Italian Recipes

This page includes Italian recipes that we've made while living here. They are recipes that our Italian neighbors gave us or recipes that we learned from cooking classes here. All of them focus on using fresh and local ingredients while making sure that most things are homemade. They should not be hard to replicate if you don't live in Italy. Happy Cooking!


This recipe is from a cooking class we took in the Naples area. Pretty standard recipe, but the local tomatoes really made this dish pop!


Italian bread, cut
Grape or cherry tomatoes, diced
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
olive oil: a good amount, but not too much :)
a pinch of red pepper flakes
fresh basil, in pieces


1) Put all of the ingredients except the bread into a bowl and mix well.
2) Taste as you go along and add salt or oil as needed.
3) Toast the bread pieces.
4) Scoop out desired amount of tomatoes onto the bread.

Linguine con Vongole e Pomodori (Linguine with Clams and Tomatoes):

This recipe is from an Italian cookbook that our neighbors lent us.


2 lb clams
olive oil
2 garlic cloves, chopped
grape tomatoes, halved
handful of fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
salt and pepper


1) Boil salted water and cook the linguine until al dente.

2) Put the clams in a heavy saucepan. Add a little water, cover the pan, and steam over medium-high heat until the shells open (discard any that do not). Removed the flesh and discard the shells.

3) Heat the oil in a heavy frying pan over medium heat. Saute the clam flesh and garlic for a few minutes until the garlic is soft and starting to color. Add the tomatoes and season with salt. Stir through and cook for another few minutes until the tomato starts to break down. Lower the heat and simmer for about 5 minutes.

4) Add the linguine to the pan with the sauce and stir through. Serve with a sprinkling of pepper and parsley.

Tuscan Lasagna: 

This recipe is from a cooking class that we took in San Gimignano in Tuscany. The Italian lasagna is not as cheesy as when it's made in America so don't be surprised by the lack of cheese.

Not the best picture!

1 large onion
1 carrot
1/2 kilogram ground beef
1/2 liter of milk
50 grams butter
1 1/2 tablespoon flour
egg lasagna noodles
red wine
tomato sauce (real, tomato only sauce)
olive oil
fresh shredded Parmesan cheese
white truffle oil


1) In a food processor, process the onion, carrot, and garlic. Heat a heavily oiled pan, add salt, pepper, and mixture. Process celery and parsley and then add to pan. Mix around for about 5 minutes.

2) Add the ground beef and cook until brown. Add a cup or two of red wine and cook for 5-10 minutes. Add the tomato sauce. The ragu should simmer for 2-3 hours on low heat, but I've cooked it for an hour a few times and it's been fine. Don't forget to stir occasionally.

3) Preheat the oven to 180 Celsius (350 F).

3) For the bechamel, heat 1/2 liter of milk in a pot. Add the butter and the flour and mix until melted. You might need to add more flour as I have found that it doesn't thicken with the amount listed. Remove from the heat and let cool. It should thicken when it's cooling.

4) Start to layer a pan in this order: pasta, ragu, bechamel, light layer of parmesan cheese, and only layer about 3-4 layers. End with the ragu on top and make sure all corners are covered (unlike the picture above) in order for the pasta to cook. Cook for 30 minutes in the oven.

5) Top with white truffle oil and enjoy! 

Melanzane alla Parmigiana (Eggplant Parmesan):

This is a recipe that my Italian neighbors gave us. It features homemade sauce and Buffalo mozzarella.


4-5 eggplants
a bunch of plum tomatoes, peeled and chopped
2 mozzarella balls
shredded Parmesan cheese


1) Slice the eggplant into thin slices. I cut mine in half and then slice them. Put the slices in a strainer and cover with salt. Leave overnight to let the water leave the eggplant. I used two strainers and then in the morning took them out and left them on paper towels so they dried out some more.

2) Boil a pot of water. Prepare a bowl of cold water and set aside. Cut a very shallow slice into the tomato. Drop a tomato or two into the boiling water and leave for about 20 seconds. Fish out the tomatoes and drop immediately into the cold water. Let sit for 10-15 seconds. The tomatoes should have started to peel where the slice was made. Continue to peel away with your hands or if it's stubborn, use a knife to help.

3) Chop the tomatoes when they are all peeled.

