Who doesn’t love a big bowl of pasta? According to a recent survey conducted by YouGov, an international research data and analytics group, Italian food tops the list as the World’s most popular cuisine. And we’re not surprised. From simple favorites like Fettuccine Alfredo and Chicken Piccata to masterpieces like Penne alla Vodka and Fettuccine alla Carbonara, there’s a lot to love. Best of all, unlike other regional favorites, most Italian dishes are surprisingly not that difficult to make at home. Here are four impressive yet easy Italian dinner recipes you can whip up right in your own kitchen.
Penne alla Vodka
This recipe starts with penne pasta cooked al dente. As the name implies, you’ll also need to grab a bottle of Vodka from your bar cabinet for the sauce (plan on using a little less than ¼ cup per pound of pasta). While this spirit adds a flavorful kick, it’s also fine to omit the Vodka altogether. Additional ingredients include heavy cream, Parmesan cheese, and crushed red pepper flakes from your spice drawer. Most recipes call for fresh Roma or crushed tomatoes, but we like this Penne Alla Vodka from Delish that uses tomato paste for a bright touch of sweetness.
Fettuccine alla Carbonara
Close your eyes and imagine fettuccine noodles smothered in a rich and creamy, Parmesan cheese-based sauce, with prosciutto and bacon. Have we piqued your interest? Carbonara is perfect for a special occasion like Valentine’s Day, and it’s easy to make at home. This recipe for Fettuccine alla Carbonara from Better Homes & Gardens adds dry white wine from your bar cabinet, and rivals any Italian restaurant. For a full list of ingredients and an instructional video from BHG, click here.
Like spaghetti and meatballs and lasagne, Fettuccine Alfredo is one of the more popular Italian dishes on restaurant menus. Rich yet simple, this easy homemade Fettuccine Alfredo recipe from Bon Appétit has just five ingredients that are commonly found in the refrigerator and kitchen pantry cabinet. After gently simmering the sauce to ensure even melting, add cooked fettuccine pasta and toss to coat. Serve topped with fresh ground pepper and even more grated Parmesan.
This Italian dish features tender, thinly sliced chicken breasts dredged in flour and sauteed in a buttery lemon-based sauce. The use of flour gives chicken a nice coating and helps to thicken the sauce. For an easy to follow recipe from Italian chef and Food Network star Giada De Laurentiis, click here. When cooking at home, top Chicken Piccata with brined capers and chopped fresh parsley and serve with a side of linguini. If you’re in the mood for seafood, swap out chicken for freshly peeled and deveined shrimp.
Regardless of the recipe, remember this rule of thumb for professional results when cooking pasta at home. Always salt your water (around 2 tablespoons should do for a pound of pasta), and use coarse sea salt, which is considered less bitter when boiling.
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