Easy Italian Recipes
1. Bolognese: Bologna, a town in the north-east of Italy, is well-known for its excellent cuisine. Home to unbeatable lasagnas and bolognese sauce (ragù bolognese), it even has a world-renowned cooking academy. The Accademia Italiana delle Cucina version of bolognese includes beef, pancetta, onions, carrots, celery, tomato sauce, bread, red wine and milk or cream.
You should know that spaghetti bolognese, however, comes from Naples. There, it's eaten as a starter before every meal - al dente, of course.
2. Lasagna: This dish uses the bolognese recipe we have already seen as its base. If you want to really play the Italian mamma you can even make the pasta yourself. But it's easiest to buy the ready-made lasagna sheets. Although it's a simple enough recipe, it does require a bit of time to allow the lasagna to be cooked as it should be. We recommend covering your bechamel between each layer with Gruyere and topping the whole thing with plenty of Parmesan.
3. Milanese scalope: Originating from Milan, this recipe can be made with veal, pork, or chicken. Generously coated in breadcrumbs then cooked in a mix of olive oil and butter, this dish is traditionally served with fries and salad. It can also be accompanied by spaghetti for a really filling meal. It's ideal if you serve it with a slice of fresh lemon.
4. Tomato, mozzarella, basil: Mozzarella is an Italian staple. You'll find it used in restaurants all over the world. Originally made from buffalo milk, it is the most-produced cheese on the planet. We advise you to use the buffalo milk version - labelled 'mozzarella di Bufala Campana' as it's so much more tasty than the cow's or sheep's milk. Serve with vine or plum tomatoes, fresh basil and a vinaigrette of olive oil and balsamic vinegar to create this mouthwatering dish. For the real mozzarella-lovers, burrata is a must-try. With its creamy heart, it's the caviar of Italian cheese.
5. Spaghetti alle vongole: Typical of Neapolitan cuisine, this dish has a base of spaghetti (of course!) and clams. Clams do take a bit of preparation, but the result will be well worth it:
- Make sure to clean seafood thoroughly - sand is not a great seasoning!
- Finish cooking the pasta in the juice from the clams, to which you'll have added garlic, olive oil, chilli and white wine.
6. Pasta e fagioli: This little-known recipe is known as 'the peasant's dish' in Italy because it's made from the stuff at the back of the cupboards. With a pasta base, of course, vegetables, beans and celery are the most commonly added ingredients. As with any staple though, there are numerous varieties. A hearty soup, it may not be the fanciest dish but it's incredibly tasty.
7. Soup alla romana: This soup is really simple to make and is served in Italy between the starter (pasta) and the main course. It's made from parmesan, beaten egg-yolks and broth.
8. Saltimbocca alla romana, or veal saltimbocca: This sophisticated dish is perfect for a lighter Italian supper - yes, you read that right, Italian meals can be light! Literally translated as 'jump in mouth', this speciality comes from Rome.
-Take a thin veal escalope
-Top with a slice of prosciutto crudo and a sage leaf
-Roll it all up
-Cook in butter, adding white wine at the end
9. Osso buco: This Milanese speciality is one of the tastiest Italian dishes there is. It has extreme flavours and it's made from veal shanks and white wine. The marrow is cooked and served on the bone. We admit it might not sound like the most appetising of these recipes, but trust us, it's incredible.
10. Tiramisu: It's become extremely popular over the last few years, you'll find tiramisu on the menu almost anywhere. But the quality can sometimes leave something to be desired. Home-made is always best. For a really creamy tiramisu, reduce the amount of biscuits you use and make sure not to skimp on the mascarpone.
Starving now? Yep, us too... Now that you know how to cook like a true Italian, we can't wait for our dinner invitations!