Italian carbonara is famously rich, combining pancetta or guanciale (cured pork jowl), egg yolks and cheese. Chef Linton Hopkins adds his own Southern accent to the dish with house-cured pork and local eggs.
Veal Scaloppine with Wilted Parsley, Lemon and Sesame
Marcia Kiesel wilts parsley to make a clever topping for quick-cooking veal scaloppine.
Herbed Fazzoletti with Asparagus and Burrata
Creamy burrata cheese and tender asparagus pair well in this elegant pasta dish
Slow Cooker Sunday Sauce on Spaghetti
This tomato-based pasta sauce is easy to make—just let all the ingredients simmer in a slow cooker for a few hours and serve with your favorite spaghetti.
Italian Meatballs in Caper-Tomato Sauce
Milk-soaked bread helps make chef Massimiliano Alajmo's beef-and-pork meatballs incredibly light; bits of chopped olive make them extra-flavorful. The thick tomato sauce coats the meatballs nicely and doubles as an excellent pasta sauce.
Chicken alla Diavola
Salvatore Denaro's pollo alla diavola ("devil's-style chicken") is intensely seasoned. Two days prior to cooking, Denaro infuses white wine vinegar with a big bunch of dried Sicilian oregano for a marinade. Then he seasons the marinated chicken with an exotic herb mixture, or condimento, that includes Turkish bay laurel ("the only kind to use," Denaro says) and myrtle leaves. Feel free to experiment with a variety of herbs for the condimento.
Crisp-Skinned Porchetta with Lemon and Chile
Porchetta, a traditional Italian street food, is a moist and fatty fresh ham covered with skin that's heavily seasoned with salty garlic, rosemary, fennel and lemon. Chef James Lewis adds some heat to his version with crushed red pepper.
Eggplant Caponata with Golden Raisins
As a nod to the grape harvest, chef Ben Towill adds golden raisins to this tangy caponata. It's delicious on toast or with pecorino cheese.
Sardinian Stuffed Eggplant
Efisio Farris, the executive chef at Arcodoro in Houston, says that his mother used only eggplants from the first pick of the season (le primizie) for this dish because of their supple texture and earthy-sweet flavor without a hint of bitterness. But if you don't have the primizie option, you should seek out firm, heavy eggplants with smooth, evenly colored skin. Check for ripeness by pressing them lightly; if this leaves an imprint, the eggplant is ready to use.
Spinach and Ricotta Gnudi with Tomato-Butter Sauce
Former Gotham Bldg Tavern chef Tommy Habetz describes gnudi as "ravioli filling without the pasta."; He learned how to make his outrageously light and creamy version while working at the former New York City restaurant Pó.
Toasted PistachioCheese Arancini
This recipe for arancini—fried risotto balls—comes from Renato Poliafito, who got it from his Sicilian cousin Emanuele Sanfilippo. "Renato is obsessed with arancini," says Matt Lewis, "especially this version with toasted pistachios." These arancini are the size of tangerines, filled with creamy, cheesy rice, studded with nuts and green peas and encased in a great crunchy crust.
Autumn Fritto Misto
Antonio Ciminelli prepares this starter year-round with whatever produce is in season. In the fall, that means apples, mushrooms and late-harvest zucchini, fried in a batter made extra-light and crisp by adding sparkling wine and whipped egg white. The fritto misto is best eaten hot from the pan, perhaps served in a paper cone.
Beef Brasato with Pappardelle and Mint
Chef Chris Cosentino braises beef shank and oxtail in red wine to make a brasato he serves with house-made mint pappardelle. Instead of oxtail, this dish uses just beef shank. Fresh pappardelle from a store replaces the house-made kind.
Mozzarella with Summer Squash and Olive Puree
This dish, from chef Mathieu Perez is a take on the classic Italian mozzarella-tomato-basil Caprese salad. It depends on young, very fresh zucchini and summer squash. To prepare the recipe like Perez does at the restaurant, grate the olives finely with a Microplane grater instead of pureeing them.
Baked Eggs en Cocotte with Basil
These baked eggs topped with melted butter are Piero Incisa della Rocchetta's go-to breakfast. The dish was also a favorite of his grandfather Mario, the founder of Italy's world-famous Sassicaia winery in Tuscany.
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. In Tuscany, olive oil is the fat of choice for finishing herbed veal chops like these.
