The Italian Food Bucket List: 32 Italian Dishes You Need to Try

Silas & Grace

A closeup photo of the Italian food, pasta carbonara. It shows a blue and white china bowl with a pasta on it. The pasta has a yellow sauce, what looks like bacon on it, and cheese on top. There's also a fork resting on the bowl.

Nothing is better than Italian food.

Ok maybe that’s not true, because if I had to pick my husband over Italian food, I’d pick him without even thinking.

But you get the idea! It’s fresh delicious ingredients with a whole lot of other incredible spices and herbs. 

And that’s why I decided to make an Italian Food Bucket List.

I recently started a series of ethnic food bucket lists and began with authentic Greek Food recipes. And honestly, it’s making me jealous that I’m not in Greece yet.

But the whole reason why I stared this series was because I wanted to push myself to try new things and help others to do the same! I think it’s a wonderful thing if we can find places in our lives to level-up, so I hope this series helps you out too!

Side Note: Make sure to grab the free Italian Food Bucket List Printable down below! 🙂

But First, What are the Top 10 Italian Dishes?

Before we delve in, I think it’s kind of cool to note the top 10 Italian dishes.

It’s just a really cool way of quickly understanding Italy’s cuisine, what’s the most popular, and what you’ve already tried!

Side Note: There are a lot of top dishes, but in my opinion and from looking over some information, these 10 seem to be must-tries if you go to Italy.

  1. Spaghetti all Carbonara: A super creamy and rich dish I’ve made plenty of times! It’s made with egg yolks, guanciale (or bacon), cheese, and pepper, so it’s kind of hard to not like this dish!
  2. Risotto: A wonderful dish that has rice soaking up all the seasonings and sauces. There are so many regional recipes for risotto, so I think it’s a fun one to explore!
  3. Polenta: Made simply from corn flour and water (or milk), it’s really hard to go wrong with this one since it tastes incredible and goes with so many recipes!
  4. Napoletana Pizza: I know it seems cliche, but pizza is a popular dish in Italy. However, it is a bit different than how we have it in the states. Made with tomatoes from a local Italian region and mozarella cheese, it’s hard to go wrong!
  5. Roman-Style Pizza: A much thinner pizza with a bit of a crunch, I think it’s a fun option to try!
  6. Cured Meats and Cheeses: A lot of European countries have their own versions of cured meats and cheeses, and Italy is definitely one of them! And with all the flavor their recipes have, I think it would be a missed opportunity if you didn’t try them! 
  7. Lasagna: Another common one we have in America and other countries, but it’s traditionally not made with tomato sauce!  Tomatoes were originally a new world ingredient, and lasagnas were made with different types of sauces.
  8. Gelato: It’s everywhere. I’ve been to Italy, it’s incredible tasting, and you’ll love it! Just make sure to only get gelato that doesn’t have that fancy whipped-up look. Those are made with fillers so that they can look more appealing to tourists.
  9. Ossobuco: A bone-in veal shank, its’ a famous dish in Italy. Also, it’s been slow-cooked with wine, veggies, and meat stock, so it’s packed with flavor!
  10. Fiorentina Steak: Also known as Bistecca Fiorentina, it’s a wonderful t-bone steak that’s been cooked for a short amount of time on the outside. 

Alright, now let’s get into the Italian Food Recipes Bucket List!

 

32 Italian Recipes to Try

1. Tortellini en Brodo (Tortellini Soup)

Image of Italian Tortellini Soup in a dark grey bowl. There's a spoon resting in the bowl and some Parmesan cheese shavings on top. Next to the bowl is some Tortellini pasta in another bowl.

Region: Emilia-Romagna

Have I Had it Yet: No

This soup looks so hearty and delicious! With ingredients like white wine, garlic, and Parmesan cheese, I don’t know how this Italian recipe couldn’t taste good.

I could just imagine myself grabbing a hot bowl of this tortellini soup, shaving some fresh parmesan on top, and sinking into a comfortable seat to devour it!

Chicken Tortellini Soup Recipe

2. Pasta Napoletana

Region: Napoli

Have I Had it Yet? Yes. Photo of my experiment above.

In Italy or At Home? Home.

