Best Italian Recipes

We created these pages to help you really Discover Italy. Journalists Donald Strachan, Steve Keenan, Jasmine Boni-Ball, Sara Sherwood, Sabrin Hasbun, Alicia Peacock, Chloë Sibley— who visit several times every year — have gathered a rich crop of local stories and written destination guides to help you make the most of your vacation. As they say in Italy, “Buon viaggio!”

Panforte di Siena

Panforte is a Christmas tradition in Tuscany, with its origins dating back to the Middle Ages in Siena. This delicious cross between cake and candy, with a soft and chewy texture, was intended exclusively for nobles and the clergy due to the presence of expensive and rare spices. Follow our recipe for Panforte di Siena and learn to make Tuscany’s oldest and noblest cake.


To say that this spiced, dried-fruit-and-nut-spiked cake is rich is an understatement! Panpetato (“peppered bread”) is said to be a type of panforte: a form of fruitcake studded with fruit and nuts, with very little flour. Follow our recipe for Panpepato and learn to make this dairy-free Italian Christmas cake.

Mandorlato di Cologna Veneta

This almond-studded nougat is said to have originated during the Serenissima Republic in the Northern Italian region of Veneto. Almonds (“mandorle”) as the name might suggest, are the main ingredient in this 4-ingredient recipe. Follow our recipe for Mandorlato di Cologna Veneta and learn to make this nutty, textured sweet treat.

Porcini Risotto

The origin of risotto dates back to the 14th-century BC, a time when Italy's humidity served as the ideal place to grow short-grain rice. This Porcini Risotto comes from Northern Italy and is a traditional first course or main served in Florentine households. Selene Goretti — resident chef at I Corbezzoli and Cortile Pratolino — brings you her take on this comforting Italian staple.

Chocolate Salami

Don’t be fooled by the name of this dessert, despite it’s physical resemblance to regular cured pork Salami, Salame al Cioccolato (“chocolate salami’) is not a meat product. Originating in Italy and Portugal, this crunchy treat has become a quintessential, iconic Italian dessert. In Bologna, Chocolate Salami is traditionally a sweet passover recipe, while in Emilia-Romagna, this dessert is popular during the Easter holiday. Whatever the occasion, join resident chef Selene Goretti, based at I Corbezzoli and Cortile Pratolino, as she makes this sweet treat her own.

Tomato Gratin

Traditionally a French culinary technique, gratin is the art of browning an ingredient to finish the top of a dish with a golden and crunchy crust. Join Tuscan chef Lisa Banchieri in the kitchen as she shares her recipe for Tomato Gratin.

Raspberry Crostata

The word crostata first appeared in Italian texts during the 17th-century and was defined as an open type of pie. Over the years the crostata has undergone both sweet and savory variants and here, Tuscan chef and pastry aficionado Lisa Banchieri brings you her raspberry rendition of this classic dessert.

Strawberry Risotto

The 1980s was a time of food experimentation. Italian chefs were exploring unconventional dishes and flavour combinations, pushing the boundaries of traditional cuisine. Along with renowned Pennette alla Vodka, Strawberry Risotto embodied this modern shift. Try your hand and join Tuscan chef Lisa Banchieri as she takes on this unusual yet tantalising first course.

Pot-roasted Stuffed Lamb of Leg

Italy is renowned for its meat dishes, with its Umbrian-style leg of lamb being a centrepiece-worthy dish. Join Umbria-based chef Lorena Autori in the kitchen as she creates this grand Italian main ideal for your dinner party guests.

Vin Santo Chicken Liver Crostini

Antipasto is a beloved Italian tradition, intended to stimulate the appetite before a meal. While cured meats and olives are great for dinner parties, our favourite and most popular Tuscan antipasti in our villas in Italy, are Crostini. Join our resident chef Selene Goretti in the kitchen with her creation of Vin Santo Chicken Liver Crostini, a tantalising antipasti with Tuscany's prized dessert wine.

