Italian food is very nice, and you can find lots of very good restaurants and cafes that offer very high-quality Italian food outside Italy, like in the United Kingdom. For example, in the UK, there are many good Italian restaurants like Grapevine Shoreditch, which is based in Shoreditch, London, and offers fresh pasta and Italian wine.
However, if you like cooking, the following Italian recipes are some easy-to-cook meals that are perfect for conjuring up for any weekday meal. The meals are each perfect for satisfying the needs of one or can easily impress dinner guests.
1. MEATBALLS AND PASTA
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil
- 1 small red onion, diced
- 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
- 2 sprigs of fresh thyme
- 1 400g can of chopped tomatoes
- 2 handfuls of baby spinach
- 400g tagliatelle pasta
- A few basil leaves, roughly chopped
- 600g grams of ready-made meatballs
Use a medium-sized pot of water and bring it to a boil, ready to cook the pasta.
In a large frying pan, heat the oil a medium to high heat. Add the onion, garlic, and thyme to fry, stirring constantly and consistently for about two minutes or until the onions start to soften and brown.
Pour in the chopped tomatoes, and then bring the pan to a boil. Next, add the meatballs into the tomato mix and bring the heat down so that the mixture is simmering. Put the lid on the frying pan from this point to allow the meatballs to cook through. The meatballs should simmer for around six minutes, or until the meatballs are cooked through. (Check by cutting into one and ensure that there are no raw bits of pink meat in the centre).
Next, add the baby spinach leaves and allow them to wilt, once they are wilted, season the dish with some salt and pepper and then remove the pan from the heat.
Then, add your tagliatelle pasta into the boiling water of your pot and allow to cook for about two minutes. Once the pasta is cooked properly, drain the pasta water and tip the rest of the pasta back into the pot.
Finally, pour the sauce and meatballs over the pasta to and mix it all up. Serve the now readymade dish into separate bowls and garnish with the basil.
2. ITALIAN LONG HOTS
Italian long hots are a great Italian snack that is both quick and delicious. Perfect to bring around to any party or when entertaining guests.
- 10 fresh long hot peppers
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- 10 gloves of garlic
- Salt and pepper
- Edam cheese
- Fresh Italian bread (either Ciabatta or standard garlic bread)
Preheat the oven to 200° C (400°F).
Place the hot peppers onto a baking tray. Pour the olive oil over the peppers, and scatter the whole garlic cloves as well.
Once the oven has reached optimum temperature, place the pan into the oven and bake for about 25 – 30 minutes. The peppers should start to blister and almost appear black in colour – this is totally normal, as this ensures that they are cooked through and enhances the taste as well.
Cut the bread into slices and add the cheese and hot peppers on top of each slice and serve hot.
3. GNOCCHI WITH SAUSAGE RAGU
Gnocchi can be defined as pasta made from potatoes; and ragu can be defined as a meat-based sauce. This unique combination takes the best of Italian cuisine and combines them into a great tasting meal that all will enjoy.
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil
- 1 red onion, diced
- 1 clove of garlic, chopped
- 1 spring of rosemary
- 8 sausages
- 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar
- 1 400g can of chopped tomatoes
- 300g of gnocchi
- A few basil leaves, chopped roughly
Bring a large pot of water to a boil to cook the gnocchi later. The gnocchi can typically be bought from any convenience store.
In a frying pan, heat the oil a medium to high heat. Add the onion, garlic, and rosemary to fry, stirring constantly and consistently for about two to three minutes or until the onions start to soften and brown.
Next, take each sausage and remove it from its casing or ‘skin’ – you can discard the skins of the sausage as you will not need them for the rest of this meal. Once all this sausage has been removed, add it to your frying pan and cook them thoroughly.
Once the sausage is all nice and cooked, add the balsamic vinegar and cook it until it basically vanishes. When this is done, add the can of chopped tomatoes and let these cook for another five minutes.
As the tomatoes are finally cooking, it is time to add the gnocchi to the boiling water and cook this for about three minutes – or whatever the specific cooking instructions may say. When they are finally done cooking, drain the water out of them and add them back to the pot.
Once this is all done, it is finally time to add your ragu mixture to the gnocchi and mix it all together so as to ensure that the gnocchi has sufficient sausage ragu spread all over. Add some basil for some garnish and serve.
4. ROSEMARY & OLIVE OIL FOCACCIA
Focaccia is a traditional Italian flatbread that can be paired with any meal within which it will truly stand out, or is just as delicious on its own. Making the bread is really an easy task, so do not feel afraid when trying to attempt it! The bread is best eaten hot, straight out of the oven but can be also be frozen and enjoyed at a later date.
- 10 tablespoons of olive oil
- 3 sprigs of rosemary leaves
- 300g of strong white bread flour
- 175g of water
- 7g of fast-action yeast
- Sea salt flakes
Preheat the oven to 220°C
Put half of the tablespoons of olive oil into a bowl combined with the rosemary leaves and leave to sit whilst you begin making the bread.
Place the flour, yeast, and the rest of the olive oil into a bowl with a few of the sea salt flakes. Add the water into the mix until it creates a sticky dough.
From here, you need to knead the dough for roughly ten minutes, and when the dough starts to become smooth and elastic, it is ready to be placed into a lightly oiled bowled. Cover the bowl for an hour, allowing the dough to prove until it almost doubles in size.
After the hour is complete, place the bread onto an oiled baking sheet, ensure the bread is in a rectangular shape, and leave to rise for another thirty minutes before placing it in the oven.
Pour the oil and rosemary mixture over the bread and sprinkle on the rest of the sea salt flakes. Bake the bread for about 20 minutes or until it is golden brown. After this time, the bread is ready to be served.