Quick, or Easy Italian Recipes
- Quick, Easy Cutlets, Braciole, and Scaloppine
- Quick, Easy Fish
- Quick, Easy Vegetables
- Quick, or Easy Italian Desserts
Quick, Easy Soups
Much of Italy lived on soup in the past, and soups still play a major role in the diet, especially in the cooler winter months, when people make big pots of broth, enjoy boiled dinner, and have the wherewithal for quick, clear broth-based soups for several days. If you do not have broth, use unsalted bouillon if the recipe calls for broth.
- Stracciatella, Roman Egg Drop Soup: Tasty and refreshing
- Acquacotta, or Cooked Water: Frugal Tuscan peasant food
- Minestra di Riso con Lenticchie e Spinaci, or Lentil Soup with Rice and Spinach
- Cacciucco alla Livornese: A Zesty fish soup
- Tortellini in Broth: Fast, it you buy the tortellini and have broth
- Gnocchi in Broth: Easy, and quite satisfying.
- Canederli, or bread balls, in Broth: A treat from the Alto Adige
- Pasta in Brodo, or Pasta in Broth: A winter standby
- Salamureci: For want of a better term, a chilled tomato soup
- Zuppa Fredda alla Menta, or Chilled Mint Soup: A refreshing summer soup
Quick, Easy Pasta Dishes
A great many pasta sauce can be prepared in the time it takes a pot of water to boil and the pasta to cook. Here's a selection of some of my personal favorite quick, easy pasta dishes.
- Pasta Aglio E Olio: Tasty at table and a great late night snack too!
- Spaghetti al Pesto: Perfect for Summer
- Bucatini all'Amatriciana: A Zesty Roman Recipe
- Quattro Formaggi: Four Cheeses!
- Paste al Salmone, with Smoked Salmon: Romantic, and easy to do too.
- Penne alla Vodka: A creamy tomato sauce with an added touch
- Spaghetti alle Vongole: With clams, in a white (tomato-free) sauce
- Pasta All'Ammigraglio: A tasty, tomatoey pasta salad
- Spaghetti alla Cabonara: Pancetta and eggs over pasta sound odd, but...
- Penne alla Fiesolana: A cream sauce, and Alfredo too
- Sugo alla Puttanesca: A zesty summer sauce with randy origins
- Spaghetti Cacio e Pepe, a Cheesy, Peppery, Zesty Roman Dish
- Orecchiette coi Broccoletti: A classic Apulian sauce with broccoli raab
Making risotto is much easier than people think: You sauté the flavorings, and the rice, and then add boiling water or stock a bit at a time until it's delightfully creamy and the grains are cooked through. You do have to watch the pot, but rice cooks quickly so it doesn't take long.
- Risotto ai Funghi Porcini, Mushroom Risotto: The scents of fall
- Risotto alle Fragole, Strawberry Risotto: A springtime treat!
- Risotto coi Gamberetti, with Shrimp: Perfect for a romantic occasion
- Red Wine Risotto: A Northern Classic
- Risotto Con Le Luganeghe, with Sausages: Substantial but no Tomato
- Risotto con le Salsicce, with Sausages: A little lighter, and with Tomato
- Risi e Bisi, Risotto with peas: A Venetian Classic
- Risotto con gli Asparagi, with Asparagus: Greeting Spring!
- Rimini's Fish Risotto: Simple and satisfying
Granted, stews aren't quick, but they are generally easy to do, and once you have the ingredients in the pot you simply turn down the heat and let them simmer until they're done, checking on them every now and then. Here are some of my favorite easy Italian Stews.
- Ossibuchi al Sugo: Stewed veal or beef shanks, and pasta sauce too.
- Pollo alla Marengo: Napoleon's Victory Chicken Stew
- Peposo: Impruneta's peppery answer to chili
- Pollo alla Cacciatora: There are many variations on chicken cacciatore
- Brasato al Barolo: Beef braised in a hearty red wine
- Graziella's String Bean Stew: A summer treat kids love
- Pastisada: A Veronese Stew Similar to Goulash
- Cinghiale al Ginepro, or Boar with Juniper Berries: Good with venison too
- Agnello alla Pecorara Con Cipolle, Shepherd's Lamb with Onions: Easy and good
- Trippa, or Tripe: Just set it to simmering...
Quick, Easy Grilled Meats
Italians have been cooking meats over the coals since the dawn of History -- there are grilling scenes in Etruscan tombs -- and once you have the hang of it, grilling is as quick and easy a technique as one could imagine. Time? Depends upon the thickness of the meat, and a thicker cut (or a split chicken) really cannot be rushed.
- Bistecca alla Fiorentina: The classic Porterhouse Cut, over the coals
- Pollo al Mattone: Chicken squashed flat by a brick, and Etruscan recipe
- Vittorio's Grilled Chicken: Simple, and very good
- Pancetta alla Griglia, or Fresh Pork Side: Unusual, but nice at a cookout.
