100+ Traditional Italian Recipes

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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 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.

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

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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:


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

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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:

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