20 Spring Dinner Ideas: Easy Italian Recipes!

Italian cuisine is beloved around the world for its simplicity and use of fresh seasonal ingredients. Here are 20 fresh spring dinner ideas that you can whip up at home this season! These are all traditional Italian recipes from the PIATTO cooking channels—most include video recipes so you can follow along step by step!

1) Spaghetti Cacio e Pepe

Cacio e Pepe—no heavy cream—made with just pecorino cheese and hot pasta water!

You may think of Spaghetti Cacio e Pepe as a heavy dish, but that’s because you aren’t making it like an Italian 😉 The classic recipe has just 3 ingredients (not including the hot pasta water). We’ll show you the foolproof way to whip this dish up in minutes.

Spaghetti Cacio e Pepe Recipe
One of the most distinctive recipes that you will find in any Rome restaurant. The traditional Cacio e Pepe has just three ingredients: pecorino cheese and black pepper ("cacio" and “pepe") and pasta. The trick to achieving its unmatched flavor? Quality ingredients and few simple cooking tricks.
Check out this recipe

2) Real Pasta Primavera

Pasta Vignarola Romana

    Believe it or not, “Pasta Primavera” isn’t actually an Italian dish. However, it is inspired by several real spring and summer Italian pasta recipes—For instance this recipe with penne featuring a classic mix of spring summer veggies (Vignarola Romana).

    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!

    3) Pesto Pasta (Pesto alla Genovese)

    basil pesto is traditionally served with trofie pasta, green beans and potatoes—so fresh!

      Pesto pasta is a popular Italian dish that is especially popular during the spring and early summer months. It is a simple and delicious pasta dish made with fresh basil, pine nuts, garlic, Parmigiano cheese, and olive oil. We love pesto pasta because it is easy to make and can be customized to suit any taste. We prefer a mortar and pestle for this job—the traditional tool for getting the freshest flavor from your pesto! We’ll show you what product we use and how you can get this Made in Italy product on Amazon. Toss the pesto with cooked pasta and serve!

      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.
      Check out this recipe

      4) Baked Sea Bass with Potatoes and Tomatoes

      Yes, you have to turn the oven on for this recipe, but its super easy and ready in minutes. This is a classic fresh spring dinner recipe from the Italian island of Sardegna.

      Baked Sea Bass with Herbed Roasted Potatoes
      A whole sea bass roasted with a blend of fresh Italian herbs, tomato and laid on a bed of crispy roasted potatoes. Substitute any type of sea bass (spigola or branzino). Seriously good eats from the Italian island of Sardinia (Sardegna)!
      Check out this recipe

      5) Pasta alla Gricia

      Pasta alla Gricia with guanciale and pecorino cheese sauce

      In all fairness, most Italians eat pasta for lunch. But these Roman pasta dishes make for the perfect spring dinner idea if you enjoy pasta for dinner. We’ll show you how to make this recipe the classic Roman way.

      Authentic Pasta alla Gricia Recipe
      This Pasta Gricia recipe is one of the pillars of Roman pasta, along with: Carbonara, Cacio e Pepe and Amatriciana! With a creamy pecorino cheese sauce and fine Italian guanciale, you'll love this dish!
      Check out this recipe

      6) Best Italian Steak: Tagliata

      Tagliata steak served with an arugula salad and parmigiano shavings—what a dinner!

      Ah, Tuscan Tagliata! We’ll show you how to make steak to perfection just as they do in Tuscany. So fast and easy in a pan.

      Best Italian Steak Recipe: Tagliata (In a Pan)!
      One of the best Italian steak recipes in Italy has to be the Tagliata! Tagliata is a sirloin steak cooked to perfection (usually, rare) and plated as thin slices (tagliata means cut in Italian).  It’s a traditional Tuscan dish.

      7) Spaghetti with Clam Sauce

      spaghetti with clam sauce

      Fresh seafood with pasta is the perfect light spring dinner! Don’t know how to prep clams? No worries, we’ll share all of the secrets to creating the perfect clam sauce.

      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.

      8) Spaghetti with Mussels and Clams

      Spaghetti with mussels and tomatoes is so easy!

      Even easier and cheaper than Spaghetti with Clams? Spaghetti with Mussels and Tomatoes! A fast and tasty Mediterranean Diet recipe.

      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

      9) Spaghetti Aglio e Olio

      Italy’s easiest pasta recipe!

      This fast and easy pasta recipe is beloved in Italy all year round.

      Best Spaghetti Aglio Olio Recipe (Garlic and Oil Pasta)
      The fastest pasta dish in Italy! This simple pasta dish is nonetheless packed with flavor. It is a favorite in Italy for lunch breaks or for a midnight snack. Spaghetti Aglio e Olio is popular throughout Italy, but originated in Naples.

