10 Italian Summer Dinner Recipe Ideas

Fresh seasonal ingredients and no oven required! Discover 10 Italian Summer Dinner recipe ideas you can make at home. Let’s go!

#1 Caprese Pasta with Fresh Tomato, Mozzarella and Basil!

Summer is the perfect time to find fresh, ripe tomatoes in your garden or the grocery! Combine that with fresh (water packed) mozzarella, fresh basil and a sprinkle of Parmigiano Reggiano and you have created the perfect summer dinner!

Pasta with Fresh Tomato Sauce, Mozzarella and Basil
Fast and fresh tomato sauce for pasta—the Italian way! Fresh tomatoes, Parmigiano Reggiano and extra-virgin olive oil make this dish both delicious and nutritious. Fast, easy and perfect for a hot day.
Check out this recipe

#2 Italian Bread Salad: Panzanella!

This is one of our go-to Summer dinner ideas. The famous Italian bread salad called Panzanella is made different ways throughout Italy. However. we think that layering the bread in bruschetta-like slices is both easy and makes for a satisfying dinner portion. With tomato, onion, cucumber, carrot and celery—this summer dinner is packed with fresh vegetables.

Italian Bread Salad Recipe: Panzanella
There are many variations of the famous Panzanella Bread Salad throughout Italy. This recipe is the perfect fresh spring or summer meal, with whole slices of sourdough bread and seasonal vegetables. So tasty!
Check out this recipe

#3 Authentic Italian Basil Pesto Pasta

There’s really only one time of year to make Basil Pesto—and that’s when fresh basil is in season! We recommend just buying a big plant, using as many leaves as you need to make the pesto and then popping the plant in a pot so it can continue to grow. This dish is so fresh. The traditional pasta that Italians use for this dish is trofie, but use whatever short pasta you enjoy. We like farfalle.

Basil Pesto Pasta Recipe
This healthy and tasty dish features authentic Pesto Genovese served with trofie pasta, potatoes and fresh green beans. It is a traditional dish associated with Pesto Genovese in Italy.
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#4 Spaghetti with Clam Sauce

Are you a seafood lover? Any shellfish pasta can be made without an oven. Technically, this dinner recipe can be made all year round—anytime the fresh or frozen seafood is available. However, we really do enjoy a plate of shellfish pasta and a glass of white wine on a lazy summer day.

Italian Spaghetti with Clam Sauce Recipe
Finally! Restaurant-quality Spaghetti with Clam Sauce that you can easily make at home. Our tested recipe will make it easy.

#5 Italian Caprese Salad

Another no brainer for the perfect Italian summer dinner recipe? A fresh Italian Caprese salad! Just be sure to choose FRESH mozzarella (not the dry, rubbery variety. Fresh tomatoes and basil will do the rest of the work. And of course, you’ll want to drizzle on the finest extra-virgin olive oil you can get your hands on. Serve with some Italian bread.

Authentic Italian Caprese Salad Recipe
The charm of Insalata Caprese lies in its simplicity. The authentic Caprese Salad recipe calls for just a few key ingredients: ripe tomatoes, fresh mozzarella cheese, basil leaves, extra virgin olive oil, and a sprinkle of salt!
Check out this recipe

#6 Authentic Italian Pasta Primavera

‘Primavera’ pasta is technically NOT an Italian recipe, but an American one! However, here are two dishes that probably inspired it. Both are made with fresh spring or summer vegetables. And both are very satisfying during those warm months.

Italian Garden Pasta Recipe
Pasta all’Ortolana—translated Garden Pasta recipe—is the perfect way to use fresh spring and summer vegetables! There is no specific vegetable combination that is traditional, per se. However, eggplant, zucchini and a mix of peppers are common in many Italian Garden Pasta recipes.
Check out this recipe
Authentic Italian Pasta Primavera (‘Pasta Vignarola Romana’)
Based on the traditional Vignarola Romana mixed vegetables, this recipe combines those spring vegetables with a pasta and a creamy pecorino cheese sauce for an unforgettable dish!

#7 Italian Tuna Salad

In Italy, Italians prepare Tuna salad as a ‘mousse’ (blended). And they serve it as a spread for tramezzini bread (that crust-less white bread used for cocktail sandwiches). Or, Italians add the tuna mousse as a filling for roasted red peppers. However you choose to use it, this recipe delivers!

Tuna Mousse Recipe (Italian Tuna Salad)
Tuna Mousse is Italy’s answer to ‘tuna salad.’ It is often found in bars during the aperativo, coffee shops and even bakeries and convenient stores. The tuna mousse is typically served as a sandwich filling or inside rolled-up roasted red peppers.
Check out this recipe
Italian Tuna Salad - Tuna Mousse

#8 Spaghetti alla Puttanesca

Another great Italian summer dinner recipe idea? A plate of Pasta Puttanesca! With olives, capers, anchovies and tomatoes—this dinner is fast, easy and satisfying!

Spaghetti alla Puttanesca Recipe: Authentic Italian!
A classic pasta dish from Naples, this traditional Spaghetti alla Puttanesca recipe is so satisfying and easy to whip up in minutes.
Check out this recipe

#9 Spaghetti with Mussels and Tomatoes

Another seafood pasta you’ll love? You guessed it!

Italian Pasta with Mussels and Tomato Recipe
A classic Italian Spaghetti with Mussels and Tomato! An easy and economical seafood pasta recipe you can whip up in minutes.
Check out this recipe

#10 Sicilian Orange and Fennel Salad

And finally, as a side dish (or a main dinner recipe served with bread). why not whip up a Sicilian orange and fennel salad? We like to add bits of walnuts to ours as well 🙂

Sicilian Fennel and Orange Salad Recipe
Fennel and Orange Salad is a popular salad in both Spain and Italy—particularly in the region of Sicily!
Check out this recipe
Jonathan, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Jonathan, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Jonathan, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

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