The top ten tastiest Italian dishes you should try at least once

4 months ago

Pasta and pizza are the most popular dishes worldwide, and they both came to us from sunny Italy. The traditional cuisine of this truly unique country is so varied and amazing that it would be impossible to encompass in a single article.

Nevertheless, we here at Bright Side have compiled the top ten most famous and delicious Italian dishes. Be sure to give them a try!


This traditional Italian grilled sandwich made of wheat bread and filled with ham, mozzarella, tomatoes, and pesto sauce became well-known thanks to its simple yet delicate taste.

Ingredients (4 portions):

  • 8 slices of wheat bread
  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • 7 oz (200 g) Mozzarella
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons of pesto sauce
  • fresh basil leaves to taste

How to cook:

  1. Spread pesto sauce on 4 slices of bread.
  2. Cut mozzarella and tomatoes in circles, then lay out the tomatoes over the pesto, and put the mozzarella on top.
  3. Add the basil leaves if you wish, and complete your sandwiches with the remaining bread.
  4. Heat the pan and fry the panini in butter for 3 minutes on each side.

Panna Cotta

This dessert is real feast of taste made of cream, sugar and vanilla. The name of this Ambrosian dessert means "boiled cream" in Italian, and it’s a dish that’s home to Northern Italy.


  • 2.2 lbs (1 L) heavy cream
  • 5.3 oz (150 g) ground raspberries (not obligatory)
  • 0.7 oz (20 g) gelatin
  • 20 additional raspberries (not obligatory)
  • 2-3 tablespoons of sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla

How to cook:

  1. Pour the cream in a small pan, put on a low heat, and add sugar and vanilla.
  2. Dilute gelatin in a small amount of warm water, then pour it in the heated cream. Mix well until smooth — the gelatin should dilute. Pour the dessert into dessert bowls.
  3. Put raspberries into each bowl.
  4. Put into the refrigerator for at least 4 hours to firm.
  5. Sauce the dessert with ground raspberries or any other berry sauce and serve.

Chicken Parmigiana

One of the most popular dishes in Campania and Sicily, it has become just as famous in the US. Tender chicken fillet, baked in tomato sauce with parmesan — isn’t it a perfect partner for beloved spaghetti?


  • 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper
  • 2/3 glassful of breadcrumbs
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 pod of red chili pepper
  • 1.7 oz (50 g) of parmesan
  • 1 chicken breast
  • 1/2 glassful of sifted flour
  • 1 bundle of basil
  • 3-4 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 4 slices of mozzarella
  • 1 egg
  • 4 spring garlic cloves
  • 3-4 large tomatoes
  • 1-2 small onion

How to cook:

  1. Clean chicken breasts from skin and bones, wash, and dry with a towel. Cut breasts in half lengthwise. Sprinkle with salt, black pepper, crushed garlic and basil. Add 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil, stir, and put into the fridge for an hour.
  2. Prepare the sauce. To do this, fry a finely diced onion in 2 tablespoons of olive oil until translucent, then add crushed garlic and cook for 5 minutes. Add tomatoes (either pulsed in blender or grated) and chili pepper flakes. Simmer for 10-15 minutes until excess liquid evaporates. Add chopped basil in the sauce.
  3. Prepare 3 bowls for coating. Use the first for flour, break an egg in the second and add some water, and mix bread crumbs with finely grated parmesan in the third bowl. Roll each piece of fillet in three bowls (flour, then egg, then breadcrumb mix) one by one, and lay the coated chicken out on an oiled baking sheet or casserole dish. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes.
  4. Take the fillets out of the oven, add tomato sauce and a slice of mozzarella on each. Put them back to the oven and bake for another 5 minutes. Decorate with a basil twig and serve.


No other ice cream can compare to the taste of original Italian Gelato. It’s rightfully considered the sweet fine cuisine of Italy.


  • 8.8 oz (250 ml) whole milk
  • 8.8 oz (250 ml) 33-35% cream
  • 4 yolks
  • 5.3 oz (150 g) sugar
  • 1 vanilla pod or 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

How to cook:

  1. Pour milk, cream, and 1/2 of the sugar in a non-stick pan. Put on low heat, and heat until small bubbles appear, stirring occasionally. Don’t boil! Remove from heat and add vanilla extract.
  2. Separate the yolks from the whites and carefully whisk the yolks.
  3. Add the rest of the sugar and continue to beat. Pour in some hot mixture and beat for 1-2 minutes. Pour the mixture of yolk and sugar into the bowl with milk and cream and continue to beat. Heat the mixture over low heat, stirring continuously.
  4. Measure the temperature of the mixture using a thermometer. It’s extremely important to not overheat it. Your pastry cream is ready when it begins to thicken and reaches 185°F (85°C). As soon as your cream starts bubbling, turn off the heat. The scalded cream is ready when it’s thick and tough enough to cover the back of a spoon or spatula.
  5. Tammy your cream in a chilled deep bowl to avoid curds. Keeping the bowl over ice allows the mixture to cool faster. When the cream is cool enough, pour it into the ice-cream freezing machine. Consult the instructions to know freezing time; it usually takes 20 minutes to half an hour.
  6. After that, lay out the ice cream into an airtight container and put in a freezer for another 30 minutes.


