100+ Traditional Italian Recipes

Start the meal with simple small bites.

In Italy, big meals are treated as an event, with several courses of delicious, simple dishes and, of course, lots of good company. Learn about the traditional Italian meal, and choose recipes from each category to create your own Italian-style feast.

Antipasto

Antipasto translates to "before the meal," and it is meant to be a little something to whet the appetite. Antipasti can be as simple as a dish of stuffed olives or a more complex dishes salads and bruschetta.

Recipes to Try:

Primo

The first course of the actual meal, called the primo, is typically a small serving of soup, pasta, gnocchi, rice or polenta.

Recipes to Try:

Secondo 

The secondo is a small serving of fish, chicken or meat, and it's often grilled and served without sauce. Special occasions call for more elaborate dishes, like stews and stuffed braciole.

Make Rachael's impressive spinach-stuffed beef braciole for a weekend dinner.

Make Rachael's impressive spinach-stuffed beef braciole for a weekend dinner.


Recipes to Try:

Contorno 

The contorno is a simply cooked seasonal vegetable to accompany the secondo. One or more may be served at a meal.

Recipes to Try:

Dolce

Italians finish the meal with a dolce, which means sweet, and is traditionally fruit and biscotti. You might also try a fruit pie, called a crostata. Fancy desserts, such as cakes, are more likely to be reserved for special occasions.

Guests won't be able to resist David Rocco's tiramisu.

Guests won't be able to resist David Rocco's tiramisu.

Recipes to Try:

Keep Reading

Next Up

Pantry: Italian Essentials

A well-stocked pantry makes whipping up delicious Italian meals a snap. Countless dishes can be made from ingredients on hand, but with a quick dash through the express line for perishables, the options are limitless.

How to Cook Like an Italian Grandpa

Watch how to make eggplant Parmigiana, meatballs, chicken cacciatore and more like an authentic Italian grandpa with skills from the old country.

The Mind of a Pizza Master

On Cooking Channel's Pizza Masters, Sal Basille and Francis Garcia, owners of NYC's Artichoke Basille's Pizza, embark on a  mouthwatering exploration of Italian food across the country. We sat with the two pizza aficionados to find out more about running a pizza empire and the best slices in the world.

Meet the host of Simply Laura.

Meet the host of Cooking Channel's Simply Laura.

Meatless Monday: Pasta alla Norma “Nuda”

Although it’s traditionally tossed with ricotta salata, Italian duo Gabriele Corcos and Debi Mazar skip the aged cheese and call their version Pasta alla Norma “Nuda.”

David Rocco Bio

Learn more about Cooking Channels David Rocco host of David Roccos Dolce Vita and watch how he explores Italy and finds inspiration from fresh seasonal ingredients.

Giada De Laurentiis Bio

Learn more about Cooking Channels Giada De Laurentiis host of Everyday Italian and see how she makes easy Italian recipes for any occasion from quick weeknight meals to entertaining a crowd.

Watch the Pizza Masters Premiere and Say 'Bienvenidos a Miami'

Watch the Pizza Masters Season 2 premiere online for free.

On TV

The Grill Iron

7:30am | 6:30c

The Grill Iron

8:30am | 7:30c

The Grill Iron

9:30am | 8:30c

Top 5 Restaurants

10:30am | 9:30c

Guilty Pleasures

11:30am | 10:30c

Guilty Pleasures

12:30pm | 11:30c

Food: Fact or Fiction?

1:30pm | 12:30c

Unwrapped 2.0

3:30pm | 2:30c

Cake Hunters

4:30pm | 3:30c
On Tonight
On Tonight

Cupcake Wars

8pm | 7c

Cake Hunters

10pm | 9c

Cake Hunters

10:30pm | 9:30c

Cupcake Wars

11pm | 10c

Cupcake Wars

12am | 11c

Cupcake Wars

1am | 12c

Cake Hunters

2:30am | 1:30c