Difficulty Level: Wasn’t that hard, I think all together, it should take under 30 minutes to cook.

Cooking Notes: Super tasty, but I look forward to trying it in Italy. Sauce wasn’t too heavy, but tasted just right and had a lot of flavor! Also, there were certain things I didn’t have like parmesan cheese for a topping or a can of crushed tomatoes. So I ended up cutting up 3 roma tomatoes and used a Spanish cheese. I look forward to trying it with a good 24 month parmigiano-reggiano in the future!

This dish coming straight from Naples looks so colorful and flavorful! It’s also a relatively simple recipe to make. With sautéed onions, garlic, basil, and fresh (or canned) tomatoes, I can’t imagine this not being on your meal plan this week.

Also, I’m pretty sure everyone at the table will think you’re some fancy cooking genius even though this just takes around 20 minutes to make. I love recipes like that. 😂 

Pasta Napoletana Recipe

 

3. Biscotti

An image of Italian biscotti being dunked into a small white cup of milky coffee. The cup is set on a pretty matching white plate and there's a wooden plate underneath as well. But under that is a pretty white kitchen cloth. Near the main cup of coffee is a plate with more biscotti stacked up on each other, a different cup of coffee, and a stove top coffee maker. The woman who's about to dunk the biscotti into the coffee is wearing a dark yellow knit sweater, but you can't see her face.

Region: Tuscany

Have I Had it Yet: Yes

love biscotti. I’ve always been fond of this dessert since I was a kid; it wasn’t too sweet and had a wonderful flavor!

I had heard at one point that biscotti was created to be a firm biscuit dessert that was made specifically for dipping into coffee while not crumbling away. But whether that’s true or not, I’m unsure. Either way though, it does pair well with a hot cup of coffee for an after-dinner treat!

Easy Almond Biscotti Recipe

4. Bucantini All’ Amatriciana

An image for the Italian recipe, Bucantini All' Amatriciana. In the photo you see spaghetti noodles in a white bowl with a red pasta sauce mixed into it. You also see part of a cheese grater and a white cheese being grated on top. There are also some green herbs torn and throw on top.

Region: Lazio

Have I Had it Yet: No

I’m pretty sure I could eat an entire bowl of this Italian dish and not even blink.

I love the fact that it’s made with black pepper and chiles giving it a bit of a kick. Also with the guanciale, an Italian cured meat, I could imagine this being an incredibly rich tasty dish where I keep on coming back to it over the months as a go-to recipe

Bucantini All’ Amatriciana Recipe

 

5. Osso Bucco Recipe ‘alla Milanese’

A photo of the Italian food recipe, Osso Bucco. It shows a closeup image with yellow rice. And on top of the rice is meat, herbs, carrots, and other veggies.

Region: Lombardy

Have I Had it Yet: No

A slow cooked veal recipe with a white wine gravy and fresh herbs, I honestly don’t know how you couldn’t make this recipe.

I mean slow cooker meals are already pretty good, but making a traditional slow cooked Italian food recipe sounds even better.  There’s just something about those old world recipes that take a lot of time to make and end up tasting like you’re eating at a fancy restaurant right in the middle of Milan.

I guess in the end, if you’re just looking for food for Italy, this one looks like it’s a winner. 👌 

Osso Bucco Recipe ‘alla Milanese’ Recipe

6. Carbonara

An image of pasta Carbonara, a creamy Italian pasta dish with spaghetti noodles and a creamy sauce made with egg yolks, cheese, and other ingredients. There's also cut up meat in the mix. In the photo, it's on a blue and white china plate and has black pepper and cheese sprinkled on top.
A closeup image of the Italian pasta recipes, Carbonara. It shows spaghetti noodles tossed in a creamy egg yolk sauce with cheese sprinkled on top and what looks like bacon mixed in. In the background is a waiter slicing up a freshly made pizza because it's in a restaurant.

Region: Lazio

Have I Had it Yet? Yes. Photo of my experiment above.

In Italy or At Home? In Italy and at home.

Difficulty Level: Very easy! Super simple ingredients that all taste great together!

