15 Italian Dinners Like Mama Used To Make

Italian dinners are always a win for the whole family. Everyone loves them, they taste great, and leftovers make a great lunch the next day. Homemade Italian meals, made from scratch, are always the best and most authentic, even if you aren’t in Italy. Try one of these delicious dinner ideas and enjoy an Italian meal like Mama used to make.

1. Rustic Italian Pasta Salad

A closeup of Rustic Italian Pasta Salad in a white bowl.
Photo Credit: The Gracious Pantry.

Dive into the rustic charm of Italy with this hearty Italian pasta salad recipe. It goes with many different types of dishes, and everyone will love it.

2. Homemade Lasagna

A final slice of this Homemade Lasagna Recipe on a white plate, ready to serve.
Photo Credit: The Gracious Pantry.

If you have a little extra time, making homemade lasagna from scratch is about as Italian as you can get. It’s amazing stuff and makes a full meal on its own.

3. Italian Shepherd’s Pie Recipe

An Italian shepherds pie in a red pie pan. Melted cheese covered the entire surface of the pie filling.
Photo Credit: The Gracious Pantry.

Yes, I’m fully aware that Shepherd’s Pie is not an Italian dish. But this Italian shepherd’s pie recipe is basically a cross between a pot pie and a shepherd’s pie with some Italian seasonings, and it’s delicious.

4. Margherita Pizza

A sliced Margherita Pizza on a plate. Fresh basil and cherry tomatoes on the stem lay to the right of the plate.
Photo Credit: The Gracious Pantry.

Margherita pizza is a classic Italian pizza. Different regions in Italy take great pride in making their specific version and defend it as the best. Now, you can easily make it at home.

5. Lasagna Soup

A white bowl filled with Lasagna Soup.
Photo Credit: The Gracious Pantry.

Lasagna soup is a delicious, hearty soup that can be enjoyed with a side of garlic bread and a green salad. It’s warm, comforting, and a great way to end a busy day.

6. Orecchiette Pasta Salad

A white bowl filled with Orecchiette Pasta Salad sitting on a red dishtowel, surrounded by fresh basil leaves and cherry tomatoes.
Photo Credit: The Gracious Pantry.

Orecchiette pasta salad is such a fun and simple recipe that uses fresh summer veggies and packs a flavorful punch that will have everyone wanting second helpings.

7. Skillet Spaghetti

An overhead view looking down into a cast iron skillet filled with this Skillet Spaghetti Recipe.
Photo Credit: The Gracious Pantry.

Need a simple spaghetti recipe? How about this skillet spaghetti? It’s a one-pot meal that promises to satisfy even your worst hunger pangs.

8. Pasta Carbonara

A white bowl holds a nest of diary free carbonara.
Photo Credit: The Gracious Pantry.

This dairy-free pasta carbonara is a delicious way to enjoy pasta with a creamy sauce without any of the dairy that usually makes things creamy. This one is all about the eggs.

9. Slow Cooker Italian Meatballs

Slow Cooker Italian Style Meatballs in a black bowl.
Photo Credit: The Gracious Pantry.

Meatball lovers will adore these slow cooker Italian meatballs. They are hearty, dense, and firm and work beautifully with any pasta you care to add them to.

10. Italian Shrimp

A side view of a white bowl filled with Italian shrimp.
Photo Credit: The Gracious Pantry.

Italian shrimp are on a whole other level. Eat them as a main course, or add them to pasta, rice, or zucchini noodles for a delicious meal any time of day. They cook quickly and are also great for salads.

11. Homemade Marinara

Marinara in an open canning jar.
Photo Credit: The Gracious Pantry.

Homemade marinara is a simple dish to make and can be used in many different dishes, from a simple plate of spaghetti to a more complex lasagna.

12. Italian Stuffed Chicken Breasts

A single Italian chicken rollup on a plate, topped with parmesan cheese.
Photo Credit: The Gracious Pantry.

These Italian stuffed chicken breasts are easy to make and make a wonderful main course with rice, orzo, or even just a side of veggies.

13. Italian Chopped Salad

Closeup of an Italian Chopped Salad in a clear bowl.
Photo Credit: The Gracious Pantry.

If you need a nice cool meal for a hot summer evening, try this Italian chopped salad. It’s cool, refreshing, and definitely very filling.

14. Olive Pasta

An overhead view of a white bowl filled with olive pasta.
Photo Credit: The Gracious Pantry.

Olive pasta is one of those simple meals you can throw together in just a couple of minutes once your pasta is cooked.

15. Baked Ziti

A closeup of baked ziti pasta.
Photo Credit: The Gracious Pantry.

Baked ziti is a family-friendly meal that everyone will love. It’s an easy casserole-style meal that will bring everyone back for second helpings.

Sick Of The Same Ol’ Chicken For Dinner? Here Are 101 New Ways To Make It!

A dutch oven with a cooked whole chicken topped with rosemary twigs.
Photo Credit: The Gracious Pantry.

Having chicken for dinner… again? Here are 101 new ways to level up your dinner game tonight.

Healthy Ground Turkey Dinner Ideas That Actually Taste Good

A skillet filled with ground turkey, chopped tomatoes, chopped avocado and garnished with fresh parsley.
Photo Credit: The Gracious Pantry.

Lean ground turkey is a great replacement for ground beef if you are working on your health. Here, we give you 17 Meals with ground turkey that are surprisingly good for you.

While You’re Cooking, Prep Breakfast For Tomorrow Too. It Only Takes 5 Minutes!

An overhead view of a small canning jar filled with overnight oats with raisins.
Photo Credit: The Gracious Pantry.

Prepping overnight oats the night before is a fantastic way to ensure that your morning runs smoothly. These delicious oatmeal recipes are prepped in just 5 minutes. In fact, you can even make homemade oatmeal packets with these recipes, so all you have to do is grab a packet and get it in the fridge.

This originally appeared on The Gracious Pantry.

Author: Tiffany McCauley

Title: Food and Travel Journalist

Expertise: Food, cooking, travel


Tiffany McCauley is a nationally syndicated journalist and an award-winning cookbook author and food blogger. She has been featured on MSN, Huffington Post, Country Living Magazine, HealthLine, Redbook, and many more. Her food specialty is healthy comfort food recipes.

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