Chickpea Panelle with Goat Cheese and Salsa Rustica
Traditional panelle, the popular Sicilian chickpea fritter, is deep-fried. Melissa Kelly forms her panelle onto a sheet, lightly sprinkles it with goat cheese and bakes it. Then she cuts the panelle into pieces and sautés them until they're crisp.
Pecorino Ravioli with Walnuts and Marjoram
In adapting this recipe from chef Shea Gallante, Marcia Kiesel traded a labor-intensive fresh pasta for premade wonton wrappers and was thrilled with the results. Wonton wrappers are milder-tasting than fresh pasta, which makes them a better showcase for the nutty brown butter, delicate young pecorino cheese and fresh marjoram.
Butter Beans in Miso Bagna Cauda
Creamy butter beans get flavor from a miso dressing in this terrific vegetarian dish .
Kevin Sbraga varies these wonderful nutty biscotti, sometimes dipping them in melted dark chocolate for an extra layer of flavor.
This simple green salad is a refreshing antipasto, or appetizer.
Ricotta Gnudi with Chanterelles
These tender gnudi, adapted from Nancy Silverton's Mozza Cookbook, are delicious with buttery chanterelles.
Grilled Mackerel with Sicilian Caper-Tomato Salsa
"Give mackerel a chance," begs Michael White. The Spanish fish he imports from Europe is grilled, which makes the skin enticingly crisp, then topped with a refreshing tomato-caper salsa.
Aged Gouda Biscotti with Walnuts
These crunchy biscotti are surprisingly rich-tasting thanks to aged Gouda and chopped walnuts. Try other hard cheeses, too, like aged Prima Donna, a lighter Gouda-style cheese from the Netherlands.
Rabbit Stew with Olives and Rosemary
"This is one of my favorite things on the planet," says Marco Canora about his savory rabbit stew. He loves sharing the recipe with his students because it's an opportunity to teach them about making battuto (similar to soffrito), a mixture of sautéed onion, celery and carrots that's the base for many Italian dishes.
Pizza Vesuvio with the Works
This half-pizza, half-calzone is named for Italy's Mount Vesuvius.
Jam-Filled Mezzaluna Cookies
Using a recipe Nancy Silverton taught her for a super-buttery dough, chef Dahlia Narvaez made vanilla-scented cookies shaped like mezzaluna ("half moon") pasta and filled them with a mixed-berry jam she found in Panicale.
Daniel Humm's exceptionally easy risotto gets a sublime earthiness from fresh and dried porcini mushrooms.
Italian Seafood Stew
In this luscious, tomato-rich stew, Marco Canora cooks calamari slowly until it becomes supertender. He says calamari is absolutely essential to the success of the dish, because it releases its liquid as it simmers, which adds a huge amount of flavor to the sauce. "I'm a big fan of substitutions," he says, "but not in this case."
Farro Salad with Fried Cauliflower and Prosciutto
Cooks in Italy fry cauliflower to bring out its nuttiness. Here, Ethan Stowell deep-fries it for a salad with salty prosciutto and nubby farro (a variety of whole-grain wheat).
"Always err on the side of making ravioli dough a little bit sticky," Domenica Marchetti says. "You can sprinkle on more flour as you roll it out."
Free-Form Sausage-and-Three-Cheese Lasagna
The style of this gooey lasagna is called free-form because the pasta can be arranged in different ways—for instance, folded over the filling—instead of traditionally layered.
Vanilla Zabaglione with Raspberries
The ethereal Italian dessert sauce zabaglione (known in French as sabayon) consists of egg yolks beaten with sugar and the Sicilian fortified dessert wine Marsala. Steeping vanilla seeds in the Marsala adds lovely flavor; folding in whipped cream increases the decadence factor.
"I may never use ground meat in my peppers again," said Fran Parisi, Grace Parisi's mother, when she tried this super-flavorful sausage-stuffed version. Another revelation: Smaller Italian frying peppers are much easier to brown in a skillet than the typical green bell peppers, and they also cook faster.
Grilled-Fruit Bruschetta with Honey Mascarpone
This knife-and-fork dessert from pastry chef Michael Glissman is a fantastic showcase for seasonal fruit at its peak; caramelizing the fruit on the grill intensifies its flavor. The grilled bread served alongside soaks up the sweet juices.