7 Recipes for Elegant Italian Dinners

Italian food, and Italian-American, food is steeped in tradition. Recipes are handed down from generation to generation, and the cuisine can be the perfect way to create a memorable dinner. The next time you want to put a special touch on your evening meal, take a page from the Italian cookbook. You don’t need to be 100 percent authentic to take time out of your hectic week to prepare and share a dinner with friends and family. Pick and choose from the following 7 recipes the next time you want to savor a meal with others.

Risotto alla Milanese

Risotto alla Milanese Source: iStock

1. Risotto alla Milanese

The rich golden color of Risotto alla Milanese, a saffron-infused version of the creamy rice dish, is matched in flavor and texture in Saveur‘s recipe. Serve with a the meat dish of your choosing. The risotto yields 4 servings.


  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon saffron threads
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 small yellow onions, minced
  • 2 cups Arborio rice
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 2 ounces raw bone marrow (optional)
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Directions: Heat stock and saffron in a 2-quart saucepan over medium heat; keep warm. Heat butter in a 4-quart saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onions; cook until soft, about 4 minutes. Add rice; cook until lightly toasted, about 4 minutes. Add wine; cook until evaporated, about 2 minutes. Add ½ cup warm stock; cook, stirring, until absorbed, about 2 minutes. Continue adding stock, ½ cup at a time, and cooking until absorbed before adding more, until rice is tender and creamy, about 16 minutes total. Stir in marrow, if using, and Parmesan; season with salt and pepper.

Recommended wine pairings: With lighter risottos, a classic Italian Pinot Grigio does wonders. Unsurprisingly, it also works well here, with the wine’s dryness pairing perfectly with the sweetness found in this layered dish. Try a 2012 Montefresco Pinot Grigio, or go red with a 2010 Salient Cabernet Sauvignon, which will pair well with a red meat addition to this risotto.