Italian cuisine is at its finest in the summer, when bountiful sunshine yields harvests of tomatoes, basil, and other classic flavors. To get the inside scoop on must-try dishes, we asked our Italy team members for their favorite summer recommendations.
Pappa al pomodoro
With a name that means “mush of tomato,” this thick Tuscan soup is a warm-weather favorite that can be served hot or chilled. It combines the ever-popular ingredients of tomato, basil, garlic and olive oil with crusty bread to make a hearty lunch or light dinner. Fun fact: The soup was immortalized in song by 1960s singing sensation Rita Pavone.
Our recipe pick: Ina Garten
Similar to pappa al pomodoro in the ingredient list, tomatoes, olive oil, vinegar and chunks of day-old bread become something special when tossed together in this rustic lunch that truly celebrates the flavors of Italian harvests. Perk up your own version by adding olives, mozzarella, carrots, tuna, mint, garlic and more.
Our recipe pick: Chow
Prosciutto e melone
Sometimes there is beauty in simplicity, especially in the laid-back summer months. When it comes to warm-weather snacking in Italy, the pairing of salty meat with sweet melon is an unexpectedly delicious treat.
Our recipe pick: Nigel Slater via The Guardian
Carpaccio di vitello
For this Italian riff on beef tartare, high quality meat is a must. Traditionally a Piedmontese dish, it was officially named for Venetian painter Vittore Carpaccio when it was served at an exhibition of his work in the 1950s. Veal is often the preferred meat for its thin slices when served raw, but any high quality cut of beef will work just as well.
Our recipe pick: Jamie Oliver
Tomatoes, mozzarella and fresh basil may just be some of the most iconic Italian flavors, and this festive mix of red, green and white can be seen on Italian tables all summer long. Variations on the more traditional theme are welcome—substitute arugula and oregano for basil, add olives or anchovies—but always finish with a drizzle of good olive oil.
Our recipe pick: Epicurious