5 Italian Meals You Should Try This Summer

A lot of Italian dishes use heavy cheese and sauces. These ingredients sometimes aren’t what you are craving on a hot summer day. But, did you know there are so many other “lighter” options when it comes to having Italian dishes in the summer. Here are 5 dishes to try this summer!

Caprese Salad

One of the most simple, yet refreshing meals to make for summer is a Caprese Salad. Throw these ingredients together to create a simple, healthy Italian salad for lunch or dinner!

Prep Time: 25 min Cook Time: 15 min     Total: 40 min     Serving: 8


  • 2 cups balsamic vinegar
  • 3 ripe tomatoes
  • 12 ounces fresh mozzarella, thickly sliced
  • Large bunch fresh basil leaves
  • Olive oil, for drizzling
  • Large pinch kosher salt
  • Large pinch freshly ground black pepper

How to Make It

  1. Pour balsamic vinegar and pour into a saucepan. Bring to a boil over low heat, stirring consistently. Cook it until the balsamic vinegar has reduced to a thick glaze. This process will take about 15 minutes.
  2. Cut tomatoes into think slices
  3. Alternate tomatoes slices with mozzarella slices.
  4. In between slices of tomatoes and mozzarella, tuck in whole basil leaves
  5. Drizzle the salad with your balsamic sauce and olive oil
  6. Sprinkle on salt and pepper, and enjoy.

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Prosciutto and Melon


Meat and fruit is not something everyone thinks goes together. However, perfect this prosciutto and melon recipe, and you will be asked to bring this dish to every neighborhood and family event!

Prep Time: 10 min Total: 10 min     Serving: 4


  • 1 Cantaloupe seeded and cut into 8 slices
  • 8 pieces of prosciutto

How to Make It

  1. Remove the flesh from the rind of the cantaloupe
  2. Wrap each piece of cantaloupe with a slice of the ham
  3. Serve cold and enjoy!

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Italian specialty foods at Alesci's include freshly made sub sandwiches, cheese and meat plates, housemade cannoli, and freshly baked bread, photographed Saturday, April 11, 2015 at Jim Alesci's Place in Solon, Ohio. (Photograph by Peggy Turbett Photography)

Have some day old bread lying around? Along with a few other ingredients, you can put together a fresh salad that will be sure to please. Here is what you need.

Prep Time: 1 h 15 min Total: 1 h 15 min     Serving: 8


For the lemon-garlic vinaigrette:

  • 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (from 1 to 2 medium lemons)
  • 6 anchovies, finely chopped
  • 3 medium garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

For the salad:

  • 8 ounces day-old Italian bread (about 1/2 of a loaf), torn into large pieces
  • 2 pounds ripe tomatoes, large dice
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced sweet onion such as a Vidalia
  • 1 pound English cucumbers (about 2 medium cucumbers), halved lengthwise and cut into large dice
  • 1 packed cup fresh basil leaves, torn into large pieces
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

How to Make It

  1. For the salad dressing, combine all above ingredients and let sit for 15 minutes
  2. Place the bread in a large bowl and add half of the vinaigrette. Toss to coat well and set aside at room temperature for 10 minutes
  3. Meanwhile, place the tomatoes, onions, and cucumber in a separate large bowl and add the remaining vinaigrette. Toss to coat well and also set aside at room temperature for 10 minutes
  4. Add the vegetables and the basil to the bread and mix until evenly combined. Taste and season salt and pepper. Let sit at room temperature for 15 minutes to allow the flavors to meld
  5. Serve at room temperature and take in all of the flavors this delicious salad has to offer



Pasta Primavera


A good bit of Italian dishes combine thick noodles with heavy sauces. However, pasta primavera requires a light olive oil blend and sprinkled cheese to create a light pasta dish-perfect for those hot summer days!

Prep Time: 15 min Total: 15 min     Serving: 4


  • Kosher salt
  • 12 ounces fusilli
  • 1/2 pound sugar snap peas, halved lengthwise, or broccoli florets
  • 2 carrots, shredded
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, cut into thin strips
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped fresh mint
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 4 ounces goat cheese, crumbled

How To Make It

    1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook pasta according to label directions
    2. Add sugar snap peas, carrots, and bell peppers to boiling water for the last two minutes of cooking.
    3. Drain all ingredients and return to pot.
    4. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook until just golden, about 30 seconds.
    5. Add the tomatoes, red pepper flakes and 1-teaspoon salt; cook until the tomatoes begin to wilt, about 2 minutes.
    6. Stir in 1/4 cup of the reserved cooking water. Pour the tomato mixture over the pasta and vegetables. Add the mint, parmesan and half the goat cheese and toss to combine.
    7. Season with salt. Top with the remaining goat cheese and drizzle with olive oil and enjoy.

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House-made Italian specialties at Jim Alesci's Place include pistacio gelato at the new shop in Solon, Ohio, Friday, May 1, 2015. (Photograph by Peggy Turbett)
House-made Italian specialties at Jim Alesci’s Place include pistacio gelato at the new shop in Solon, Ohio, Friday, May 1, 2015. (Photograph by Peggy Turbett)

We couldn’t give you all of these recipes without a little dessert mixed in! Gelato anyone? This is a great gelato recipe that can be used as a base for any flavor you desire. Try some chocolate shavings or your favorite fruit flavors and enjoy this cool treat all summer long.

Prep Time: 10 min     Cook Time: 2 h 30 min     Total: 2 h 40 min     Serving: 8


  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 4 egg yolks
  • ½ cup sugar

How To Make It

  1. In a saucepan, mix milk and cream. Keep heated until foam forms around the edges and remove from heat.
  2. In a large bowl, beat the egg yolks and sugar until frothy. Gradually pour the warm milk into the egg yolks, whisking constantly. Put all ingredients back into the saucepan and cook over medium heat. Be sure to still the contents with a wooden spoon until the mixture gels and coats the back of the spoon. If egg lumps start to show, remove from heat immediately.
  3. Pour the mixture through a very fine strainer into a bowl.
  4. Cover and let chill for at least 3 hours or overnight for best results.
  5. After this, pour the mixture into an ice cream maker and freeze. Look at the manufacturing instructions for more details.
  6. Take out the gelato and enjoy!

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