Cooking Notes: Very creamy and rich. Also, the bacon really does add that nice savory crispy flavor and texture to it! One thing to note is to make sure you don’t cook it in the egg yolk sauce for too long or at too high of a temperature. Otherwise the egg will start to cook and you’ll have scrambled eggs in your pasta. 😂

Carbonara has to be one of the most simple yet delicious Italian pasta dishes to try. And when I say simple, I mean it. I’ve made this recipe countless times and it’s on the table for dinner in no time flat.

Like this should be in all of our quick-recipe arsenals.

But apart from how easy it is, it’s made with a delicious creamy concoction of egg yolks, bacon (or pancetta), black pepper, and cheese. So basically comfort food heaven. 👌  

Carbonara Recipe

 

7. Stracciatella Soup (Italian Egg Drop Soup)

An image of Stracciatella Soup, which is another Italian recipe. You see a pot placed on a table with two bowls by it. They're all filled with the soup. The soup has a type of pasta, maybe tortellini, in it. There are also different veggies and some cheese grated on top. There's also a small bowl with a spoon inside and it's filled up with a grated cheese. Next to the bowls are some wooden spoons, ready to be used.

Region: Marche, Lazio, Abruzzo

Have I Had it Yet: No

This feels like the kind of soup you’d have on a cold autumn day. And when it’s packed with yummy ingredients, that just makes it even more of a comfort food.

I mean, with cheese, eggs, and tortellini, how do you even go wrong? Like this all sounds so incredibly good! I could also just imagine paring this with freshly baked bread. ❤️ 

Stracciatella Soup Recipe

8. Spaghetti Arrabiata

A photo of a spicy Italian food recipe called, Spaghetti Arrabiata. It shows a shot looking straight down into the bowl. The bowl is filled with a red sauce spaghetti. The noodles look kind of thick and there is some cheese, pepper flakes, and sliced chilies sprinkled on top. Around the bowl are some slices of bread, a small spice bowl with chill flakes, and a sliced up red chili with the stem still on. There's also what looks like a cup of black coffee near the pasta.

Region: Lazio

Have I Had it Yet: No

The recipe uses spaghetti, however the traditionally recipe uses penne rigate if you’re curious!

Also, it’s another wonderful spicy pasta dish! Made with garlic, chili flakes, olive oil, tomatoes, and cheese, I think you’re gonna need a fresh loaf of bread to soak up all the juices.

Spaghetti Arrabiata Recipe

9. Italian Cheeses

A photo taken at a restaurant of a long glass cheese plate. There are different Italian cheeses stacked on each other or places artfully on the plate. The cheese nearest the camera has walnuts placed around it and on top with olive oil drizzled on top as well. The are also some greens placed right under what looks like a fresh mozzarella ball that's been cut in half. There's a three prong fork placed on the plate too.

When you go to Italy, trying their cheeses is kind of a must. 

I remember going to the restaurant that you see in the photo above and trying their cheeses and they were so good! There are so many flavors to try!

Here are some cheeses you might want to put on your list for when you go to Italy or the closest specialty grocery store:

  • Pecorino: Hard cheeses that come from sheep’s milk.
  • Asiago: A cow’s milk cheese that’s hard or semi-hard.
  • Ricotta: A creamy milk cheese with a curd-like texture. Great for many recipes.
  • Mascarpone: A creamy cheese that you can whip or spread on bread. 
  • Taleggio: Semi-soft with a strong aroma. It become softer when it’s warm out and can go with dishes such with risotto, a cheeseboards, and more.
  • Parmigiano-Reggiano: Different than the (sadly fake) parmesan you get in the stores and so much better. Would highly recommend looking for a Parmigiano-Reggiano in a specialty store that’s been aged for 24 months (it’ll say it on the wrapper).
  • Gorgonzola: A crumbly Italian blue cheese.
  • Provolone: A soft cheese used for sandwiches and made from cow’s milk.
  • Fontina: A semi-soft to hard cheese made with cow’s milk.
  • Mozzarella: A classic many people have already had and goes well on many things.
 

10. Gelato

A photo of Italian gelato taken in a gelato shop in Rome, Italy. There's a mint green and white VW van in the background and a woman's hand holding up a small cup of gelato to the camera, with a plastic spoon sticking out of the gelato. The cup has a cartoon of a cute happy pistachio and the name of the gelato shop which is, "Verde Pistacchio."