Strawberry Panna Cotta

The renowned Italian dessert, Panna Cotta, is thought to have been born in Piedmont during the 1960s. The simple combination of sugar, cream and gelatin make up this adored and versatile treat, enjoyed all year round. Tuscany-based chef Riccardo Becocci brings you his recipe of Panna Cotta's iconic strawberry upgrade — a blush-pink dessert, cool and refreshing for summertime.

Tiramisu Truffles

Tiramisu is arguably Italy's most famous dessert. Renowned for its indulgence in mascarpone and sweet coffee flavour, Tiramisu has been popular at the dinner table since the 1960s. To achieve a treat that doesn't overindulge, sometimes what a dessert needs is a bite-size upgrade. Follow our recipe for Tiramisu Truffles to compact your favourite Italian dessert within tempting chocolate balls.

Fresh Basil Pesto

Pesto is a world-renowned ingredient found in most people's cupboards. This famous sauce is thought to have ancient roots, derived from Roman's herb and cheese spread 'moretum', given its texture and taste. One of our chefs Riccardo Becocci, brings you his recipe for Basil Pesto, so filled with freshness you won't feel obliged to purchase shop-brought.

Asparagus and Pancetta Crostini

Crostini is a medieval peasant recipe invented for Italians who were too poor to own ceramic plates and preferred to use bread as a plate alternative. These simple slices of bread, brushed with olive oil and baked until golden-brown, have undergone many variants over the years. We've selected chef Riccardo Becocci's asparagus and pancetta remedy to give you the recipe for a tempting Italian dish.


Defined as the ultimate Tuscan bread soup, Ribollita has seen preparations since the Middle Ages. This local dish was born from the tradition of reusing Pane Toscano (“Tuscan bread’), which as a result of its consistency, makes the perfect ingredient in soups and recipes where it can be soaked or made softer. Join chef Francesco Marrucelli as he creates this Italian winter-warmer, making it the ultimate choice for comfort food.

Spaghetti with Orange and Lemon Zest

The use of citrus fruits in pasta dishes has become increasingly popular throughout Italy and across the world. Oranges and lemons are reminiscent of summer and create a lighter coating for staples such as spaghetti, which is usually drowned in a thick sauce. Sorrento lemons have become a trademark of Italy, their refreshing essence being among the best to use in Michelin star chef Pietro Cacciatori’s recipe for Spaghetti with Orange and Lemon Zest.

Peposo alla Fornacina

Italian architect Filippo Brunelleschi is crowned as the creator of the legendary Peposo alla Fornacina. This 500-year-old dish remains popular across Tuscany and advocates the admiral quality and simplicity in its cuisine. Iconic chef duo Pippo and Guia bring you their innovative recipe of this classic Tuscan dish, born out of pure passion for local cuisine and cooking.

Umbrian Lentils & Sausage

Among Umbria's comforting classics is a melody of lentils and sausage, its rustic simplicity originating in the region's farming hills. Umbria-based chef Lorena Autori, invites you to join her and try one of her favourite and versatile recipes for Umbrian Lentils & Sausage.

Stracotto alla Fiorentina

Tuscans are known for their appreciation for meat. If not the traditional Bistecca alla Fiorentina, you’ll often catch locals enjoying a plate of Stracotto alla Fiorentina. This Florentine-style pot-roast stars the regions iconic veal, stewed for hours into a warm and richly satisfying dish. Don’t believe us — join resident chef Selene Goretti (at I Corbezzoli and Cortile Pratolino) in the kitchen as she recreates this heart-warming Italian dish.

Sarde in Saor

The best Venetian dishes are often defined by their fresh fish, and Sarde in Saor is a regional icon. Saor is the Venetian term for flavour, used to indicate a dressing of vinegar and onions, originally used by Venetian fisherman to preserve their stock. Discover Venice's culinary secrets with your private chef in any of our villas near Venice or Verona or create your version at home using chef Laura Franceschetti's recipe.