- Polpettine alla Griglia, or Grilled Sicilian Meatballs
- Scottadito alla Diavola: Lamb Chops with a Zesty Sauce
- Rosticciana: Pork Spare Ribs, a Tuscan Treat
- Spiedini: Italian Kebabs - Much Quick, Easy Variety
Quick, Easy Cutlets, Braciole, and Scaloppine
The names applied to cutlets, chops, and scallops vary considerably from place to place in Italy. In some areas a cotoletta is a chop, with bone, and in others it is simply a thin slice of meat. Likewise, in some parts of Italy braciole are flat, and in others they're rolled up (what are called involtini where braciole are flat). In short, the names can be confusing, but the dishes are tasty, quick, and easy to prepare.
- Carne alla Pizzaiola: Cutlets with Tomato sauce, Oregano and more, Very nice.
- Saltimbocca alla Romana: Saltimbocca means "hopinthemouth," and they seem to.
- Chicken (or Beef) Marsala: Simple, and quite nice
- Piccata di Vitella: Scaloppini with Parsley
- Turkey Breast Filets with Peppers and Black Olives: From Bologna
- Filetto al Pepe Verde, or Fillet with Green Pepper: Rather Romantic, too
- Cotoletta alla Milanese, or Breaded Veal Cutlet: It can be great!
- Cotolette alla Bolognese, known in the English Speaking world as Veal Parmigiana
- Costolette alla Valdostana, Val D'Aosta-Style Cutlets: Cheesy Delights
- Veal Cutlets with Lemon Sauce: Chicken or Turkey breast will work too
- Braciole Fritte alla Fiorentina, Braciole Recooked with Tomato Sauce
Quick, Easy Fish
Italy has thousands of miles of coastline, with all kinds of sea bottoms. As a result, the fish supply is rich and varied, and as you might expect, fish play a major role in the diet. Here's a selection of quick, easy Italian fish recipes:
- Zuppa di Cozze o Vongole al Pomodoro, Mussel or Clam soup with Tomato Sauce
- Scampi alla Piastra, or Shrimp Scampi: A perennial favorite
- Fritto misto di Pesce, or Mixed Fried Seafood: A summer treat
- Pesce alla Griglia, or Grilled Fish: A great treat, and easy too
- Pesce Lesso, or Boiled Fish: Easy, and presents beautifully
- Sogliola alle Olive, Sole with Olives: Quick, and quite nice
- Triglie alla Livornese, or Reef Mullet Livorno Style: Quick and zesty
- Sogliola alla Mugnaia, or Sole Meunière: A favorite with children
- Tunnu a Palirmitana: Tuna steaks, grilled with lemon, rosemary, and sage
- Steamed White Fish with a Tomatoey Olive-and-Caper Sauce
- Filetti di Branzino in Crosta, Sea Bass Fillets En Croute
- Triglie con Olive e Peperoni, Reef Mullet with Olives and Bell Peppers
Quick, Easy Vegetables
The Italian diet is extraordinarily rich in vegetables: Summers are long, winters are mild, and something's always coming into season, for example the rich leafy (and flowering) cabbages of the winter months, or the peppers and tomatoes that add a refreshing touch to so many summer dishes. In the past, the role of vegetables was even more important, because few could afford to eat meat much more than once a week, and therefore the vast majority owed their survival to vegetables, legumes (Italy has many kinds of beans and lentils), and staples one might not expect today, such as chestnuts.
- Spinaci Rifatti, or Sauteed Spinach: A standard winter side dish in the north
- Fagiolini in Umido, or Stewed String Beans: A side dish or a main course
- La Caponatina: A quick version of Sicily's signature vegetable dish
- Zucchine in Padella, or Sauteed Zucchini: A simple Roman summer recipe
- Salads Galore: A Selection of Quick Italian Salads for All Seasons
- Rape Nfucate, Fiery Broccoli Rabe: Zesty South Italian winter fare
- Finocchi Gratinati, Broiled Fennel: Another wonderful winter dish
- Patate coi Carciofi, Potatoes with Artichokes: Simplicity, from Nonna Anna
- Pomodori ai Peperoni, Tomatoes Stuffed with Peppers: An inspired combination!
- Peperonata Rustica: Stewed Peppers, a Summer Treat
- Anthony's Mediterranean Tomato Salad
Quick, or Easy Italian Desserts
The quickest dessert, other than a bowl of ice cream, is a perfectly ripe piece of fresh fruit, and this is how Italians usually end their day-to-day meals. But if you want a little more, here are some ideas. Incidentally, the cake shown is a Cassata alla Siciliana, and is neither easy nor quick. But it is beautiful, and is the sort of dessert many Italians would stop by a pastry shop to purchase on their way to a meal at a friend or relative's house.
- Pasta Frolla, or Shortbread: Use it to make crostate (pies), cookies and more
- Fragole all'Aceto Balsamico or Strawberries with Balsamic Vinegar
- Arance al Marsala, or Oranges in Marsala Wine
- Tiramisu: Wife Elisabetta's recipe is still my favorite
- Mousse di Melone, or Cantaloupe Mousse: Very easy, and very nice
- Cenci, or Frappe, or Bugie, or... Carnival treats for kids of all ages
- Schiacciata alla Fiorentina: A wonderful orangy cake. Foolproof, too.
- Budino Di Riso, or Rice Pudding: Classic North Italian home cooking
- Torta Croccante al Gelato, Crunchy Ice Cream Pie: Libidenous...
- Monica's Ridiculously Easy (And Tasty) Yogurt Pie