A classic that I think the majority of us love! Also, I think it would be strange not to put it on our list of foods of Italy to try.

It’s a creamy cold dessert made with cream, egg yolks, whole milk, sugar, and any other flavors you want.

Here’s a gelato recipe if you want to try it at home!

11. Aubergine Pasta (Pasta alla Norma)

A photo of the Italian recipe, Aubergine Pasta. It shows an overhead view of a big dish filled with spiral pasta, topped with herbs, and mixed with other good ingredients such as tomatoes and aubergine (eggplant). It's also topped with Parmesan flaked on top and the entire dish is lined with small little bread biscuits. Near the serving platter is a bottle of wine and herbs placed around it.

Region: Sicily

Have I Had it Yet: No

I LOVE making big pots of pasta mixed with spices and herbs and other yummy ingredients. And this Aubergine Pasta recipe looks SO incredibly good. 

A classic in Sicily, it’s a delicious concoction of eggplant, olive oil, basil, and more. I can’t wait to try this one!

Aubergine Pasta (Pasta alla Norma)

 

12. Zeppole Di San Giuseppe (St. Joseph Pastries)

A close up photo of the Italian pastry dessert, Zeppole Di San Giuseppe (or St. Joseph Pastries). It's a small pastry where the dough looks like it was squeezed out of a pastry decorating tube and made into a round shape. Then in the middle is a cream filling, squeezed out in the same way, and a cherry on top. There are more of them in the background.

Region: Regions south of Rome such as southern Lazio and Salerno

Have I Had it Yet: No

Enjoyed on March 19th to celebrate St. Joseph, these pastries filled with cream look incredible! 

Now I don’t know what the Italians drink them with, but I think these would go great with a cup of espresso!

Oh also, they’re either fried or baked, so I’m really excited to try both versions.

Zeppole Di San Giuseppe Recipes

13. Stracotto (Italian Pot Roast with Pasta)

A closeup photo of a blue-green bowl holding spiral pasta and an Italian slow cooked and sliced beef on top with herbs and cheese grated on top.

Region: Tuscany

Have I Had it Yet: No

I’ve never been a bit fan of pot roast growing up, but I think that if I tried this, I’d be converted.

I read the description for this one and I know I’m gonna love it when I either make it myself or have it in Italy.

With wine, cheese, pancetta, garlic, and sun-dried tomatoes, I don’t know how this couldn’t be good.

Stracotto (Italian Pot Roast with Pasta) Recipe

 

14. Rosemary Focaccia Bread

An overhead shot of a white baking dish with Italian Rosemary Focaccia Bread baked inside. There's small pieces of rosemary on top, and around the dish are sprigs of rosemary and cherry tomatoes rolled out onto the dark wood surface.

Region: Liguria

Have I Had it Yet: Yes

The first time I tried this recipe was in an upscale Italian restaurant in Mexico City. We had a friend recommend the place and I seriously need to go back. 

When it comes to fine dining or anything upscale, I have no “oh, this is fancy, therefore it must be good” filter. 

If it’s good, it’s good, and if it’s bad, it’s bad; I don’t fake myself out.

And all I have to say is that rosemary focaccia bread is so good! It’s melts in your mouth, is super soft, and the rosemary and other ingredients make this irresistible! 

Rosemary Focaccia Bread Recipe

15. Abbacchio alla Cacciatora (Roman Lamb Stew)

A photo of a black plate holding the Italian stewed lamb recipes. The lamb is cut into pieces, piled on each other, and its juices pooled around the meat. There's also broccoli and sliced potatoes as a side on the plate. Underneath is a white kitchen cloth with grey-blue stripes on the sides. Also, there's a little bit of rosemary on top of the meat and the a sprig of rosemary on the side.

Region: Lazio

Have I Had it Yet: No

This looks like the perfect home cookin’ meal.

Also, because it’s Italian, you know it’s going to packed with flavor!

Made with garlic, wine vinegar, rosemary and so many other good ingredients, this should probably be on your meal plan for this week!

Abbacchio alla Cacciatora Recipe

16. Italian Tiramisu

A photo of Italian Tiramisu, a layers creamy cake recipe with cacao powder dusted on top. It shows a fork taking a piece out of the tiramisu and holding it for the camera to see. Also, the tiramisu is cut into a square.

