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3 Most Popular Dinners in Italy

Our full guide on the most Popular Dinners in Italy to try on your next trip and to cook at home.

Italian cuisine is renowned for its rich flavors, fresh ingredients, and traditional recipes. Here are three of the most popular Italian dinners, along with detailed recipe guides, tips, and calorie information.


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Tips for Authentic Italian Cooking

Use the freshest ingredients available, especially for vegetables, herbs, and cheeses.

Cook pasta al dente for the best texture.

Keep recipes simple and let the natural flavors of the ingredients shine.

Season generously but taste as you go to avoid over-salting.

Most Popular Dinners in Italy

1. Lasagna Bolognese

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12 lasagna noodles
1 lb ground beef
1/2 lb ground pork
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 carrot, finely chopped
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
1 cup dry white wine
2 cans (14.5 oz each) crushed tomatoes
1/4 cup tomato paste
2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
2 cups ricotta cheese
1 egg
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Salt and pepper to taste
Olive oil


Prepare the Bolognese Sauce

In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add chopped onion, carrot, celery, and garlic. Sauté until softened.
Add ground beef and pork. Cook until browned. Add white wine and cook until evaporated. Stir in crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, basil, oregano, salt, and pepper. Simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

Prepare the Lasagna Noodles

Cook lasagna noodles according to package instructions. Drain and set aside.

Prepare the Cheese Mixture

In a bowl, mix ricotta cheese, egg, and 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese.

Assemble the Lasagna

Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). In a 9×13 inch baking dish, spread a thin layer of Bolognese sauce. Layer with lasagna noodles, ricotta mixture, mozzarella, and Bolognese sauce. Repeat layers, ending with mozzarella and Parmesan on top.


Cover with foil and bake for 25 minutes. Remove foil and bake for an additional 25 minutes or until the top is golden and bubbly. Let it cool for 15 minutes before serving.

Calories: Approximately 450-500 calories per serving (assuming 8 servings).

2. Risotto alla Milanese

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1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
4 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 small onion, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon saffron threads
4 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup dry white wine
Salt and pepper to taste
Olive oil


Prepare the Broth

Heat chicken broth in a saucepan and keep it warm over low heat. Add saffron threads to infuse.

Cook the Onion

In a large pan, heat olive oil and 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and cook until soft.

Cook the Rice

Add Arborio rice to the pan and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly, until the rice is lightly toasted. Add white wine and cook until absorbed.

Add Broth

Gradually add the warm broth, one ladle at a time, stirring constantly. Allow the broth to be absorbed before adding more. Continue this process until the rice is creamy and cooked al dente, about 18-20 minutes.

Finish the Risotto

Remove from heat and stir in the remaining butter and grated Parmesan cheese. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.

Calories: Approximately 350-400 calories per serving (assuming 4 servings).

3. Osso Buco

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4 veal shanks (about 1 1/2 inches thick)
1 cup flour for dredging
1 large onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup dry white wine
2 cups beef broth
1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Fresh parsley, chopped (for garnish)
Lemon zest (for garnish)


Prepare the Veal Shanks

Season the veal shanks with salt and pepper, then dredge in flour, shaking off excess.

Brown the Shanks

In a large Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Brown the veal shanks on all sides, then remove and set aside.

Cook the Vegetables

In the same pot, add chopped onion, carrots, celery, and garlic. Cook until vegetables are soft.

Add Wine and Tomatoes

Stir in white wine, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, thyme, rosemary, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low.

Add Broth and Simmer

Return the veal shanks to the pot. Add beef broth and simmer, covered, for about 2 hours, or until the meat is tender.

Finish and Serve

Remove the bay leaf. Garnish with chopped parsley and lemon zest. Serve hot with risotto or mashed potatoes.

Calories: Approximately 500-550 calories per serving (assuming 4 servings).

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