When on the topic of Italian food recipes, we usually think of pasta and pizza. But Italian food is so much more than that. From traditional classics to delicious desserts, there is great variety up and down ‘Europe’s boot’. To help inspire you, we’ve put together some of our favourite Italian recipes.

If you’re entertaining friends and family, a delicious starter can be a fantastic way to start off a meal. Risotto alla Milanese is one of our favourite Italian food recipes. Risotto is an iconic dish originating from northern Italy. The warm climate of the Mediterranean makes it the perfect place for growing short-grain rice used in risotto. There are many variations of risotto, and it can incorporate different ingredients like clams, prawns, asparagus, mozzarella and chilli. We’ve chosen Risotto alla Milanese, a classic version that originated in Milan over 400 years ago. The subtle and floral flavours of saffron really complement the sweet and salty pancetta. The ingredients are cooked in chicken stock and white wine, creating a flavoursome and warming dish.

When it comes to main courses, Italian recipes do not disappoint. We’ve chosen something very traditional that the whole family will enjoy. Pollo alla Cacciatora (also known as Hunter’s Chicken) is a hearty dish native to Tuscany, a region in central Italy known for its landscapes, history and as the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance. Pollo alla Cacciatora is the type of dish that a hunter’s wife would cook up for him after a long day in the outdoors. Chicken, cannellini beans and olives create a hearty and wholesome dish, perfect as a winter warmer. The key to making this dish flavoursome is the combination of herbs like rosemary and juniper berries together with the tomato and red wine sauce.

One of our favourite Italian recipes is gelato. While the origins of ice cream are thought to date back to ancient China, traditional Italian gelato as we know it today dates back to the 16th century during the height of the Renaissance. The main difference between gelato and ice cream is the amount of milk and cream used. As the name implies, ice cream contains more cream than milk, whereas gelato uses more whole milk to cream. Ice cream also includes egg yolks, while gelato is generally void of eggs. But it’s not just the ingredients that make the difference - it’s also the process they’re made. Gelato is churned at a much slower speed than ice cream, resulting in a denser consistency.

Out of all our Italian food recipes, we think this may be our favourite. We’ve chosen Gelato con Olio e Sale, which is gelato with olive oil and smoked sea salt. Sounds unconventional? We think you may be surprised at how good it is!