Region: Treviso

Have I Had it Yet: Yes

I LOVE Italian tiramisu. I mean, it’s hard to go wrong with a layered cake that’s had biscuits soaked in espresso. Just make sure the espresso is good quality!

Oh, and it’s a no-bake Italian recipe meaning it’s the perfect dessert recipe for either two situations:

  1. You’re having friends and family over, you want a fancy dessert, but you don’t want to take a ton of time in the kitchen with all the different dishes for the evening.
  2. You just want to try a new dish but also don’t want to heat up the home because it’s a hot day. 

Also, if you like coffee, then it’s simply just a good recipe to try!

Tiramisu Recipe

 

17. Gnocchetti Pasta (Malloreddus or Gnocchetti Sardi)

An overhead photo of Italian Gnocchetti Pasta. The pasta looks like normal gnocchi which are like soft small little pillows that have ridges in them.

Region: Sardinia

Have I Had it Yet: No

I’ve always wanted to make homemade pasta, and this is going on my list!

Now gnocchi is widely known for being made with potatoes, but this Sardinian specialty is simply made with Semolina flour and water.

And once you have it made, you can test it out with different sauces! That’s the cool thing about Italian cooking if you want to go a non-authentic route.

You can take different pastas and sauces and change them up. So for instance, last year I tried using gnocchi with a sauce meant for Risotto alla Milanese and it was incredible!

Gnocchetti Pasta Recipe

18. Lemon Ricotta Cake

And overhead photo of the Italian dessert, Lemon Ricotta Cake. The white plate holds a round cake that's dusted with powdered sugar and topped with sliced almonds and a sliced piece of lemon that's been twisted around in an artful way. On the side of the plate are four slices of lemons and a bit of sliced almonds for decoration. Around the cake plate, on the table, are more almond pieces, a plate with forks on it, and what looks like a white linen cloth.

Region: Sicily

Have I Had it Yet: No

Lemon ricotta cake sounds incredibly delicious.

I’ve had the combination of lemon and ricotta in other sweet dishes before and so I’m definitely excited to try it with a cake. There’s something so moist and decadent about the ingredients being used in a recipe. 

And I’m sure the Italians do it expertly!

Lemon Ricotta Cake Recipe

19. Tuscan Ribollita Soup

 A photo of the Italian food recipe, Tuscan Ribollita Soup. It shows a closeup overhead image of a white bowl holding a hearty veggie soup that's piled high with colorful tasty veggies and topped with grated cheese. On the side of the bowl is a cheese grater and cheese resting on top. Also there's a sprig of what looks like rosemary near the bowl and a white kitchen cloth resting under the bowl.

Region: Tuscany

Have I Had it Yet: No

I feel like this is the kind of hearty soup that’s packed with flavor and nutrients, and ready to be served on a cold day.

Also, it being made with garlic, day old bread, potatoes, and olive oil (among other ingredients) means it’s probably gonna taste like a soup you’d get in a high quality Italian restaurant.

 The kind that makes you go, “I wish I had the recipe for this!” But in this case you do, so go ahead and try it and let me know what you think!

Tuscan Ribollita Soup Recipe

 

20. Pasta Al Forno

A photo of Pasta Al Forno, an Italian baked pasta dish. It shows a white baking dish, and someone taking out a large scoop of a cheesy saucy baked pasta. The pasta are short large tubes and they're covered in cheese and a red sauce. There are some plates in the background and a red kitchen cloth under the baking dish.

Region: Calabria

Have I Had it Yet: No

Baked pasta dishes are probably one of the best ideas when it comes to cooking, and I’m going to assume that the Italians do it expertly.

This is an Italian food I would try in a heartbeat! It’s cheesy and creamy and filled with meats, olive oil, different cheeses, and so much more.

It’s the kind of dish you’d make if you didn’t just want to make a normal American pasta bake, but something really authentic!

Pasta Al Forno Recipe

21. Gnocchi alla Sorrentina

The photo shows the Italian recipe, Gnocchi alla Sorrentina. There's a red cooking pan with a saucy cheesy gnocchi bake inside. The cheese is melted on top in certain spots and it's also topped with basil. There's also some blue plates stacked in the background with some silverware on top, some sprigs of fresh basil, and a white and red kitchen cloth underneath the cooking dish.

