Because Italian food is often reserved for restaurant meals, many home chefs assume such recipes are impossible to pull off. But that’s where they’re wrong. The cuisine is doable for home cooks of all skill sets, and the ingredients lists for many Italian dishes are short. You can easily serve your family simple, healthy dishes and by looking to this cuisine. If you don’t believe us, check out these Italian recipes that require no more than eight ingredients.
1. Extra Easy Lasagna
One surprising Italian dish that only requires a handful of ingredients? That would be lasagna. This dish from Allrecipes.com proves that dinners don’t have to be complicated to be delicious. A simple layering of beef, lasagna noodles, and cheese will do the trick. Bake your dinner for a little under an hour and you have an easy Italian meal on your hands. The recipe feeds 6 to 8 people.
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- 4 cups tomato-basil pasta sauce
- 6 uncooked lasagna noodles
- 1 (15-ounce) container ricotta cheese
- 2½ cups shredded mozzarella cheese
- ¼ cup hot water
Directions: Cook beef in a large skillet over medium heat, stirring until it crumbles and is no longer pink; drain. Stir in pasta sauce.
Spread one-third of meat sauce in a lightly greased 11-by-7-inch baking dish; layer with 3 noodles and half each with ricotta cheese and mozzarella cheese. Repeat procedure; spread remaining one-third of meat sauce over mozzarella cheese. Slowly pour ¼ cup hot water around inside edge of dish. Tightly cover baking dish with two layers of heavy-duty aluminum foil.
Bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 45 minutes; uncover and bake 10 more minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.
2. 3-Ingredient Fettuccine Alfredo
You’re not going to believe homemade fettuccine Alfredo can be made with only 3 ingredients, but this recipe from Martha Stewart proves it’s possible. This recipe is dangerously easy. You’ll make your sauce by blending together the butter and cheese, then toss it with cooked noodles. Serve your homemade Italian meal with garlic bread and a salad, and you’ll never spend money on another expensive Italian restaurant again.
- 2 sticks unsalted butter
- ½ pound grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
- 1 pound fettuccine
Directions: Using an electric mixer, beat butter and Parmesan until creamy.
In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook fettuccine according to package instructions until al dente, about 12 minutes. Reserve about ½ cup of cooking water; drain pasta.
Return fettuccine to warm pot. Toss pasta with 1/2 teaspoon salt, cheese mixture, and ¼ cup of the pasta water. Add more pasta water, as needed. Serve with additional cheese.
3. 5-Ingredient Gluten-Free Sweet Potato Gnocchi
Make vegan sweet potato gnocchi with this recipe from Heart Beet Kitchen. It requires only five ingredients and 20 minutes of your time. This food formula teaches you how to make gnocchi the healthy way thanks to the addition of sweet potato. Best of all, you can dress it up with any sauce you please.
- ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons cooked, mashed sweet potato
- ¼ cup millet flour
- ¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon almond flour
- ¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon tapioca starch
- Heaping ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1½ tablespoons olive oil
- Chopped fresh herbs.
Directions: Whisk the flours, starch, and salt together. Add the sweet potato, then add half the flour mixture. Knead together with your hands, then add the reamining flour mixture. Continue to knead until combined.
Form dough into one ball and then flatten into a disc. Cut the disc into quarters. Dust a clean work surface with millet flour, the roll each dough piece into a log that’s 6 inches long and about ½ inch wide. Cut individual gnocchi, about 1 inch long, using a sharp knife. Press a fork lightly into them to create indentations. Dust surface with more flour as needed while rolling gnocchi.
In a medium pot of simmering water, cook half the gnocchi. Once they float, allow to cook for another 1 to 2 minutes. Remove using a slotted spoon and transfer to a cutting board. Repeat with remaining uncooked gnocchi. Transfer to fridge for 5 minutes.
Heat oil in a large skillet set over medium heat. Add gnocchi once hot and cook until crisp and golden on the outside, about 5 to 6 minutes. Season with salt and fresh herbs. Serve.
4. Easy Parmesan Risotto
Most people love risotto, so why don’t they make it at home? This Parmesan risotto recipe featured on Food Network proves it’s possible. It takes less than an hour to make and will make 4 to 6 servings. There’s no reason not to enjoy homemade risotto when you can do so with only a handful of ingredients.
- 1½ cups Arborio rice
- 5 cups simmering chicken stock, preferably homemade, divided
- 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- ½ cup dry white wine
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, diced
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup frozen peas
Directions: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the rice and 4 cups of the chicken stock in a Dutch oven, such as Le Creuset. Cover and bake for 45 minutes, until most of the liquid is absorbed and the rice is al dente.
Remove from the oven, add the remaining cup of chicken stock, the Parmesan, wine, butter, salt, and pepper, and stir vigorously for 2 to 3 minutes, until the rice is thick and creamy. Add the peas and stir until heated through. Serve hot.
5. Pizza Margherita
This pizza margherita from Every Day with Rachael Ray teaches you how to make your pizza the homemade way by going back to the basics. The simple combination of pizza sauce, mozzarella, basil leaves, and olive oil is a fresh and healthy deviation from the overload of heavy ingredients. Making it this way means you can enjoy more than just one slice.
- 1 ball pizza dough, or store-bought dough
- Flour, for dusting
- Fine semolina, for dusting the peel
- ¼ to ⅓ cup pizza sauce, or store-bought sauce
- 4 ounces fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced
- A handful fresh basil leaves, torn
- Olive oil, for drizzling
Directions: At least an hour before you’re ready to bake the pizzas, place a pizza stone in your oven and preheat the oven as high as it will go.
On a floured surface, roll the dough to a 10- to 12-inch round and transfer to a semolina-dusted pizza peel. Using the back of a spoon, slather the pizza sauce on the dough, leaving a 1-inch border. Top with the mozzarella.
Bake 5 to 6 minutes, then broil 1 to 2 minutes to char the edges. When you remove the pizza from the oven, top with basil and a few turns of olive oil.
6. Vegan Garlic Pasta with Roasted Tomatoes
With this vegan garlic pasta from Minimalist Baker, the sauce is simply made from olive oil, almond milk, shallots, and garlic. We bet you won’t even miss the cheese with this creamy dish. It should be your go-to when you want something healthy, easy, and delicious.
- 3 cups grape tomatoes, halved
- 10 ounces whole wheat pasta
- Olive oil
- 2 medium shallots, diced
- 8 large cloves garlic, minced
- Sea salt and black pepper
- 3 to 4 tablespoons unbleached all purpose flour
- 2½ cups unsweetened almond milk
- Black pepper
- Fresh basil
- Vegan Parmesan
Directions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Toss tomatoes with a bit of oil and salt on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Arrange cut-side up and bake for 20 minutes.
Cook pasta according to package directions in a large pot of boiling, salted water. Drain and set aside.
Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a skillet set over low heat, then add the garlic and shallot. Season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring, until softened, about 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in flour and continue to stir and cook. Switch to a whisk and gradually add almond milk. Season again with salt and pepper, then bring to a simmer. Let cook, whisking, for 4 to 5 minutes, or until thickened. If desired, blend in a food processor or blender until smooth. Return to same pan.
Add pasta and tomatoes to sauce and toss to coat. Serve with additional black pepper, fresh basil, and vegan Parmesan.