The famous Gnocchi originated in Northern Italy during the Roman age, and out of it, Gnudi was born. Gnudi is a similar dumpling containing semolina but utilises cheese instead of potato to make the dough. The term Gnudi comes from the Italian word for naked (“nudi”), the idea being that Gnudi is naked ravioli — just the filling without the pasta shell. Chef Francesco Marrucelli brings you his creation of this Florentine tradition which can make a tempting starter or first course for any occasion.

Pappa al Pomodoro

Tuscany is a region renowned for its soups and Pappa al Pomodoro reigns supreme with its rich tomatoes and rustic bread. Its name translates to tomato mush, a humble title for a worthy starter or first course. Join chef Francesco Marrucelli in the kitchen with his tantalising recipe for Pappa al Pomodoro, perfect as a dinner party dish or for simple home comforts.

Crostini di Baccalà Mantecato

Venetian cuisine is primarily derived from the blessings of the city's lagoon, and Crostini di Baccalà Mantecato showcases its aromatised flavours and grace. The history of Baccalà stems from the 1400s, described initially as a cod cream. Indulge in Venetian cuisine at our luxury villas near Venice or Verona or try your hand at making this classic dish using chef Laura Franceschetti's recipe.

Tuna Polpette

The history of the meatball is thought to have begun in Persia, where leftover meat was used to create the first examples of Kofta. From here, the spheres of meat reached many countries across Asia and Europe — eventually landing in Italy, possibly via Venetian traders. Chef Laura Franceschetti brings you her recipe for Tuna Polpette, perfect for fish lovers still craving the bite of a meatball.

Crescionda di Spoleto

Crescionda di Spoleto is an Umbrian dessert, originating in the Middle Ages as a sweet variant of Focaccia. You can now bring this popular dish and star of Umbria's Carnival of Spoleto, home, as chef Lorena Autori shares her version of this tempting treat.

Fennel and Orange Salad

Also known as Finuccio, Florence Fennel is favoured by many chefs in Italian cooking. Fennel is a versatile herb grown best in the summer months, making a conveniently delectable addition to summer salads. Join Michelin star chef Pietro Cacciatori in the kitchen with his recipe for Fennel and Orange Salad, bringing the flavours of Finuccio with citrus fruits.

Candied Citron (“Cedro”)

The trinity of original citrus fruits consists of Mandarin Orange, Pomelo and the Citron. Known as Cedro in Italian, Citron is a giant lemon with a thick rind and hearty zesty flavour. This citrus fruit is as versatile as it is refreshing, used in warming risottos or as a summery snack. Join Michelin star chef Pietro Cacciatori with his citrus celebration of Candied Citron, an adored sweet in Italy.

Ricotta & Pear Tart

Among Sicily's countless iconic creations is Ricotta. Derived from the Latin ‘recocta’ (“twice-cooked or re-cooked”) this creamy cheese is made by reheating the whey leftover from the production of cheese such as mozzarella and pecorino. Ricotta has become a popular component in desserts, similarly to other Italian delicacies such as Mascarpone. Join resident chef of I Corbezzoli and Cortile Pratolino, Selene Goretti, as she brings you her rendition of Ricotta & Pear Tart.

La Francesina

From Pappa al Pomodoro to Ribollita, Tuscan cuisine is renowned for its skill in utilising leftovers. La Francesina is a lesser-known Tuscan recipe that reuses boiled beef soaked in red wine, twined with onions. The name is thought to have come from the similar french bœuf miroton recipe, known for its use of onion. Join our beloved chef duo Pippo and Guia in the kitchen as they create one of Tuscany's simple masterpieces.

Guinea Fowl with Vin Santo & Grapes

Once on the dining tables of many wealthy Romans, it is said that these birds were domestically held in Rome in roughly AD 72. Guinea fowl is arguably chicken meets pheasant, and therefore has a gamey taste which pairs perfectly with Tuscany's famous Vin Santo. Discover the Italian qualities this dish possesses with our resident chef Selene Goretti's recipe for Guinea Fowl with Vin Santo and Grapes.