Region: Campania

Have I Had it Yet: No

Imagine this: Soft pillowy gnocchi soaked in a garlicky, creamy, cheesy, tangy sauce and packed with tons of flavor from different herbs and spices.

That’s this Italian comfort food recipe right here.

It’s the kind of recipe you make when you’ve had a long and/or hard day and you just want to feel good.

Gnocchi alla Sorrentina Recipe

 

22. Penne Pomodoro

An overhead shot of the Italian dish, Penne Pomodoro. It shows a white bowl holding a penne pasta with an almost creamy looking red sauce and topped with grated cheese and a bit of basil. Around the plate is a grey plate with more grated cheese, another plate with some basil on it and a small little bowl of black pepper. There's also a three prong fork near the plate, a light grey kitchen cloth underneath the bowl, and a couple more leaves of basil on the table.

Region: Campania

Have I Had it Yet: No

It’s a simple pasta dish with an easy but delicious sauce. This is basically for the people who don’t want a pasta sauce out of a jar, but want to make something homemade.

And with basil, crushed garlic, tomatoes, onions, cheese, and other ingredients, it’s a great recipe to make for a date night at home if you’re both craving Italian food. 🙂

Penne Pomodoro Recipe

23. Penne Arrabbiata

A spicy Italian recipe called Penne Arrabbiata. It shows an overhead photo of a white bowl with a blue rim and a red sauce penne pasta inside. There's crushed tomatoes and herbs on top. Around the bowl is a white and red checked kitchen cloth, herbs, a wood bowl with chili flakes, and a cheese grater with cheese resting on top.

Region: Lazio

Have I Had it Yet: No

Another simple pasta dish for a quick dinner night, but this time it’s spicy!

I think spicy pasta recipes are some of the funnest dishes to eat and you can always alter the amount of spice you add into the recipe.

Also, it takes just 20 minutes to make this spicy, garlicky, and tangy Italian recipe so I think it’s worth testing out; you’re not investing a ton of time into the process!

Penne Arrabbiata Recipe

 

24. Beef Braciole Recipe (Braciola)

A photo of Italian Beef Braciole Recipe. It shows an image of a grey serving dish filled with rolled slices of beef with a filling inside. It's sitting in a reddish-brown sauce and topped with herbs and crushed tomatoes.

Region: Apulia

Have I Had it Yet: No

I love meat dishes swimming in a delicious sauce and this Beef Braciole looks so good!

Basically, it’s thin slices of beef filled with parmesan, breadcrumbs, garlic, and parsley, then slowly braised in a wine sauce. It’s kind of the perfect Italian dish you need for those nights where you’re craving something super savory and filling!

Beef Braciole Recipe

25. Canestrelli (Italian Egg Yolk Cookies)

A photo of Italian Canestrelli cookies. There's a white and blue china plate that holds three shortbread looking cookies. They're in the shape of a flower with a hole in the middle. They're slightly stacked on each other. Near the plate is a wooden plate with more of the cookies, and a white and brown mug of coffee. There's also a spoon near the plate as well.

Region: Piedmont

Have I Had it Yet: No

I think we need some more sweets in this list of savory Italian foods!

And these Italian egg yolk cookies look like they’d go great on a cookie tray or with a hot cup of coffee or tea.

Also, these shortbread cookies are made with vanilla bean, lemon zest, and butter so I think they’re the perfect sweet treat!

Canestrelli Recipe

26. Castagnaccio (Italian Chestnut Cake)

A photo of Castagnaccio which is an Italian chestnut cake. It's an overhead shot of a baking pan with a dark chocolate looking cake with crumbled nuts, dried berries, and a few tiny pieces of rosemary on top. Around the cake is a bowl of nuts, dried fruits, a sprig of rosemary, a knife, and a white and green kitchen cloth.

Region: Liguria, Tuscany, Piedmont, and Emilia-Romagna regions

Have I Had it Yet: No

I love chestnut desserts! I once had this small hand-held super fudgy dark chocolate cake with a chestnut and chestnut filling in the center. I got it from this incredible chocolate shop in Japan and it was so decadent, but not crazy sweet!