Alongside spaghetti, Italian risotto is considered one of the most well-known Italian dishes. As rice is the main ingredient, this dish allows you to experiment endlessly with fillings and add any ingredients you desire.


  • 35.3 oz (1 kg) chicken fillet (breasts and thighs)
  • 1 celery rib
  • 2 onions
  • 1 carrot
  • 3.5 oz (100 g) butter
  • 7 oz (200 g) dry white wine
  • 7 oz (200 g) Arborio rice
  • 1.8 oz (50 g) parmesan
  • salt and pepper to taste

How to cook:

  1. Dice chicken breasts and thighs, but don’t throw out the bones. Put chicken bones, whole celery, carrot and 1 onion in a pan. Add pepper, salt and 53 oz (1.5 liters) of water. Scald and boil on low heat for half an hour. Strain off the soup stock and pour 17.6 oz (500 ml) into a clean pan, then leave to simmer.
  2. Melt 2.3 oz (65 g) of butter in a stew pan, add 1 chopped onion and chicken. Fry on low heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until chicken is golden brown. Add wine, salt and pepper, then boil for 12-15 minutes to evaporate the liquid.
  3. Add the rice and cook for 2 minutes, stirring continuously, until rice is translucent. Add enough soup stock to cover the rice and, stirring continuously, cook until the soup stock evaporates. Then, add the soup stock again and continue cooking, stirring occasionally.
  4. Continue this process for about 20 minutes until the risotto is ready, then remove the stewpan from heat. While the risotto is still hot, add the remaining butter and grated parmesan. Cover and wait for 5-7 minutes. The risotto is ready!


This traditional dish is made from layers of dough and filling, covered with sauce (usually Bechamel). The filling may be different: stewed or minced meat, tomatoes, spinach, other vegetables and, of course, parmesan.


  • 14.1 oz (400 g) minced beef
  • 1.4 oz (40 g) onion
  • 3.5 oz (100 g) carrots
  • 1.4 oz (40 g) celery ribs
  • 1.4 oz (40 g) tomato paste
  • 14.1 oz (400 ml) water
  • 1.4 oz (40 g) wheat flour
  • 1.4 oz (40 g) butter
  • 26.5 oz (750 ml) milk 3.2%
  • a pinch of nutmeg powder
  • 4 twigs of fresh basil
  • 2 pinches of salt
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 2.8 oz (80 g) parmesan
  • 8 lasagna noodles

How to cook:

  1. Preparation of the sauce — Bolognese.
    Mix tomato paste with some hot water. Dice onion, carrots, and celery. Lay out vegetables and minced beef in a stew pan, pour in the tomato sauce. Add salt and pepper, scald, cover, and simmer on medium heat for 30 minutes. Add finely chopped basil 2-3 minutes before the sauce is done.
  2. Preparation of the sauce — Bechamel.
    Pour the milk into a saucepan and heat without bringing to boil. The milk should be hot. Melt the butter in a stewpan, add the flour, and fry for 2-3 minutes. Then, gradually pour in the hot milk, stirring to avoid lumps. Continue to stir and simmer, add salt and nutmeg. Once the sauce has thickened, it’s ready. Remove it from heat.
  3. Laying out the lasagna.
    Grate cheese. Preheat oven to 428°F (220°C). Oil a casserole dish and pour in some Bechamel sauce to cover the bottom, then pour in some Bolognese sauce following the same principle. Lay out 4 lasagna noodles with overlapping joints. Pour the sauces on top, and sprinkle with cheese. Repeat this process until ingredients are gone.
  4. Put the dish in the preheated oven for 20 minutes. Turn off the oven, cover the dish with foil and leave in a hot oven for another 10 minutes. Enjoy!


This amazingly tender dessert has a hint of coffee and is traditionally cooked with mascarpone cheese and special biscuits Savoiardi.


  • 17.6 oz (500 g) mascarpone cheese
  • 4 eggs
  • 5 tablespoons of powdered sugar
  • 10.6 oz (300 ml) cold strong brewed espresso
  • 1 glassful of marsala (or brandy, rum, or Amaretto — but only few tablespoons!)
  • 7 oz (200 g) Savoiardi (Ladyfinger biscuits)
  • bitter cocoa powder or dark chocolate to sprinkle on top

How to cook:

  1. Beat the whites until they are stiff. To make them even stiffer, add some powdered sugar at the end of the beating. The stiffer they are, the better your cream will be.
  2. Whisk yolks and powdered sugar until white.
  3. Add mascarpone and stir well (it’s better to use a large fork).
  4. Add the mixture of whites spoon by spoon and stir gently.
  5. Mix cold espresso with alcohol. Dip each biscuit into a coffee mixture for 5 seconds and lay out in a dish.
  6. Spread half of the Mascarpone cream on the Savoiardi, then dip the second half of the biscuits in a coffee mixture and lay them out on top.
  7. Spread the rest of the Mascarpone cream on top. Use a pastry syringe to decorate your cake.
  8. Put the tiramisu in the fridge for 5-6 hours to let the mascarpone cream thicken.
  9. Sprinkle with cocoa powder or dark chocolate before serving.


