Vegan Casarecce Pasta With Raw Tomato Sauce

Best Italian dinner party ideas

We've created 38 inspiring Italian recipes to celebrate La Dolce Vita. Pizza, pasta or a decadent semi-freddo; cook an impressive Italian feast with our easy recipes

We love Italian food! Try our epic collection of Italian recipes for your next dinner party. Start with easy antipasti ideas, including burrata and a summer antipasti board. We have plenty of primi dishes to choose from, think ricotta gnudi and squash gnocchi, posh pasta dishes and easy pizza ideas. Of course, we have an epic lasagne recipe as well.


Italian dishes for main course include Italian sausages with polenta, easy agrodolce chicken and Italian baked meatballs. Ending with some fab Italian dessert recipes and cakes such as Italian lemon cake, we’re pretty confident our expert recipe writers have catered for every Italian occasion… 

Italian antipasti ideas

Grilled vegetable antipasti

Kick off a classic Italian meal with these gorgeous grilled veggies. Serve with fresh focaccia, olives and cured meats for an impressive spread.

Grilled Vegetable Antipasti Recipe

Italian flatbread with pear, walnut and gorgonzola

The combination of gorgonzola, pears and walnuts is usually found in a salad but works brilliantly on this molten cheesy bread. It’s great hot but equally good for lunchboxes the day after.

Italian Flatbread Recipe with Pear, Walnut and Gorgonzola

Figs with Grana Padano and pink peppercorn dressing

Adding finely grated Grana Padano to the dressing gives a creamy but piquant contrast to the sweet figs for a vibrant starter.

Quick Figs with Cheese Recipe and Peppercorn Dressing

Grilled peaches with burrata

Juicy peaches give a sweet contrast to creamy burrata and salty serrano ham in this showstopping summer salad.

A grey plate topped with green leaves, orange peaches and a ball of white cheese

’Nduja arancini

Check out this crunchy arancini with punchy ‘nduja, Grano Padano and saffron. This easy yet impressive recipe comes from Italian restaurant Bancone in Covent Garden.

Arancini with 'Nduja Sausage

Spaghetti carbonara arancini

Check out our spaghetti carbonara inspired arancini recipe with creamy mozzarella and crispy pancetta. Make these impressive and seriously moreish crispy arancini for your next dinner party.

Spaghetti Carbonara Arancini Recipe

Rosemary and olive oil focaccia

Check out our simple but flavoursome focaccia with rosemary and olive oil. This incredibly moreish bread recipe is easy to make and the perfect side with any starter recipe.

Focaccia Bread Recipe With Rosemary and Olive Oil

Arancini balls (suppli al telefono)

Supplì are Italian snacks made from a ball of rice, egg and tomatoes – typical of the Roman diet. Here we suggest using leftover cooked risotto to make these gooey, cheesy bites. 

Arancini Recipe Suppli al Telefono

Marinated summer veg antipasti

The best antipasti recipes use a colourful mix of summer veg. This easy one is an easy sharing plate of aubergines, peppers, courgette and mushrooms. Serve with crusty bread to mop up the juices. 

Italian antipasti recipe

Grilled nectarines with burrata, chilli and mint

Creamy soft burrata works perfectly with the smooth succulence of nectarines. Chilli adds a slight kick and the mint keeps it fresh. The perfect summer starter! 

Grilled Nectarines

Italian pasta dishes

From homemade pasta skills to easy midweek ideas, our Italian pasta dishes will inspire you to cook Italian. We have plenty more pasta ideas, from vegetarian pasta recipes to posh pasta recipes for a dinner party and our quick and easy pasta dishes.

Here’s our expert guide to cooking pasta to make sure you’re serving it right.

Spinach, mascarpone and ham hock rotolo

Spirals of salty ham hock, creamy mascarpone and spinach create this showstopping pasta bake.

Spinach Rotolo Recipe with Ham Hock and Mascarpone

Prawn orecchiette with roasted-shell olive oil

Check out our easy orecchiette recipe with large juicy prawns and punchy chilli. Impress your friends with this simple yet flavour packed pasta recipe this weekend.

Orecchiette Pasta Recipe with Prawns

Lamb ragu pappardelle

Check out chef Louis Korovilas’s melt-in-the-mouth pappardelle with indulgent lamb ragu. This easy yet impressive recipe comes from Italian restaurant Bancone in Covent Garden.

Lamb Ragu Pappardelle Recipe

Casarecca with raw tomato sauce

This vegan casarecce with raw tomato sauce recipe is super simple and only takes 15 minutes to make. Casarecce is a twisted short pasta that retains a good bite, perfect for simple pasta dishes.

Casarecce with raw tomato sauce

Butternut and ricotta rotolo with sage brown butter

Put your pasta making skills to the test and impress your guests with this low-calorie recipe for a herby butternut squash and ricotta vegetarian starter that’s taking over from cannelloni.

Butternut and ricotta rotolo with sage brown butter

Spaghetti alle vongole with samphire

Spaghetti alle vongole or clams makes a classic Italian supper. The clams are cooked in dry white wine, which combined with the natural clam juice and samphire make a lovely rich sauce for the pasta.

Spaghetti alle vongole with samphire

White lasagne

White lasagne, like white pizza, doesn’t contain any tomato sauce but is still rich and savoury. This version with porcini and pancetta is a bit posher than the usual. Look for high-welfare or rose veal mince. We have loads of lasagne recipes here, from classic lasagne to posh porcini lasagne.