And because of that experience, I am so up for trying this Italian chestnut cake. It looks completely different, but I’m going to bet that it tastes just as good!

Castagnaccio Recipe

27. Bolognese Sauce

A closeup shot of a Bolognese Sauce recipe. It's an Italian red sauce that's filled with meat and other good ingredients. There's a spoon slightly lifting out of the pan and holding some of the sauce in it. There's also cheese, basil, a bowl of pasta, and tomatoes around the dish.

Region: Emilia-Romagna 

Have I Had it Yet: Yes

If you have the right sauce, you can make almost anything taste good.

And I’m going to go out on a limb and say that this bolognese sauce would go well on so many different types of pastas and meats!

Also, it’s slow cooked for an hour with meats, spices, wine, garlic, olive oil, herbs and so many other tasty ingredients. I honestly can’t wait to try this with pasta that traditionally goes with bolognese sauce or even something that’s not traditional as well!

Bolognese Sauce Recipe

 

28. Pizza Giana Rustica (Italian Savory Easter Pie)

A photo of a single slice of Pizza Giana Rustica, which is an Italian Savory Easter Pie. It's cut like a normal slice of pie and it's really tall. It's placed on top of a stack of three black plate. And in the background is the rest of the pie. The pie is filled with eggs, multiple meats, cheese, and many other ingredients.

Region: Campania

Have I Had it Yet: No

I love trying ethnic foods that are based around a holiday, and I also love savory pie recipes, so this is going up pretty high on my list!

Also, even if you don’t celebrate Easter, I think it might be a hearty Italian recipe to make for breakfast. You know, the kind of breakfast you pre-make and then continue to have every morning until it’s gone.

It has eggs, multiple kinds of meat, plenty of spices, garlic, cheese, puff pasty, and so much more; I honestly don’t know how you can’t try this!

Pizza Giana Rustica Recipe

29. Ragu alla Bolognese

A photo of a black plate holding the Italian pasta dish, Ragu alla Bolognese. They're long wide noodles piled on each other with a red meat sauce mixed throughout. There's a sprig of basil on top, and a hand holding a fork taking a bit of it from the plate. Around the plate of pasta is another plate of bread with bread pieces also on the table. Also, there's what looks like a bottle of wine and a grey kitchen cloth right around the plate.

Region: Emilia-Romagna

Have I Had it Yet: No

Big thick pasta is kind of the best.

The texture is so good and it holds so much more sauce on it.

Like this is the kind of dinner you make when you either want to have a date night in and have things be fancy. Or, you have your friends over for the evening and you’re all swapping stories and watching a movie with a big bowl of this recipe. And probably going back for seconds and thirds!

Ragu alla Bolognese Recipe

 

30. Lasagna al Forno

A photo of the Italian recipe, Lasagna al Forno. it shows a grey plate holding a square slice of lasagna, someone poking a fork into it, and some greens on the side. In the background is a bottle of wine, a glass of the poured wine, bread, and the dish with the rest of the lasagna. There's also a bit of shredded cheese around the plate.

Region: Emilia-Romagna

Have I Had it Yet: No

Lasagna actually is an authentic recipe, but they make it a bit different.

In this one, they have a bolognese sauce and a béchamel sauce which makes this a super creamy and rich lasagna recipe. I honestly don’t think Olive Garden could win here!

Oh and as a fun fact, it was originally made with no tomato based sauces. Tomatoes were a new world ingredient, so that hadn’t been incorporated into the Italian diet just yet. I find small bits of history like this so interesting!

Lasagna al Forno Recipe

31. Torta Pasqualina

A photo of a baked savory stuffed puff pastry Italian recipe. It looks like it's filled with cheese, egg, and some spinach. There are two slices of the pastry dish on a wood platter, one of them has a hard boiled egg in it. And in the background are the rest of the pieces placed on a different wood platter in the shape of a pie.

Region: Liguria

Have I Had it Yet: No

Puff pastry, egg, garlic, ricotta, spinach, and so many other yummy ingredients! I would try this in a heartbeat if I walked into an Italian bakery!