4) Place the tomatoes in a pot over medium heat and cook for 25-30 minutes, stirring occasionally. You can press on the tomatoes with a spoon to let out more juices and to flatten the tomato a little bit.

5) Preheat the oven to 350.

6) While the sauce is cooking, heat a pan over high heat with olive oil. When the oil is hot place the eggplant in and cook on each side until it has browned. Place eggplant on paper towels to absorb the oil.

7) Place slices of eggplant at the bottom of a baking dish. Next, a layer of sauce. Then, the mozzarella cheese. Then, a light layer of Parmesan cheese. Continue this process until you end with this layer: sauce, eggplant, Parmesan.

Pesto Genovese (Classic Pesto):

This is a recipe that our Italian neighbors gave us. We used almost all of our fresh basil from the garden! It is a very simple and fast recipe. Makes 4 servings.


150 grams basil (about 8 cups, slightly packed)
50 grams Parmesan cheese
30 grams pecorino cheese
30 grams pine nuts
1 garlic clove
1/4 cup olive oil, plus more for when cooking
salt to taste


1) Cook pasta according to directions as you make the pesto.
2) In a food processor chop the pine nuts and garlic for about 45 seconds until they are very fine.
3) Add the basil, then chop for another minute.
4) Add the cheese, oil, and salt and chop until it forms a cream.
5) Put pesto into a pan and heat. Add a little olive oil at a time until it becomes more of a sauce.
6) Add the pasta and mix until it is fully coated.

Pizzette alla Melanzane (Eggplant Balls):

This is a Neapolitan specialty that our neighbor gave to us to eat. They are an appetizer to any meal and are really easy to make! I thought that we would need a sauce to go with it, but the balls are delicious on their own. I make these at least once a week! This recipe makes about 8 balls.


800 grams of eggplant
120 grams of bread crumbs (I didn't measure this out at all- I eyeballed the amount I needed)
120 grams of grated Parmesan cheese
one tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1 egg (original recipe calls for 2, but one did just fine)
salt and pepper


1) Slice the eggplant into strips and boil until soft (maybe 5-10 minutes)

2) Drain the water, let cool, then squeeze the water out of the eggplant. I used some paper towels to help me.

3) In a bowl combine all of the ingredients, adding small amounts of breadcrumbs as needed and mix. You want the balls to keep its shape without being sticky. I also made the balls into flatter, more oval shaped, in order to fry them more easily.

4) Heat canola oil in a pan on the stove. When it becomes hot, fry the balls until they are golden brown. Turn over and repeat. Eat hot!

Risotto alla Verza (Cabbage Risotto):

Another great recipe from our neighbor! When I first told Jon that she had cabbage risotto for us, we thought, "Meh, I'm sure it's tasty, but I don't know about the cabbage". We've made it four times in the last six weeks since she gave us the recipe. It's really good! We've also experimented with different add-ins like porcini mushrooms and shrimp, but honestly it's good on it's own and it's a hearty vegetarian meal. Enjoy!


200 grams of cabbage (we have been using half of cabbage head)
1 liter of vegetable broth (or chicken)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, chopped 
160 grams of risotto rice (we used about 250 grams because the portion was small and we weren't having another course)
20 grams grated Parmesan cheese (We now estimate this depending on how cheesy we want it)
salt and pepper


1) Coarsely chop the washed cabbage. 

2) Heat the broth in a soup pan.

3) Put the oil in a pan with the chopped onions and heat until soft and almost brown.

4) Turn up the heat and add the cabbage to the onions. Cook for a few minutes on high heat. 

5) Add a ladle of broth and a pinch of salt and cook over medium heat, covered, for 10 minutes. Keep checking on it and add more broth in small amounts if it starts to dry out or stick to the pan. 

6) After 10 minutes take off the lid and let it dry out the sauce. Add the rice and toast for a minute. 

7) Combine 4-5 ladles of hot broth and set the timer according to the type of risotto you have (usually 15-18 minutes). Continue combining the broth as it absorbs, stirring from time to time, without letting the mixture get too dry, otherwise it will cook unevenly. 

8) Towards the end of the cooking time stir in the grated cheese, pepper, and a ladle of broth. Season with salt. 

9) Turn off the heat and let sit, covered, for a minute of two before serving. 

