20 Easy Italian Recipes

These easy Italian recipes are simple and classic: from vodka sauce pasta to Margherita pizza to Caprese salad. Channel your inner Italian grandmother!

Italian recipes

Do you love Italian food? We do! Alex and I have traveled to Italy a few times together, and we would jump on a plane to do it again in a second. Why? Many things, but an important one: the food! After our honeymoon years ago, we couldn’t stop thinking about that Margherita pizza we ate in Rome and the Caprese salad in Capri. Over the years, we set about to re-create the Italian recipes we so loved. Here, we’ve collected our best easy Italian recipes that make Italian cooking accessible to the everyday home cook.

What is easy when it comes to Italian recipes? It’s not necessarily fast. These recipes are simple and use tried and true cooking techniques: not shortcuts! Some are fast like cacio e pepe. and some are slower, like our long-simmered vodka sauce. Some use time honored techniques like pizza dough, and others use new techniques like skillet eggplant marinara. Whatever the case, all were created especially for you: the modern home cook.

You ready for this?

And now, our top easy Italian recipes!

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Vodka Sauce Pasta

Rigatoni with Vodka Sauce

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (18 votes, average: 4.17 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Yield: 6 to 8 1x


Nothing says Italian recipe more than vodka sauce pasta! The creamy sauce is simmered with garlic and basil, served over rigatoni with lots of Parmesan.



  • 1 pound Delallo rigatoni pasta (or short pasta or your choice)
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 4 tablespoons salted butter
  • 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes (or best quality crushed tomatoes)
  • 1/3 cup high-quality vodka
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 6 large basil leaves, plus more for garnish
  • 1 medium yellow onion, peeled and cut in half
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish


  1. Mince the garlic.
  2. Melt the butter in large saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook until lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes, vodka, oregano, red pepper flakes, and kosher salt. Stir to combine. Add the halved onion and simmer for 1 hour with the lid tilted, stirring occasionally.
  3. After the simmering time, remove the onion. Transfer the sauce to a blender, or use an immersion blender to blend the sauce. Stir in the Parmesan cheese until it melts.
  4. Meanwhile, boil heavily salted water in a large pot. Cook the pasta to al dente (see the section above). When the pasta is done, drain it and return it to the pot. Combine it with the vodka sauce. Serve sprinkled with grated Parmesan cheese and torn fresh basil leaves.

  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Italian

Keywords: Italian Recipes, Easy Italian Recipes

Other Italian recipes

Looking for more Italian recipes? Try our Vegan Italian Recipes or Italian Soup Recipes. Or, here are a few more that might peak your interest:

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About the Authors

Sonja Overhiser

Cookbook Author and writer

Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.

Alex Overhiser

Cookbook Author and photographer

Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.

1 Comment

  • Reply
    August 22, 2020 at 6:33 pm

    American Recipes called Italian are in no way a reflection of ACTUAL Italian food. Actual Italian cuisine does NOT combine protein and fats with carbs. Modern Italians strictly serve proteins and fats in one meal, and carbs in the next meal. They are NOT served together in the same meal.

    Forty years ago, everyone in Italy was largely over-weight. These are the recipes Americans call Italian.

    NO MORE !!! The Modern Italian is slender and healthy !!! Modern Italian recipes strictly separate carbs from protein and fat.

    What would be interesting here, is to have separate “Old Italian’ and “Modern Italian” recipes.

    For those that are health conscious, “Modern Italian”. For those that what used to be Italian, “Old Italian”.

    Italians have been eating healthy for so long now, their current recipes are “Classic”. We in the United States are just ignorant of their healthier recipes.

    Just my opinion

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