Italian Main Dishes

Rabbit Stew with Olives and Rosemary

Get inspired by the flavors of Italy with these delicious main dishes, from light and creamy spinach and ricotta gnudi to osso buco with citrus gremolata.

01 of 25

Sun-Dried Tomato and Arugula Pizza

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.

02 of 25

Free-Form Sausage-and-Three-Cheese Lasagna

Free-Form Sausage-and-Three-Cheese Lasagna
© Quentin Bacon

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.

03 of 25

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.

04 of 25

Beef Brasato with Pappardelle and Mint

Beef Brasato with Pappardelle and Mint
© TINA RUPP

Chris Cosentino braises beef shank and oxtail in red wine to make a brasato he serves with house-made mint pappardelle. This easier version uses just beef shank. Fresh pappardelle from a store replaces the house-made kind.

05 of 25

Spinach and Ricotta Gnudi with Tomato-Butter Sauce

Spinach and Ricotta Gnudi with Tomato-Butter Sauce

Chef Tommy Habetz describes gnudi as "ravioli filling without the pasta." Gnudi are of Tuscan origin, and a fresh Tuscan white wine—particularly a Vernaccia—makes a perfect pair for Habetz's recipe.

06 of 25

Swordfish Sicilian-Style

Swordfish Sicilian-Style

Grilled swordfish steaks with a touch of lemon make for a healthy and quick dinner.

07 of 25

Gorgonzola, Fig and Pancetta Pizza

Gorgonzola, Fig and Pancetta Pizza. Photo © Anson Smart
© Anson Smart

This sweet and salty pizza is topped with salty pancetta, gorgonzola, and juicy fresh figs.

08 of 25

Braised Chicken all'Arrabbiata

Braised Chicken all'Arrabbiata

All'Arrabbiata means "in an angry style" in Italian. At the new Marzano in Oakland, California, chef Robert Holt braises his chicken with five kinds of peppers in a wood-fired oven. Spice the chicken with poblano and chile flakes, then braise it. For extra kick, toss in some hot pickled cherry peppers.

09 of 25

Balsamic-and-Rosemary-Marinated Florentine Steak

Balsamic and Rosemary-Marinated Florentine Steak
© Marie Hennechart

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.

10 of 25

Pea-and-Bacon Risotto

Pea-and-Bacon Risotto. Photo © Petrina Tinslay
© Petrina Tinslay

Sweet peas and salty bacon come together n this creamy risotto.

11 of 25

Sardinian Stuffed Eggplant

Sardinian Stuffed Eggplant
Quentin Bacon

Chef Efisio Farris, 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.

12 of 25

Tuscan-Style Spareribs with Balsamic Glaze

Tuscan-Style Spareribs with Balsamic Glaze
© Tina Rupp

Bruce Aidells loves to barbecue spareribs, but his favorite way to prepare them is to generously season the ribs with a mix of aromatic herbs and spices and slow-roast them until tender and crisp. Like his favorite Tuscan cooks, he finishes the ribs with a simple balsamic glaze.

13 of 25

Osso Buco with Citrus Gremolata

Osso Buco with Citrus Gremolata
© Kana Okada

Ethan Stowell sticks to Italian tradition when making osso buco, topping braised veal shanks with a citrusy gremolata (orange and lemon zest mixed with garlic and parsley). He advises spooning out and eating all of the marrow from the bones for what he calls "a mouthful of fatty goodness.

14 of 25

Smoky Pork Pappardelle

Smoky Pork Pappardelle
© Anna Williams

For the luscious meat sauce here, Gerard Craf braises pork with apples and honey, which adds some unexpected sweetness. Another surprise: He finishes the pasta with a sprinkling of smoked salt.

15 of 25

Roman-Style Braised Chicken with Roasted Peppers

Roman-Style Braised Chicken with Roasted Peppers

This lush, homey Roman favorite is a simple braise of chicken with white wine, tomatoes, garlic and a colorful mix of roasted red, green and yellow bell peppers. As a shortcut, substitute roasted peppers from a jar.

16 of 25

Spaghetti with Anchovy Carbonara

Spaghetti with Anchovy Carbonara
© TINA RUPP

Chris Cosentino adds briny flavor to his pasta with cured tuna heart. He shaves it on right before serving. This recipe calls for anchovies, rather than the tuna heart Cosentino uses. Egg yolks form a silky sauce.

17 of 25

Seafood Stew with Saffron Zabaglione

Seafood Stew with Saffron Zabaglione
© Quentin Bacon

To prepare this brothy stew full of wonderfully moist snapper, tender squid and plump mussels and clams, chefs at Don Alfonso teach students to prepare the ingredients separately so nothing gets over- or undercooked. A lush saffron zabaglione, which gets stirred into the stew, presents another fun challenge: to cook egg yolks in wine slowly over the gentle heat of simmering water until they're fluffy but not scrambled.

18 of 25

Cavatelli with Mussels, Lillet and Dill

Cavatelli with Mussels, Lillet and Dill. Photo © Quentin Bacon
© Quentin Bacon

The perfect match for this creamy cavatelli-and-mussels dish: Muscadet, a coastal wine that's superb with shellfish.

19 of 25

Chicken Parmesan with Pepperoni

Chicken Parmesan with Pepperoni.
© Quentin Bacon

Chef Bryan Vietmeier merges two Italian-American favorites here: chicken parm and pepperoni.

20 of 25

Slow Cooker Sunday Sauce on Spaghetti

Slow Cooker Sunday Sauce for Spaghetti
© Fredrika Stjärne

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.

21 of 25

Chicken Scarpariello

Chicken Scarpariello
© Quentin Bacon

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.

22 of 25

Spaghetti Cacio e Pepe

spaghetti cacio e pepe
© John Kernick

Pasta cacio e pepe ("cheese and pepper") is made with Pecorino Romano, a tangy aged sheep's-milk cheese originally from Rome, and lots of freshly ground black pepper. In Lazio, chef Antonio Ciminelli serves an elegant version with short pasta on the menu, and a rustic one with spaghetti for staff.

23 of 25

Grilled Salmon with Preserved Lemon and Green Olives

Grilled Salmon with Preserved Lemon and Green Olives
© Quentin Bacon

Green olives add more heart-healthy fat and a hit of cell-protecting vitamin E to this crisp grilled salmon dish.

24 of 25

Sizzling Shrimp Scampi

Sizzling Shrimp Scampi
©Con Poulos

Scampi refers to shrimp that are split, brushed with garlicky butter and broiled. The recipe here calls for flavoring butter with lemon, garlic, parsley and thyme, then dotting it liberally on shrimp and roasting the shellfish until it sizzles.

25 of 25

Rabbit Stew with Olives and Rosemary

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.

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