is an all-time favourite Italian starter and tops the Italian food menu charts! This is one of those Italian dishes that even children can make easily.
- Cut country bread into slices.
- Cut a garlic clove and rub it on the bread slices and top it with a little olive oil.
- Roast in the oven for 6-7 minutes.
- For the mushroom topping, heat butter, olive oil, fresh garlic, thyme, and mix well. Add chopped mushroom, chillies, salt, and pepper and cook well.
- For the tomato topping, add chopped tomatoes, basil, salt, olive oil, and pepper and mix well.
- Place the toasted bread slices and generously top up with the two sauces.
- Add grated Parmesan on top and serve warm.
Penne Aglio E Olio: This is one of the most delicious Italian pasta recipes that’s loved the world over. It is a classic Italian pasta dish that’s filling and healthy too.
- Boil penne pasta in salted water, drain and leave to cool.
- In a pan, heat olive oil and add chopped garlic. Sauté well.
- Add the pasta to this and toss lightly. Add salt and Italian seasoning and cook well.
- Serve hot garnished with grated Parmesan.
Whole Wheat Garlic Bread: One of the most delicious Italian dishes, this garlic bread is perfectly toasted, flavourful, and goes well with a cup of espresso.
- Mix fresh garlic, parsley, and kosher salt.
- Brush this mixture on slices of baguettes and bake for 12-15 minutes.
- Bake till the baguettes turn golden brown.
- Serve warm topped with grated Parmesan.
Chicken Cacciatore: This is one of those classic Italian chicken recipes that are easy to make at home and loved by everyone. This is one of those Italian dishes when cooked, fill your house with a comforting fragrance of olive oil and garlic.
- Season boneless and skinless chicken thighs with salt and pepper.
- Heat olive oil in a heavy pan and sear chicken on both sides for 3-4 minutes. Remove from the pan and keep aside.
- Add more oil to this pan and sauté onions until they turn translucent. Add garlic to this and cook until you get the fragrance.
- Add yellow and red bell peppers, carrots, mushrooms, and herbs like fresh parsley, basil, dried oregano, and red pepper flakes. Cook for 5-6 minutes until the vegetables are soft.
- Pour in red wine and cook till the wine is reduced.
- Add crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, chilli flakes, salt, and pepper. Add the roasted chicken pieces to this and continue to cook.
- Add olives and cook for 10 more minutes.
- Serve garnished with fresh parsley and grated cheese.
Spaghetti: One of the best Italian pasta recipes, this is one of those dishes that are warm and comforting. This is an all-time favourite that tops the Italian food menu charts.
- Combine garlic cloves and olive in a pan along with pepper and salt. Cook until garlic is lightly golden.
- Place eggs in a bowl and whisk. Add salt and pepper.
- In a bowl, add boiled pasta and asparagus and add the garlic and olive oil mixture.
- Cook over medium heat and add pasta cooking liquid and the egg mixture. Add Parmesan to it and cook on reduced heat.
- Simmer until the cheese melts.
- Serve warm with more Parmesan grated on top.