As the sun-kissed days of summer make way to the crisp air of autumn, Italian cuisine offers a delightful blend of dishes that help ease the transition. These meals take advantage of the bounty of late-summer produce while also hinting at the comforting, warming dishes of the fall. Here are some delicious end-of-summer Italian dishes to satisfy your palate:
This classic Italian salad beautifully marries the flavors of ripe tomatoes, fresh basil, and creamy mozzarella. As a nod to the end of summer, you might choose heirloom tomatoes for their exceptional flavor and color. Drizzled with a touch of olive oil and balsamic vinegar, Caprese salad is a simple yet delicious way to say goodbye to summer.
This Tuscan bread salad is the perfect way to use up the last of your summer tomatoes and stale bread. Cubes of bread are tossed with tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, and often some sort of protein like tuna or mozzarella. America Domani recommends a generous pour of our favorite condiment, Reed’s Italian Dressing, to bring it all together.
Pasta alla Norma
This Sicilian pasta dish celebrates the end of the eggplant season. Fried eggplant is tossed with pasta and a simple tomato sauce, then topped with salted ricotta. It's a filling, comforting dish that hints at the heartier meals of fall.
Risotto al Pomodoro
This tomato-based risotto is another excellent vehicle for the last of the summer's tomatoes. Arborio rice is simmered with a hearty tomato sauce and finished off with a touch of butter and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese for a creamy, comforting dish.
Late summer is a great time for grilling, and Italians are known for their mastery of grilled seafood. A mixed grill of fish, shrimp, and squid, seasoned with olive oil, lemon, and herbs, is a simple and delicious way to enjoy the end of the grilling season.
Tiramisu alla Fragola
Tiramisu is a classic Italian dessert, but this version uses late-summer strawberries for a fresh twist. Layers of ladyfingers, mascarpone cream, and fresh strawberries create a light, refreshing dessert that's perfect for the end of summer.
Of course, no list of Italian summer dishes would be complete without gelato. As the weather starts to cool, savor the last of the warm days with a scoop (or two) of homemade Italian ice cream. Late summer fruits like peaches and berries make excellent gelato flavors.
These Italian dishes, with their focus on fresh, seasonal ingredients, encapsulate the transition from summer to autumn. So as you bid farewell to summer, take a culinary journey to Italy with these delicious end-of-summer dishes. Enjoy the last of the summer's bounty and the first hints of fall comfort food, all in one incredible Italian feast.
Arianna DiCicco is an educator and writer from California, born into an Italian American restaurant family with strong ties to her grandparents’ home in Abruzzo, Italy. She has lived in San Francisco, Rome and New York City where she’s made deep connections within the Italian communities and gained new perspectives about her own culture. With a Masters in International Education, Arianna has a love and passion for learning and educating others about Italian history & culture.