Pollo in Fricassea

Tuscany Now & More invites dynamic duo chefs, Pippo and Guia to share a collection of their favourite Tuscan recipes. Pollo in Fricassea (“Chicken Fricassée”) is a typical dish in Tuscan cuisine. While the word ‘fricassée’ is french, the etymology is uncertain as there is much speculation that Catherine de’Medici introduced this cooking technique to the French. After her marriage to King Henry II, the influential Italian queen is credited for bringing many Florentine dishes and techniques to Renaissance France — Pollo in Fricassea being one of them.

Brutti ma Buoni

The name Brutti ma Buoni (|”Ugly but Good”) doesn't do these hazelnut biscuits justice. These crunchy, nutty discs are far more than good, requiring just four ingredients for every hazelnut lover's dream. Brutti ma Buoni cookies may have an unclear origin, but what is certain is their popularity in households across Italy. This simple recipe can be altered to make almond biscuits if they're more to your liking, giving you a reason to make them again and again.

Chestnut Flour Maltagliati

Maltagliati is a type of pasta from Italy's Emilia-Romagna region, its name meaning badly cut, reflecting its shape. This type of pasta was a probable food for the poor, roughly cut and often served with simple yet tasty ingredients. A classic ingredient that is often used with maltagliati is chestnut flour, displayed best here with chef Francesco Marrucelli's recipe for Chestnut Flour Maltagliati.

Potato Gnocchi

Gnocchi is one of the most recognisable pasta types of Italy in the cooking world. The pillowy-potato dumplings come from Northern Italy, where traditionally the colder climate was better suited for growing potatoes instead of grain. The Romans favoured gnocchi for its affordable and easy preparation, as well as how filling it was as a main or side dish. Francesco Marrucelli is our resident chef at The Estate of Petroio, and his unparalleled dedication to Tuscan traditions brings you his recipe for Potato Gnocchi.

Potato & Sausage Ravioli

Ravioli is a form of pasta seen in most Italian restaurants. Its rich taste, versatile fillings and overall decadence is sought-out by chefs and foodies alike. It originates from the 14th-century, with the earliest record found in Italian merchant Francesco di Marco Datini's diary. A manuscript from Venice, Libro per Cuoco, stated ravioli had green herbs, fresh cheese and beaten eggs, served in a broth and seasonsed with sweet and strong spices. Join Francesco Marrucelli, our resident chef at The Estate of Petroio, as he brings innovation to tradition with his recipe for Potato and Sausage Ravioli.

Farinata di Cavolo Nero (Tuscan Kale & Polenta Soup)

Tuscany is renowned for its soups; they're thick, heartwarming and abundant in seasonal ingredients. The most famous is arguably Ribollita, but Farinata di Cavolo Nero has come to be another favoured Tuscan delight. The soups of Tuscany all favour the inclusion of the region's green gold, Extra-virgin olive oil. Join our resident chef Francesco Marrucelli as he creates a delectable Farinata di Cavolo Nero, a classic soup with polenta and kale.

Crostone with Kale & Cannellini Beans

Pane Toscano (“Tuscan bread”) is adored for its hearty flavour and mild sweetness. Tuscany’s renowned saltess bread is used in many of the regional soups, and has gained popular use for crostone recipes. Crostone comes from the Italian term for little crusts (“crostino”), and is authentic Italian bread toasted or grilled to hold a topping. Our resident chef Francesco Marrucelli brings you his recipe for Crostone with Kale and Cannellini Beans — a light starter or snack that exalts the remarkable flavours of freshly pressed Extra-virgin olive oil.

Maria's Flourless Chocolate Cake

Chocolate cake is one of the world's most popular dishes. It appeals to all ages, ideal for most occasions and has been recreated numerous times. Our resident chef Maria is based at our Villa d'Elsa, a villa that epitomises the Chianti experience, and brings you her Flourless Chocolate Cake creation.

