Fast Italian Recipes
Speedy Baked Ziti
Doctoring good-quality jarred tomato sauce, like Rao's, with ground meat, onion, garlic and spices makes this ziti superfast.
Spaghetti with Lemon, Chile and Creamy Spinach
Instead of using heavy cream, this tangy, spicy dish calls for low-fat yogurt, which is packed with protein and calcium. Stirring a little flour into the yogurt prevents curdling as it simmers and creates a thick, rich and satisfying sauce for all kinds of pasta and vegetables.
Shellfish-Tomato Stew on Soft-Cooked Polenta
This stew, from the owner of Casa Olivi in in Treia, Italy, loves to showcase the great seafood from the nearby Adriatic Sea. Here, she makes a tomato stew with shrimp, squid and mussels over milk-enriched polenta.
Italian carbonara is famously rich, combining pancetta or guanciale (cured pork jowl), egg yolks and cheese. At Holeman and Finch, Linton Hopkins adds his own Southern accent to the dish with house-cured pork and local eggs.
Mortadella and Cheese Panini
To make these sandwiches, use 6-by-4-inch slices of dense white bread from a peasant loaf to accommodate the hearty filling.
To make her Sunday-supper scarpariello—chicken sautéed in a tangy lemon glaze with bell pepper—Fran Parisi always uses a whole chicken cut into pieces, then cooks it on the stove for hours. Grace Parisi opts for faster-cooking boneless thighs and skips the bell pepper in favor of jarred Peppadews, sweet-spicy pickled peppers from South Africa, sold in many US supermarkets.
Anchovy and Roasted-Pepper Salad with Goat Cheese
For Eataly’s seafood dishes, Mario Batali enlisted the help of Dave Pasternack, chef-partner at his outstanding restaurant Esca. Together they created this earthy salad with chopped cured anchovies in the dressing.
Antipasto Salad with Bocconcini and Green-Olive Tapenade
Inspired by the antipasto in Italian-American restaurants, Silverton developed a sophisticated version for Jar in Los Angeles. It features shredded and vinaigrette-dressed iceberg lettuce and salami mixed with petite mozzarella balls (bocconcini), which she loves because each is a perfect little bite.
Tuscan-Style Veal Chops
"Grill masters all over the world have noticed that when you grill a piece of meat and then anoint it with some kind of fat, it mixes with the meat juices and creates instant sauce," Steven Raichlen says. "At Peter Luger Steakhouse, in Brooklyn, steaks get finished with a pat of butter; other places use beef tallow." In Tuscany, olive oil is the fat of choice for finishing herbed veal chops like these.
Burrata with Speck, Peas and Mint
Try a refreshing Italian sparkling wine (like NV Mionetto Prosecco di Valdobbiadene) with this dish.
Italian Wedding Soup
Grace Parisi's kids love a particular brand of canned soup filled with chicken meatballs and soggy pasta, but she prefers real minestra maritata (Italian wedding soup). She makes tiny pork meatballs and simmers them with orzo, chickpeas, spinach and parmesan. She occasionally substitutes green beans for the spinach, depending on who is at the table.
Grilled Fish with Artichoke Caponata
To top meaty mahimahi at Marea, Michael White makes a vinegary caponata (a Sicilian relish) with fresh artichoke hearts, not the traditional tomatoes and eggplant. Trimming artichokes can be time-consuming, so buy marinated artichoke hearts from the grocery store instead.
Wild Mushroom-and-Red Wine Risotto
Pair with an intense, blackberry-scented red from Rosso Conero in Italy's Marches region.
Quick White Bean Stew with Swiss Chard and Tomatoes
Low in fat but high in protein, beans are one of Joe Bastianich’s favorite ingredients. He uses white beans here, but he also loves making this recipe with chickpeas and flat gigante beans: "The bigger and creamier the beans, the better."
Broccoli-Rabe and Ricotta Frittata
Though frittatas are often served cooled as a first course, they make an equally good main dish, either warm or at room temperature. Here ricotta mellows the bite of broccoli rabe.
Orecchiette with Broccoli Rabe, Bacon, and Bread Crumbs
For a pleasant change of pace, we toss crisp, golden bread crumbs with the pasta instead of the usual grated cheese. If you don't have orecchiette, replace them with shells, bow ties, rotelle, or fusilli.
Grilled Summer Squash with Bagna Cauda and Fried Capers
Bagna cauda, the simple Italian sauce of olive oil, anchovies and garlic, flavors strips of grilled zucchini and yellow squash. The excellent topping: crispy fried capers.
Spaghettini with Shrimp, Tomatoes and Chile Crumbs
Dan Kluger adds crunch to this delicious shrimp and summer tomato pasta with crisp lemon-chile crumbs.
Double-Grilled Antipasto Sandwiches
These gooey sandwiches get double-grilled: the prosciutto-wrapped provolone is grilled first before being sandwiched on grilled baguette. "In a pinch, I'll use Polly-O string cheese instead of provolone," says Grace Parisi.