This Italian ring-shaped pasta is made of unfermented dough and stuffed with meat, cheese, or vegetables. They originally came from the region of Emilia.


  • 2 cups of flour
  • 1 yolk
  • 3.5 oz (100 ml) of warm water


  • 2 bunches of spinach (7 oz/200 g), frozen or fresh
  • 7 oz (200 g) Ricotta cheese
  • 1 onion
  • 0.25 teaspoon of salt (or to your taste)


  • 3.5 oz (100 g) butter
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic
  • parmesan (or any other ground hard cheese) to taste

How to cook:

  1. Prepare the filling. If you’re using fresh spinach, wash carefully, dry, and chop. If the spinach is frozen, then defrost it, drain it, and chop it. Heat some oil in a frying pan and fry the spinach for about 7-9 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. Peel and finely chop the onion. Move the prepared spinach to a separate bowl and add some oil to the frying pan (1 tablespoon), then sauté the onion until soft (about 5 minutes). Add ricotta and sautéed onion to the spinach and stir. The filling is done!
  3. Fill a saucepan with water, add salt, put on heat on medium until boiling.
  4. Prepare the dough. Combine all ingredients following the recipe, knead it thoroughly for a while (you can first use a mixer, and then beat the dough with your hands). Then, divide the dough in halves and wrap each in plastic wrap so it does not dry up.
  5. In 10-15 minutes (30 minutes would be even better), unwrap the dough and roll it out in long, thin rectangular strips. The thinner the dough is, the better.
  6. Spread the filling on one layer of dough, making the tortellini the desired size. Cover the stripe of filling with another layer of dough. Press down with your fingers where the layers of dough join to form each tortellini.
  7. When the tortellini are ready, put them immediately into the boiling salt water. When they float to the surface, cook them for 3-4 minutes more, and then pull out with a slotted spoon to a plate.
  8. Prepare the sauce. Melt the butter and mix it with pressed garlic. Lay the tortellini out in a bowl (pour some sauce in the bottom so they don’t stick), spread the sauce over the tortellini, sprinkle with grated parmesan, and decorate with any green. Yum!

Minestrone Soup

“Minestrone“ means ”the soup of many different ingredients" in Italian. It is traditionally prepared in the summer with seasonal fresh vegetables, pasta, or rice. You can serve it hot or cold.


  • 88.2 oz (2.5 L) water
  • 7 oz (200 g) dried peas
  • 3.5 oz (100 g) rice
  • 4 tomatoes
  • 2 potato
  • 2 zucchini
  • 1 onion
  • 1 carrot
  • 1/2 head of cabbage
  • beans (1 can or 7-10.6 oz (200-300 g) of dry ones)
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • spices to taste (marjoram, basil, oregano, etc.)

How to cook:

  1. Cut the cabbage into strips, and dice zucchini, potato, carrot, and tomatoes. Slice the onion into semi-circles and fry in oil.
  2. Bring water to a boil, and put all vegetables (besides onions and peas) into the boiling water. Stew on a very low heat for 1-1.5 hours, then add the onion, washed rice, and peas. Cook until these ingredients are done.
  3. Before serving the soup, sprinkle it with grated cheese.


Frittata is a traditional Italian omelette with vegetables and cheese (ricotta or parmesan). Usually, frittata is first cooked on the stove and then transferred to the oven. It is a perfect and simple breakfast.


  • 6 eggs
  • 1/4 cup cream
  • 2-3 small sausages
  • 6-7 cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 package ricotta
  • finely chopped parsley or dill
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • basil to decorate the omelette

How to cook:

  1. Beat eggs with the cream, salt, and pepper. Mix until evenly blend, then add the green.
  2. Heat the frying pan, and add a tablespoon of olive oil. Fry sausages on both sides. When they’re soft, divide them into pieces with wooden spatula. Continue to fry until cooked.
  3. Pour the remaining olive oil into the frying pan. Lay half of the cooked sausage at the bottom, then pour in the egg mixture. Spread the slices of tomatoes and ricotta (use a spoon to dollop ricotta between tomatoes). Then, lay the remaining sausages on top.
  4. Put the frittata in the oven for 20-25 minutes.
  5. When the dish is ready, pull it out and let it cool for 5 minutes. Sprinkle with basil and serve.


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