Fiori di Zucca Fritti (Fried Zucchini Flowers):

I don't know about you, but I had never eaten zucchini flowers before moving to Italy. This is another delicious recipe from our neighbor that can be used as an appetizer or a side. This took us a while to perfect, but when we did they were great! Sprinkle some salt on them at the end and eat them hot!


12-16 zucchini blossoms
1 cup water
1 egg
2 cups flour
2 piches of salt
vegetable oil


1) Remove the stem from the flowers.

2) Prepare the batter by mixing the water, egg, and salt together, gradually sifting the flour into the water and mixing it with a wire whisk. The batter should be moderately dense. You can add more flour or water depending on your preference.

3) Place an ample amount of oil into a pan and heat the oil over high heat. Make sure it's hot before you use it.

4) Dip each flower into the batter, covering it completely, and place it carefully in the hot oil. Fry on both sides until they are golden brown.

5) Remove from the oil and place on a plate with a paper towel to absorb some of the oil. Add a sprinkle of salt onto the finished product. They are excellent when hot, but can also be eaten at room temperature.

Pasta Tradizionale (Traditional Pasta):

This is a traditional pasta dish in Italy. It is very easy to make, and is good for a night when you don't have a lot of time to cook, but you want a dish packed with flavor. The key is to let the oil infuse with the garlic and spices for a little bit before cooking it with the pasta.


Pasta of your choosing, typically served with spaghetti or penne.
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
red pepper flakes
olive oil


1) Pour a large amount of olive oil into a bowl along with the other ingredients except the pasta. Let sit for an hour or so (this step isn't necessary if you don't have a lot of time, it just won't have as much flavor).

2) Cook pasta according directions.

3) Heat oil sauce in a pan. Add pasta and mix. Enjoy!

Coniglio di Nonna (Grandma's Rabbit):

While at Ipercoop I was intrigued by the rabbit pieces in the poultry section. I picked up a package, went home, and facebooked my neighbor asking if she had a recipe for it since she has a recipe for everything. She sent me her grandmother's rabbit recipe and it was delicious! It was very similar to chicken cacciatore and the flavors work very well together. I'm glad I took the plunge!


1 rabbit, in pieces
1 can diced tomatoes with juice
1 onion, sliced
1 tablespoon of butter
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 cup of water
120 ml of white wine
salt, pepper, and the spices of Nora's Aunt Carla (seemed to be rosemary and oregano among other things).
bowl of water and about 5 lemons


1) Soak the rabbit pieces in a large bowl with water and lemon juice for two hours.

2) Dry the rabbit with paper towels.

3) Heat the oil and butter in a pan. Add the onion and saute for a couple of minutes. Add the white wine and let it simmer down.

4) Add the rabbit pieces and brown on both sides.

5) Add the water, tomatoes, salt, pepper, and spices, and cook for 45 minutes.

Melanzane Sott'olio (Marinated Eggplant):

This is a staple of the cuisine down here! Everyone always has jars of eggplant being marinated in oil, vinegar, and other goodies. The name literally means "eggplant under oil" and that's exactly what it is. It's great as an appetizer or snack.

Ingredients (measurements are converted from grams):

2 large eggplant, sliced 1/4 inch thick
1/2 cup salt
2 cups white wine vinegar
1/2 cup water
4 cups olive oil (or less depending on how big the jar is)
5 cloves garlic
red pepper flakes, or halved hot pepper - crushed
1 quart glass jar with lid


1) Peel and slice the eggplant into strips. Place layer of eggplant strips in large colander and sprinkle with a portion of salt. Repeat process until colander is full and all eggplant has been salted. Cover the eggplant with a weighted plate for 2-3 hours - this helps to remove the bitter juices.

2) Combine vinegar and water in a pot and bring to a boil for two minutes. Add some of the eggplant to water and blanch for two minutes. Remove eggplant with strainer, place in a colander, and let cool. Continue this process until all eggplants have been blanched.

3) Take a sterile jar and sprinkle garlic, oregano, and hot pepper on layer on cooled eggplant. Repeat layering until 1 inch from the top of the jar. Add enough oil to cover the eggplant. Store for 2-3 weeks.

4) Make sure to use clean utensils when retrieving mixture. Add oil to keep vegetables covered as necessary.

1 comment:

  1. This is my favorite page! I am drooling. Can you come over and make me some of your Italian deliciousness?