10 Italian Dinner Ideas (That Aren't Pasta)
You probably love Italian food as much as the next guy, but sometimes, you're just not in the mood for pasta, right?
But you wait just a second, buster, because that's no reason to rule out Italian food altogether. Italy's cuisine is bursting at the seams with delicious dinner recipes that use nary a noodle! In fact, we reached out to a slew of chefs, cooks and culinary bloggers for 10 authentic recipes that prove there's more to Italian than just spaghetti, ravioli and linguini.
RECIPE: The Giant Meatball You Must Try Before You Die
Consider trying one of these mouthwatering macaroni-free meals:
(The Brooklyn Ragazza)
A classic Tuscan panzanella is usually made with tomatoes, stale bread and plenty of fresh herbs, but this savory salad can be dressed up with any number of fresh fruits or vegetables. Laura Wright at The First Mess boosted the flavors of her summery panzanella with kale, peaches and white balsalmic vinegar. Click here for her full recipe.
(The First Mess)
Osso bucco literally translates to "bone with the hole," because the richest part of this northern Italian specialty is the marrow at the center of the braised veal shank. Head over to Monica Bennett's blog to try her recipe for osso bucco, which is as rich and delectable as they come.
RECIPE: The Perfect Osso Bucco
At its simplest, polenta is a porridge made from cornmeal and water, but it's also the perfect canvas for a fantastic Italian meal. Jeanine from Love and Lemons flavors her creamy version with vegetable stock and grated Pecorino cheese, then tops it off with savory sauteed mushrooms and caramelized onions. Check out her full recipe here.
(Love and Lemons)
Many cultures have their own version of stuffed peppers, and Italy is no exception. Cathi Iannone of The Brooklyn Ragazza has a favorite recipe which uses Italian sausage, Arborio rice and two kinds of cheese (Gorgonzola and mozzarella). Click here and learn how to make it.
(The Brooklyn Ragazza)
Porchetta, which is thought to have originated in Lazio, Italy, is basically a seasoned loin of pork (and lots of it) wrapped around a variety of stuffings and then roasted. Simple Comfort Food's Dax Phillips uses pork belly, pancetta and plenty of fresh herbs in his personal recipe, and he always makes extra for next-day porchetta sandwiches with sauteed broccoli rabe and provolone cheese.
(Simple Comfort Food)
Cioppino isn't technically an Italian dish — it originated long ago in San Francisco — but most modern-day cioppino is largely considered Italian (and somewhat resembles the seafood soup — or zuppa di pesce — of Italy). Elise Bauer of Simply Recipes says the secret to a mouthwatering cioppino is fresh seafood, but it wouldn't hurt to follow her step-by-step recipe, either.
Caponata is a versatile Sicilian eggplant stew commonly served as a side or atop bruschetta, although it's just as satisfying as a main course. Elaine McCardel's classic recipe stays true to the dish's sweet and sour flavors, which she serves up with a crusty chunk of bread and a few hard boiled eggs. For more Italian recipes from McCardel, visit The Italian Dish.
(The Italian Dish)
Frittatas are great for two reasons: first, because they're delicious for breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner; and second, because you can fill them with just about anything you want. Linda Xiao at The Tart Tart makes her frittata with bacon, romano cheese and lamb's quarters (a wild green). Find the full recipe here.
(The Tart Tart)
Risotto is the name for a creamy Italian rice dish cooked with wine and stock, and often flavored with vegetables, meats or legumes. Yum and Yummer's Kerry Patrick, an avid risotto fan, finishes one of his favorite risotto recipes with pumpkin puree, sage and Parmigiano-Reggiano.
(Yum and Yummer)
Of course, we couldn't forget about pizza. There are about a million different of ways to prepare this Neapolitan favorite, but right now, we're obsessed with this thin-crust recipe — loaded with caramelized onions, sausage and roasted red peppers — courtesy of Bev at Bev Cooks.
WATCH: How To Make Authentic Pizza At Home