Italian is one of the most sought-after cuisines when hunger strikes. As mealtime rolls around, the delicious flavors and enticing aromas swirl through the air, tantalizing your taste buds. If you’re searching for an array of decadent dishes to grace your table and satisfy your hunger this summer, read on…because we’re sharing some of the balmy season’s best Italian dishes!
It’s arguably the ultimate, Italian summer dish. Between its versatility, range of flavors, and (of course) its visual similarity to the Italian flag, a Caprese salad is the perfect addition to any meal. The classic combo is comprised of one slice of mozzarella, a slice of tomato, and a piece of basilico (or basil). Arrange several of these trifectas around your plate, drizzle olive oil over top, and finish with a pinch of salt. To truly savor this melody of flavors, use fresh mozzarella and just-picked tomatoes and basil. Fresh ingredients always help to elevate a dish!
Linguine con Vongole
If linguine con vongole (linguine with clams) is on the menu, I’m ordering it, stat! Especially perfect for a cena estive (or summertime dinner), the salty, aromatic clams mixed with a light garlic and white wine sauce, marries perfectly with the strands of golden linguine. Some may prefer a red sauce option, but the authenticity lies in the original white sauce. This pasta dish is sure to transport you to a quaint seaside town on the coast of Italy!
Pizza on the Grill
Move aside brick ovens, because your trusty backyard grill is cooking up this summer’s pizza and it is delizioso! You heard me right – fire up your grill, because there’s a less conventional way to prepare one of the world’s most popular foods. Make some of your nonna’s homemade dough…or cheat and buy some (we won’t tell!). But don’t dare forgo the homemade red sauce (can’t let you off easy on that one). Then, grab some mozzarella and select a variety of toppings for your pizzas. Roll out the dough and cook it once on the grill; load on the sauce, cheese and toppings; cook for a second time; and you should have beautifully charred slices of pizza that can rival a brick oven’s any day!
Hailing from the regions of Tuscany and Umbria, this rustic delight puts the spotlight on bread and asks tomato to take a backseat. Panzanella salad is commonly made with chunks of tomatoes and sliced onions, and the star ingredient? Large cubes of crispy bread! To perfectly prepare, tear small pieces of ciabatta (or your favorite Italian bread) and toast them in the oven until crunchy and golden or use olive oil in a pan on top of the stove. Toss all ingredients into a bowl and drizzle with a little more oil and some vinegar, and season to taste. To mix things up, throw in some other veg or cheese, adding your very own twist!
If you’re fortunate enough to visit Italy, you’ll quickly notice how during the summer months seafood is widely favored over other proteins – especially in the towns on the water. Cozze (muscles), vongole (clams), gamberetti (shrimp), and various fish local to the region in which you’re eating will be served up daily and often paired with a white wine. And if you’re back home in the States, not to worry! The frutti di mare can still be enjoyed many ways, such as in your favorite pasta dish, on the grill, steamed, or even baked in the oven. Pick out a recipe, throw on some Dean Martin, and let your meal’s wafting aromas sweep you away to Capri or the Amalfi Coast!
Bistecca alla Fiorentina
For all our meat lovers out there, this is your pièce de résistance. Weighing in at a whopping three pounds, the Bistecca alla Fiorentina originated in Florence, Tuscany, and fulfills the biggest of appetites in Italy and beyond! With simple seasonings and easy cooking instructions, you won’t want this juicy steak missing from your cookout. A little tip: Don’t overcook it! Grill for a few minutes on each side, allowing the inside to remain mostly rare (or risk insulting the steak Gods), and mangiamo!
Is your mouth watering yet? Pair these dishes with red or white wine and enjoy! Our summertime favorites are sure to leave your guests coming back for more!
Sarah Talarico is a writer at heart, with a deep passion for all things Italian. Much of her writing inspiration comes from her Italian American roots that trace back to her father’s beloved hometown in Calabria. Southern Italy holds a special place in her heart, right next to homemade sauce and cappuccini. Sarah has a Bachelor’s in Creative Writing and English and a desire to use her writing skills to share the timeless charm of Italy and that ‘dolce far niente’ feeling. In her downtime, she finds joy in filling the plates and seats at her dining room table.