Cantucci (Italian Almond Biscotti)

Cantucci is a term coined by the Tuscans following the creation of biscotti. These almond biscuits originated in the Roman Empire and disappeared until the Renaissance in the Tuscan city of Prato. Cantucci comes from the old Italian word Cantuccio (“little place'”) but was often used to describe little bread or crust. Join Maria, resident chef at Villa d'Elsa, in the kitchen as she brings you her recipe for Cantucci (Italian Almond Biscotti).

Torta della Nonna (Italian Custard Pie)

Torta della Nonna is a sweet tradition in Tuscan cuisine and one of Italy's renowned cakes. Its Tuscan origin is thought to be the workings of a Florentine chef, eager to bring new flavours to his customers in the early 1900s. Maria is our 5-star resident chef at Villa d'Elsa, nestled in the heart of Chianti. Join her in the kitchen as she breaks down this Tuscan recipe for Torta della Nonna (Italian Custard Pie).

Castagnaccio alla Toscana (Tuscan Chestnut Cake)

Chestnuts are a prized possession of Tuscany. These nutty gems grow best in autumn on the Tuscan mountains, and have been an integral part of the regional cuisine for a long time. Due to the seasonality of chestnuts, they grew popular amongst the poorest in Tuscany during the colder months, resulting in creations such as Castagnaccio. This chestnut cake became a Tuscan culinary point of interest in the Roman times, and here Francesco Marrucelli brings it into the present with his rendition of this beloved dessert, Castagnaccio alla Toscana.

Hazelnut Semifreddo

Semifreddo is the popular Italian way to semi-frozen desserts. Although many people might see this treat as a recent phenomenon, Bernardo Buontalenti was crowned creator of gelato and semifreddo during the Italian Renaissance. Join Giorgia Milanesio in the kitchen as she recreates this indulgent dessert, using modern upgrades to achieve a delicious Hazelnut Semifreddo.

Chocolate Fondant

The obsession surrounding molten lava cakes refuses to leave its peak and is arguably at its best with chocolate. Believed to have French origins, chocolate fondant epitomises Parisian elegance and decadence, oozing with flavour. Bring this tempting dessert into your home with Giorgia Milanesio's recipe for Chocolate Fondant (Molten Lava Cake).

Giorgia’s Magic Matcha Chocolate Cake

While Matcha originated in China, this type of green tea has been part of the Japanese culture for nearly a millennium. This worldwide obsession is frequently lound in lattes, skincare and baking. Our adored chef Giorgia Milanesio brings her own creation to this craze — a magically Matcha Chocolate Cake, with a recipe easy for you to make at home.

Truffled Farro Salad

Judy Witts Francini is a legend in Tuscan cooking and food education. Here she passes on a recipe from Umbria that combines heritage grain farro with the ultimate fruit of the Umbrian forest: truffle.

Courgetti con le Sarde

Natural Chef, food writer and teacher Ceri Jones offers up a fresh, healthy version of the Sicilian classic Pasta con le Sarde — without the pasta, but with more nutritional properities, bursting with flavour.

Veal Saltimbocca with Polenta

Phoebe Ryan prioritises local, natural foods, prepared with honesty and love. In this recipe, she celebrates Veal Saltimbocca, adding a special twist to this classic Roman recipe, of creamy polenta.

Saffron Orzo Pasta Salad

Francesco Romano is an Italian chef with a passion for bold, simple, authentic flavours, many passed down directly from his Nonna. In this recipe, he combines barley pasta, saffron, olives and more in a fresh Mediterranean summer salad.

Arancini di Riso with Marinara Sauce

Join food blogger Helen Buxton, as she shares a fast and easy recipe for Arancini di Riso with Marinara Saunce. These crispy, deep fried Sicilian treats are made using leftover risotto, with an oozing cheese centre, served with a freshly prepared marinara sauce.

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