15 Italian Recipes Every Beginner Cook Should Master
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.
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.
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.
Slowcooker Sunday Sauce on Spaghetti
Have an Italian palate but don't exactly have the time on Sunday like an Italian grandma? "Cheat" with this recipe and your slow cooker.
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.
Making a perfect batch of smooth and creamy polenta isn't as hard as you think. With some time and simple techniques you can make this versatile dish and add your favorite toppings.
Spinach Salad with Bagna Cauda Dressing
In the Piedmont region of Italy, the warm anchovy–olive oil sauce called bagna cauda is typically served as a dip for vegetables. Here, Justin Smillie turns it into a warm dressing for baby spinach, adding fresh bread crumbs for crunch.
Perfect Pizza Margherita
Letting the dough rest in the refrigerator overnight, Grace Parisi found, results in a chewy crust with a slight tang.
Basic Tomato Sauce
Chef Hugh Acheson uses a little grated carrot to offset the acidity in his fragrant tomato sauce, which also has plenty of fresh oregano.
Pasta with Pancetta, Shallots and Sage
La matricia, Salvatore Denaro claims, is Tuscan for "paunch" or "belly"—pancetta, in short, which plays an important role in this pasta sauce. Not to be confused with pasta all'amatriciana, a tomato-and-guanciale dish from the region of Lazio, Denaro's creation, which he calls La Matricianina, is entirely original, made with plenty of shallots and sage. It's wonderful served over spaghetti, or better yet, over short, stubby rigatoni.
Mushroom and Chicken Risotto
If you're using canned chicken broth to make risotto, be sure it's low-sodium. The broth reduces at the same time that it's cooking into the rice, and regular canned broth would become much too salty.
Potato Gnocchi with Butter and Cheese
Grilled Fish with Artichoke Caponata
Cherries Poached in Red Wine with Mascarpone Cream
Thick mascarpone cheese mixed with honey makes a luscious topping for poached cherries. You can serve the dessert either warm or cold. We love it both ways.