24 Old-School Recipes Your Italian Grandma Used to Make

There’s a time to keep things light and healthy—to make sure you’re meeting your macros and getting all of your superfoods. Then there’s a time to let tradition take over…and to us, that means homey, hearty and smothered in cheese. When we’re in the mood for real Italian cooking, we blast the Sinatra, open a bottle of Chianti and turn to these recipes. 

20 Clean-Eating Pasta Recipes

One-pan Spaghetti And Meatballs

It doesn’t get any more classic than this (or any easier!). The entire meal gets cooked in the same pan, so there’s only one dish to do. And did we mention it’s ready in 30 mintues?

Slow-cooker Lasagna

OK, Nonna probably didn’t make her lasagna in the slow cooker. But this has all of her homey flavors, with none of the fuss.

Garlic Bread

Coterie Member Maria Lichty knows not to skimp on the garlic…or the Parmesan cheese. Grandma would be so proud.

Ricotta Gnocchi

Ingredient list: clouds, angel dust, and a lot of sage and brown butter. Best of all, there are no fancy gadgets required to make this at home.

Kale Minestrone

There’s nothing more comforting on a cold or rainy day. Tomatoes, pasta, kale, Parmesan, kidney beans, celery, carrots and herbs simmer on the stove—to serve, add a healthy dollop of pesto on top.

Chicken Parmesan With 5-minute Marinara

Serve over pasta to soak up more of that delicious sauce (and because everyone deserves a carb coma sometimes).

Pasta Alla Norma

We don’t know who Norma was, but we love her combination of smoky eggplant, crushed tomatoes and fresh basil.

Pesto Bolognese Lasagna

Hello, Sunday dinner. (Even better, the slow-cooked Italian Bolognese sauce can be made in advance if you’re short on time.)

Slow-cooker Pasta E Fagioli

This soup is truly a meal in a bowl—packed with protein, veggies and tons of flavor.

Amaretto Cheesecake

We’re going to go out on a limb here and say this almond graham cracker crust rivals your grandma’s. Don’t forget the homemade whipped cream (and a cappuccino, of course).

Pesto Chicken Bruschetta

Instead of crunchy pieces of bread, this bruschetta recipe uses grilled chicken as the base—making it a full (and gluten-free) meal.

Cacio E Pepe

This simple dish has gotten uber trendy, but it really is an Italian classic. And when it’s done right, there’s absolutely nothing better.

Shrimp Scampi Pasta

Coterie member Heidi Larsen packs this summery pasta with fresh tomatoes, basil and plenty of garlic—just the way we like it.

Easy Italian Pasta Salad

Our go-to for every picnic or potluck invitation we get. (And don’t forget to make a double batch—it also makes a fantastic midnight snack.)

Sausage Stuffed Mushrooms

The very best appetizer, whether you’re throwing a big party or just celebrating the fact that you made it through another Tuesday.

Easy One-pan Baked Ziti

Basically like a giant hug in a pan. Oh, and the secret ingredient? Bacon, naturally.

Bolognese Sauce

Pro tip from Coterie member Katie Workman: Make a double batch and freeze half for easy weeknight meals.

Easy Stuffed Shells

Throw in some Italian sausage or ground beef if you have it hanging around in the fridge. Add a crunchy green salad and dinner is done.

Meatball Subs

Fantastic for game day (or any day, TBH). The cheese-to-sauce-to-meatball-to-bread ratio is especially on point here.

Skillet Gnocchi With Sausage And Broccoli Rabe

Using store-bought gnocchi makes this Sunday dinner totally possible on a Wednesday night.

Italian Wedding Soup

Packed with beans, pasta, kale and sausage meatballs, this soup is basically the definition of hearty. And we are here for it.

Italian Bruschetta Bar

We love a good cheese board as much as the next girl, but this recipe truly takes it to another level.


It’s safe to say that we’re in for any dessert that has coffee, booze and a creamy mascarpone filling.