I’m honestly not the biggest fan of things with cooked spinach in them, however, this looks like it has quite a bit of spices and other flavors, so I don’t think it should bother me. 😉 

Torta Pasqualina Recipe

32. Pasta Napoletana

A photo of the Italian recipe, Pasta Napoletana. It shows a red pot with bow tie pasta and other fresh veggies mixed together. There's also a lot of shaved Parmesan cheese on top and a wood spoon placed into the pasta. The background is a white looking table top and there is a sprig of basil and a bowl of cheese near the pot.

Region: Campania

Have I Had it Yet: No

Ok, so this one isn’t a one-pot recipe, but it’s pretty close! You just need one pot for cooking the pasta (which takes no time) and one pot for cooking the ingredients and stirring the pasta in.

And with plenty of fresh ingredients like tomatoes and basil and shallots, I feel like this recipe is going to be packed with flavor. Also, it’s the kind of dinner you eat on a summer evening with your significant other or a friend. 🙂

Pasta Napoletana Recipe

 

Other Fun Facts About Italian Cuisine

Alright, now that we have this list of 30 recipes for Italian Food done, I think it’d be cool to know the different interesting facts about Italians and their dishes.

So if you’ve been looking up questions about food for Italy and want to know more, then here are some good answers that might help you out. 

1. What Do Italians Eat a Lot Of?

So after looking at some answers from Italians talking about their daily meals, here’s what I found!

  • For breakfast, they will have something quick like a croissant (or some other bread based meal) with jam and a coffee. Very easy!
  • For dinner, Pasta. Sometimes this might just be a leftover.
  • For dinner, meats, fishes, cheese, legumes, and veggies. They make different recipes with these ingredients of course, but it seems to be a common theme.
  • Other common ingredients and dishes consist of olive oil, wine, pizza, risotto, and polenta.

Of course, foods vary and changes across the different regions, but this is what I noticed quite a bit of. And if you want to know more then definitely do your own research, it’s very interesting!

2. What Did Italy Eat Before Pasta?

I know that it’s kind of hard for us to imagine a time when Italians didn’t eat pasta, but it was definitely the case!

But first, I think it’s important to note that Italy was separated into different states at one point. There was no Italy as we know it today, so the regional foods varied.

However there are different records of what people were eating hundreds of years ago, so we get a bit of insight.

In some of the coastal regions, they would eat plenty of fish and have other fresh ingredients like olives and lemons.

Also, cheeses, goats, leeks, and artichokes were definitely common!

 

3. Why Do Italians Eat Dinner So Late?

This one is simple! It goes back to the tradition of eating after the heat of the day.

Also, because the work day has two separate parts to it and there’s a break in between, they don’t get out of work until after 7:30 PM. 

Of course this isn’t across the board, many people have different types of work, but it’s true for many!

Your Free Italian Food Bucket List Printable

Now lastly, I just wanted to give you your own free Italian food bucket list printable so that you can make this kind of like a check off game.

You can use it when you’re either cooking at home or when traveling and wanting to try food in Italy.

Have fun! 🙂

Photo of a white printable page on a white background. The printable is an Italian Food Bucket List, and it has different food categories you can check off such as Mains, Desserts, and Side Dishes. And next to the printable, on the left side, it says, "The Italian Food Bucket List." And underneath this is a pink button with writing on it. The writing says, "Grab for Free!"

I can’t wait to start knocking off more of these recipes when I go back to Italy or if I make them from my own kitchen. They all look so good and I can only imagine how good these Italian food dishes are going to make my home smell!

And if you try them too, then let me know! I’d love to hear how it went. 🙂

 
Food Food & Drink Leveling Up Your Cooking

Silas & Grace

Chasing Foxes was started in 2016 as a way for Grace and her husband, Silas, to start traveling. However, they started to realize that they had a passion for improving themselves, and wanted to help others level up their lives as well. So whether it's with cooking, travel, or staying healthy, they want to help you better your life bit by bit, as they do the same.

2 thoughts on “The Italian Food Bucket List: 32 Italian Dishes You Need to Try”

  1. I am a lover of Italian food and I am so excited to see this recipe, I have read your recipe carefully, including all the preparation process, thank you very much!

    Reply

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