White Lasagne Recipe

Trofie al pesto

Using fresh, homemade pesto this quick to make pasta dish is ready in 20 minutes. A fast and easy weekday meal that all the family will love.

Pizza recipes

It doesn’t get much more Italian than pizza! Here is a selection of our favourite pizza recipes. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, we have plenty more pizza ideas here.

Kale, chilli and ricotta calzone

Check out our calzone packed with punchy chilli, kale and creamy ricotta. This simple veggie recipe is easy to make and ready in under an hour.

Vegetarian Calzone Recipe with Kale and Ricotta

Double cheese and mushroom calzones

A twist on a pizza for two. Bread mixes make calzone easy and this version is packed full of Italian favourites; mushrooms, mozzarella, parmesan and chilli. 

Sicilian aubergine pizzas

These super-easy Sicilian aubergine pizzas are a great twist on a family favourite. They use crème fraîche instead of a tomato base, charred aubergines, sultanas and pesto, with rocket and pine nuts for a bit of extra crunch. 

Sicilian aubergine pizzas

No knead pizza with Italian sausage, fennel and burrata

This recipe for no-knead pizza with fennel, Italian sausage and burrata is a bit of a leap of faith, but once you get used to the dough, it’s a great method to have up your sleeve.

no knead pizza recipe

Pizza bianca with smoked salmon and spring onions

Try this delicious pizza bianca (with a creamy white base rather than tomato sauce). Spring onion, rocket and smoked salmon mean this pizza is piled high with fresh summery flavours.

Other Italian primi dishes

From gnudi to gnocchi, panzanella to pasta, here are our favourite primi recipes…

Fried gnocchi with broad beans, parma ham, ricotta and sage

This combo of cool lemony ricotta and crisp golden fried gnocchi is an absolute winner.

Pan Fried Gnocchi Recipe with Broad Beans, Parma Ham and Ricotta

Ricotta gnudi with sage butter 

These delicate, light-as-air ricotta dumplings are a bit of a leap of faith but will work perfectly as long as you follow the rules. Don’t be tempted to skip the draining or overnight coating time as these are both essential to the gnudi holding their shape.

ricotta gnudi

Broad bean and mint panzanella with burrata

This recipe for broad bean and mint panzanella with burrata makes a great spring salad, packed with lots of delicious flavours from anchovies and capers along with the creamy burrata and fresh broad beans. Serve it as a starter. 

Broad Bean Panzanella Recipe

Italian main course ideas

From fresh fish with almond dressing, to Italian sausages and family-style meatball ideas, try our best Italian main meals here.

Italian sausage and veg tray roast

This easy recipe is ideal when you’re short on time. Just bang it all in the oven and you have yourself a hearty and healthy springtime meal! 

Italian sausage and veg tray roast

Roast cod and romesco sauce with olive and almond dressing

Try this Italian-inspired recipe by Paul Hood, head chef at Hai Cenato, Jason Atherton’s latest restaurant. It’s quick, easy and full of flavour… perfect for a dinner party showstopper.

Roasted cod & romesco sauce with olive and almond dressing

Grilled octopus and squid with braised lentils

Grilled octopus & squid, braised lentils & salsa verde

Braised Italian sausages with cheesy polenta

Italian-style sausages with streaky bacon, herbs and a splash of red wine. Serve with some cheesy polenta for extra flavour and you’ve got a quick and easy midweek meal for all the family.

braised italian sausages

Chicken with agrodolce sauce

Agrodolce means sweet and sour in Italian. This dish cooks thin escalopes of chicken in a tomato, onion and red wine vinegar sauce for a punchy super low-cal and low-fat dish.

Aubergine parmigiana

Easy recipe for Aubergine parmigiana. This Italian classic of layers of tomato sauce, aubergine and parmesan, is simple to make and is good for entertaining or for family meals.

Italian baked meatballs

Meatballs baked in rich tomato sauce with a melting mozzarella topping – this recipe is all about comfort food. It’s also perfect for freezing, making it a great option for when you don’t want to cook mid-week. 

Italian baked meatballs

Italian desserts

Try our best Italian dessert recipes here, from summery Amalfi lemon cake to rich semifreddo, we’ve got lots of treats to end your Italian meal with. Try more of our Italian dessert recipes here…

Rich chocolate and hazelnut torte

Our chocolate and hazelnut torte is a serious creamy and indulgent weekend treat. This recipe only takes 30 minutes to whip up, and can feed up to 12 people.

Rich chocolate and Hazelnut Torte

Almond and Amalfi lemon cake

Give our Italian almond and Amalfi lemon cake a go. The Amalfi lemons have a strong intense lemony aroma, and are slightly sweeter. This light summery cake is seriously moreish, a real crowd pleaser.

Almond and Amalfi lemon cake

Chocolate and hazelnut meringue semifreddo

The Italian dessert, semifreddo, is an ice cream with a mousse-like texture. This recipe not only looks impressive, but can be made in advance for easy dinner party entertaining. Plus, there’s no churning required.

Chocolate and Hazlenut Meringue Semifreddo

Buttermilk and sage panna cotta

This recipe for buttermilk and sage panna cotta with black pepper honeycomb from Rachel Karasik may sound odd but it really, really works. 

Buttermilk and sage panna cotta


Crisp on the outside and light and fluffy on the inside, struffoli are traditional treats from Naples, Italy and are often served with honey and other sweet ingredients to be served at Christmas. 

Italian Struffoli Recipe