Brilliant Italian Dishes You Haven't Tried Before
No fettuccine alfredo or penne alla vodka here. Each of these recipes—for Italian "sushi," roast chicken with a serious kick and more—offers a fresh approach to the beloved cuisine.
Photo: Christopher Testani
Sushi by Way of Parma
This genius appetizer from Suzanne Lenzer's new Truly Madly Pizza
stars barely blanched asparagus that's tangled up with baby greens, lightly dressed in lemon and olive oil, and rolled up in prosciutto and sliced just like a California roll. It's supereasy to throw together; just make sure you start with prosciutto that's cut into fairly even rectangles. If it's tattered or torn, you won't be able to get the chiffon-thin sheets to layer well.
Get the recipe: Prosciutto with Asparagus and Arugula
A New Way to Enjoy a Familiar Dried Fruit
Although golden raisins aren't common in pasta dishes, they add an unexpected sweetness that can be especially delicious with bitter greens. This recipe, from the new book Healthy Pasta
, by Joseph Bastianich and Tanya Bastianich Manuali, matches the dried fruit with baby spinach leaves, ricotta, pine nuts and orange zest; it's an unusual combination of flavors and textures that totally works. For the pasta, you can use long, wavy mafalde, as well as fettuccine or another flat noodle.
Get the recipe: Mafalde with Spinach, Pine Nuts and Golden Raisins
The Best Use of Leftover Spaghetti We've Ever Seen
You can make a frittata—aka an Italian open-face omelet—with practically any ingredients, from squash
. But this take, from Healthy Pasta
, might be one of the most creative. Aside from breakfast sausage, red bell pepper, scallions, eggs and cheese, it also includes cooked spaghetti. The strands of pasta add a whimsical element to the dish, which you can serve for any meal.
Get the recipe: Breakfast Pasta Frittata
Foolproof Roast Chicken with Crazy Intense Flavor
Supercrispy skin, juicy meat and a quick cooking time are all great reasons to spatchcock (aka butterfly) a chicken. There's one more, too: the technique loosens the skin on the bird, so it's less taut, making it easy to slide all kinds of delicious seasonings underneath. This recipe calls on lemon zest and juice, fresh herbs (any combination of rosemary, marjoram and/or oregano) and red-pepper flakes to give the chicken a bright, zippy taste (the recipe's name—"diavolo"—means "devil" in Italian). A bed of roasted peppers and onions provides a sweet counterbalance to the spice.
Get the recipe: Devil's Chicken with Sweet Peppers and Onions (Roast Chicken Diavolo)
Tomatoes Brimming with Some of the Tastiest Foods Ever
Tomatoes and mozzarella are a classic pairing, but there's so much more to this duo than topping a pizza or anchoring an antipasto platter. This minimalist recipe is a perfect example. It's a riff on stuffed tomatoes, where sautéed Italian sausage, corn kernels, tomato scraps, baguette cubes and shredded mozzarella form a savory and filling stuffing. You bake the tomatoes until they're golden, and are rewarded with a magnificent reminder of just how versatile a familiar combo can be.
Get the recipe: Stuffed Tomatoes with Sausage and Corn