F&W Staff Favorite Italian Recipes
Strozzapreti with Lamb Ragù
"Strozzapreti has a ridge along its length, which helps pick up more of the sauce," says Michael Mina of this pasta, which he serves with a spiced lamb ragù.
Toasted Pistachio-Cheese Arancini
These arancini—fried risotto balls— are the size of tangerines, filled with creamy, cheesy rice, studded with nuts and green peas and encased in a great crunchy crust.
Spaghetti with Clams and Garlic
"I look forward to going to Sicily for many reasons," says Frank Castronovo of his biannual trip to southern Italy. "One of them is because I’m amazed at how many times Frank [Falcinelli] can order linguine con vongole." Their exquisite, supersimple version is packed with garlic and a judicious amount of crushed red pepper. If you prefer, shell the clams before tossing them with their juices in the pasta.
Although we tested three different Bolognese-style lasagnas with creamy béchamel sauce, we decided that the definitive lasagna had to have tomato sauce, chunks of meat, shredded mozzarella and creamy ricotta cheese.
Balsamic and Rosemary-Marinated Florentine Steak
Chef Nancy Silverton adores Antica Macelleria Cecchini, Dario Cecchini’s famous butcher shop in the Tuscan town of Panzano, where she buys thick porterhouses to make this classic recipe. Chef Matt Molina and his entourage prepared the dish on their last night in Italy, marinating the meat in olive oil, balsamic vinegar and rosemary.
Piadina is a pan-grilled sandwich made with a quick baking-powder flatbread. (If you’re in a rush, you could use a flour tortilla instead.) This recipe is from Casa Olivi in Le Marche.
Grilled Shellfish and Vegetables al Cartoccio
Cartoccio means "paper" in Italian, which refers to the wrapping used to make packets for grilling. Here, foil packets preserve every drop of the delicious seafood juices for sopping up with crusty bread.
Sun-Dried Tomato and Arugula Pizza
The secret to this crispy pizza: giving the dough lots of time to rise so it's pliant enough to stretch very thin.
Crunchy Vegetable Salad with Ricotta Crostini
Michael White’s fennel-and-asparagus salad at Convivio uses a variety of herbs, including chervil and lemon balm, but it’s equally delightful here made with just basil and tarragon.
Roasted Sunchokes with Buttery Bagna Cauda
Sunchokes, a.k.a. Jerusalem artichokes, are nutty-tasting and can be eaten raw or cooked. When roasted, they make a great change of pace from the usual crudités served with bagna cauda, the Italian olive oil, garlic and anchovy sauce.
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.
Stewed Broccoli Rabe with Spicy Tomato Sauce
This pan-fried broccoli rabe is a pleasant departure from the standard version made with garlic and chiles, though it does include those ingredients. Ryan Hardy mixes the garlic and chiles, along with fennel, into a satisfying tomato sauce that balances the bitter greens and adds lovely color, too.
Chef Way The farm behind La Provence raises heritage Mangalitsa pigs; John Besh uses the well-marbled ham for his swordfish.
Easy Way For home cooks, wrapping prosciutto or serrano ham around swordfish keeps the seafood moist and flavorful.
Turkey Meatballs Two Ways
Ground turkey, panko (Japanese bread crumbs), Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and a few other ingredients make delicious, kid-friendly meatballs. To spice them up for grown-ups, Workman adds hot turkey sausage and crushed red pepper into the basic meatball mixture.
Octopus Salad with Potatoes and Green Beans
When octopus is slowly simmered, it becomes delicate and tender. Tossed in a salad with potatoes and green beans, then dressed with garlic and parsley, it makes for a very lovely and satisfying dish.
Minestra is a light, brothy Italian soup with vegetables. "In this version, I sauté Tuscan kale and butternut squash with onion, garlic and rosemary, then simmer them in chicken stock with pasta and white beans," Grace Parisi says.
Grace Parisi's pasta Bolognese features a traditional combination of ground beef, pork, veal and tomato enriched by smoky pancetta.
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.
This pizza goes well with a light, spicy Oregon Pinot Noir.