15 Fast Italian Recipes for Summer

Marinated Zucchini with Bow Ties

These delicious recipes include simple, light summer pastas and crowd-pleasing Italian-sausage burgers.

01 of 15

Grilled Eggplant Parmesan

Super Fast Grilling Recipes for a Last-Minute Barbecue
JOHN KERNICK

This grilled-vegetable version of eggplant Parmesan, like the one Grace Parisi's Calabrian grandmother used to make, is much lighter than the fried kind.

02 of 15

Spaghetti with Tomatoes, Basil, Olives, and Fresh Mozzarella

Spaghetti with Tomatoes, Basil, Olives, and Fresh Mozzarella

Since the tomatoes here are not cooked, you'll really notice their flavor—or lack of it. Make this sauce in the summer when fresh tomatoes are at their peak. The garlic is heated briefly in the oil, and then the garlicky oil is tossed with the spaghetti so the flavor is dispersed throughout the dish. The pasta is equally good warm and at room temperature.

03 of 15

Squid Pizza with Saffron Aioli

HD-200910-r-squid-pizza.jpg
© James Baigrie

Michael Emanuel (an alumnus of Berkeley's Chez Panisse) tops this pizza with an irresistible mix of Provençal flavors: salty-sweet roasted squid, creamy aioli and crushed red pepper (French piment d'Espelette would also work well). The remaining aioli can be used as a dip for vegetables or a spread for sandwiches.

04 of 15

Italian-Sausage Burgers with Garlicky Spinach

Italian-Sausage Burgers with Garlicky Spinach
© Stephanie Foley

Using sausage in burgers is a smart shortcut, because the meat is already seasoned.

05 of 15

Fusilli with Summer Tomato Sauce

Fusilli with Summer Tomato Sauce

For this light, uncooked sauce, you must have perfectly ripe tomatoes. Be sure they're at room temperature, too, not cold. In fact, tomatoes shouldn't be refrigerated at all; chilling permanently reduces their flavor.

06 of 15

Grilled Eggplant and Tomatoes with Parmesan-Basil Crumbs

Grilled Eggplant and Tomatoes with Parmesan-Basil Crumbs
© John Kernick

Fresh bread crumbs are an underrated way of adding fabulous crunch to recipes. Here Francis Mallmann uses bread crumbs tossed with fresh basil and lots of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese to create a great topping for tender grilled vegetables.

07 of 15

Summer Farro Salad

Summer Farro Salad

Marco Canora says you can swap in any starch—like bread or pasta—for the farro (a nutty Italian grain) in this recipe.

08 of 15

Big Italian Salad

Big Italian Salad
© Quentin Bacon

Part green salad, part antipasto salad, this recipe combines lettuce, celery, onion, peperoncini, olives and cherry tomatoes—all tossed in a dressing made with olive oil, vinegar and a little mayonnaise. "The salad reminds me of one my mother made," says Fran Parisi. "Her dressing had no mayo, of course—it was strictly oil and vinegar."

09 of 15

Summer Squash Pizza with Goat Cheese and Walnuts

Summer Squash Pizza with Goat Cheese and Walnuts
CREDIT: © JAMES BAIGRIE

Zucchini and yellow squash can both be mild in flavor, but nothing about this tangy, herby pizza is bland. The summer squash is sliced into slender coins, then roasted in a hot oven until it's lightly caramelized, bringing out its sweetness.

10 of 15

Giardiniera with Ham and White Beans

Giardiniera with Ham and White Beans
© Stephanie Foley

This recipe is a nod to the pickled vegetables (giardiniera) in the Gramercy Tavern salad. Grace Parisi quickly soaks baby cauliflower in vinegar and sugar, then combines it with snap peas, white beans, ham and sunflower seeds to create a unique main-course dish.

11 of 15

Orecchiette with Sausage and Chicory

Orecchiette with Sausage and Chicory
© Lucy Schaeffer

Chef Michael White uses dandelion greens to give his slightly spicy sausage pasta a bitter edge, but chicory or escarole makes a great stand-in.

12 of 15

Bucatini Carbonara

Bucatini Carbonara
© Anna Williams

Italian carbonara is famously rich, combining pancetta or guanciale (cured pork jowl), egg yolks and cheese. Linton Hopkins adds his own Southern accent to the dish with house-cured pork and local eggs.

13 of 15

Tuscan-Style Veal Chops

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.

14 of 15

Crunchy Vegetable Salad with Ricotta Crostini

Crunchy Vegetable Salad with Ricotta Crostini

Michael White's fennel-and-asparagus salad uses a variety of herbs, including chervil and lemon balm, but it's equally delightful here made with just basil and tarragon.

15 of 15

Grilled Fish with Artichoke Caponata

Grilled Fish with Artichoke Caponata
© Stephanie Foley

To top meaty mahimahi, 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.

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