19 Quick Recipes Inspired by the Flavors of Italy
These simple recipes inspired by Italian and Italian-American classics come together in under one hour.
Crispy chicken topped with marinara sauce and mozzarella. Cheesy polenta or savory risotto that warms the soul with each bite. Long noodles like spaghetti or linguine tossed with fatty bacon and eggs or fresh tomatoes and basil. These are the makings of classic Italian and Italian-American recipes that everyone knows and loves. Some of these elemental dishes—like lasagna or homemade pasta—can be time-consuming, which is where these quick Italian-inspired recipes come in. When you're short on time but don't want to compromise on flavor, turn to these dishes.
Start with a spectacular seafood staple: Martha's Spaghetti alle Vongole. Spaghetti is tossed in a sauce made with homemade roasted-garlic butter, crushed red-pepper flakes, dry white wine, clam juice, and small clams. The dish is topped with lots of freshly chopped parsley and grated Parmigiano-Reggiano and dinner is served. A few Italian side dishes are also quick and easy favorites—make our Basic Polenta, which is made with coarse-ground polenta meal, unsalted butter, dried bay leaves, freshly ground Parmigiano-Reggiano, and plenty of salt and pepper. Try it in our Parmesan Pork with Polenta and Asparagus or serve a hearty ladle of chili and roasted vegetables over the polenta for a satisfying winter meal. Another dish that can serve as either a side dish or the main event is risotto—in just under one hour, you can create a rich, creamy bowl of arborio rice with lemon and parsley, saffron, or mushroom and herbs.
Of course, every good meal ends on a sweet note. While homemade gelato or tiramisu can be time-consuming, one quick Italian-inspired recipe that we love is Cannoli Dip. This fun and totally genius take on the classic handheld dessert features a bowl of creamy dip topped with mini semisweet chocolate chips. Serve it alongside homemade cannoli chips made from wonton wrappers for a treat that will surely disappear in a flash.
Enjoy these quick Italian recipes for dinner.
No-Bake Lasagna with Ricotta and Tomatoes
Red Wine Pasta
Spaghetti with Tomato Sauté
Roasted Branzino with Lemon and Thyme
Bring a taste of the Mediterranean home with this quick and easy fish recipe. Whole roasted branzino is stuffed with sliced lemon and thyme sprigs—it comes together in just 30 minutes.
Spaghetti with Fresh Tomato-Basil Sauce
Ravioli with Roasted Eggplant, Tomatoes, and Capers
Dress up cheese ravioli with roasted summer vegetables; use the starchy pasta water to create a thickened sauce for the pasta. Top with capers, basil, and of course Parmigiano-Reggiano for a quick Italian-inspired dinner.
Cacio e Pepe with Lemon
Prosciutto Carbonara with Spinach
Prosciutto isn't just for an antipasto board. We've mixed it with spinach and rigatoni in a carbonara-inspired sauce for a delicious twist on the Italian-American classic.
Use this quick Italian-inspired recipe as the base for making savory, satisfying risotto then try four spectacular variations—Milanese-style with saffron, tomato, mushroom, or seafood with shrimp and scallops.
Spaghetti and Eggplant "Meatballs"
Every good Italian meal starts out with a stunning antipasto board. The combination of ingredients is up to you, but we love mozzarella balls, fresh figs, artichoke hearts, mixed olives, pepperoncini, and lots of cured meat.
Instant flour helps to create a crispy crust on chicken cutlets, which are dressed with mushrooms and a marsala wine sauce. This Italian-inspired recipe is a breeze to make—and it's absolutely delicious.