      10) Broccoli Rabe Orecchiette

      Broccoli Rabe Orrecchiette

      A traditional dish from Puglia, this easy and nutritious recipe features ‘little ears’ pasta and tasty broccoli rabe.

      Broccoli Rabe Pasta Recipe
      A simple seasonal pasta dish from the Puglia region of Italy! Like so many Italian dishes, the secret to this dish is properly preparing the vegetables. Follow our tips for removing the parts of the broccoli rabe that aren't tender and tasty.
      Check out this recipe

      11) Penne alla Vodka with Smoked Salmon

      Yes! Vodka pasta is an Italian dish—famous during the disco area.

      Vodka brings out otherwise imperceptible flavors in this amazingly tasty and easy pasta recipe!

      Penne alla Vodka with Salmon (Smoked) —1980’s Disco Vodka Pasta Recipe
      Amazing! Indulge in the best Penne alla Vodka with Salmon recipe. Rich, creamy vodka sauce + delicate smoked salmon.
      Check out this recipe

      12) Puttanesca Pasta

      Fresh and flavorful Puttanesca Pasta!

      Another classic Mediterranean diet recipe with olive, capers and anchovies (optional), this pasta dish is a fresh choice for a fast spring dinner.

      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
      Healthy Spaghetti Puttanesca Recipe: Just 325 Calories
      We've lightened up the classic Spaghetti Puttanesca with sensible pasta portions and less fat! Still delicious and oh so nutritious.

      13) Caprese Pasta

      One of our favorite spring dinner recipes!

      This is one of our favorite lunch and dinner recipes—fresh and fast and packed with seasonal spring and summer ingredients.

      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

      14) Spaghetti Aglio Olio with Bottarga!

      Aglio e Olio.. as they enjoy it on the island of Sardegna!

      This take on Spaghetti Aglio e Olio features a special local ingredient from the island of Sardegna: Bottarga! This has become one of our favorite spring dinner and lunch recipes, and we use the best mortar and pestle Made in Italy to keep the garlic and bottarga fresh and maximize the flavors.

      Spaghetti Aglio Olio Recipe with Fresh Garlic and Bottarga
      Spaghetti Aglio Olio as it is often made on the island of Sardegna—with fresh mashed garlic and a sprinkle of bottarga!
      Check out this recipe

      15) Spaghetti alla Nerano

      One way to make Spaghetti alla Nerano!

      Spaghetti alla Nerano with fried zucchini and provolone has become more popular since Stanley Tucci featured it in his TV series on Italian food. There are a few ways to make this pasta dish and still have it be considered ‘traditional.’ This dish is much faster to make if you own a deep fryer which makes frying the zucchini a breeze.

      Best Spaghetti alla Nerano Recipe—Creamy, Cheesy with Zucchini
      This classic take from Flavia Diamante is possibly the best Spaghetti alla Nerano recipe we've tried! Recipe + Video filmed in Italy!
      Check out this recipe
      Spaghetti Alla Nerano Recipe: Pasta with Zucchini and Provolone
      This authentic Spaghetti alla Nerano recipe is from Nerano near Naples! This famous Italian pasta recipe features provolone cheese and a secret ingredient: fried zucchini! It's a cheesy pasta with an unforgettable umami flavor.

      16) Pizza (Roman Style Pan Pizza)

      Our beloved Roman Style pan pizza recipe

        Pizza is a staple of Italian cuisine, and margherita pizza is one of the most popular varieties. We make this pizza recipe at home every Friday! To make a classic margherita pizza, simply top a pizza crust with tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella cheese, and fresh basil. Bake in the oven until the crust is crispy and the cheese is melted and bubbly. But Margherita is just one way to top our high hydration pizza dough recipe—so be sure to mix it up and try all of these pizza topping ideas!

        How to Make 70% Hydration Pizza Dough
        Learn how to make a 70% hydration pizza dough that is delicious and HIGHLY DIGESTIBLE! It will be soft inside, with a crispy crust!
        Check out this recipe

        17) Panzanella Bread Salad

        Panzanella bread salad– one of several traditional versions.

        Panzanella is a favorite in our family during spring and summer dinners. It’s soooo fresh and easy. Our family follows the recipe traditional to Marche rather than the ‘crouton’ style panzanella popular in other regions of Italy. You’ll love it!

        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

        18) Garden Pasta

        garden pasta with peppers, zucchini, onion and eggplant

        Garden Pasta is likely another inspiration to the “Pasta Primavera” popular in the US and elsewhere. This recipe features spring and summer veggies and an easy, creamy Parmigiano sauce.

        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

        19) Herbed Salmon

        Nonna Lulu’s Zesty Herbed Salmon

        We got this recipe from PIATTO’s Nonna Lulu! A super easy Herbed Salmon recipe you can prepare in a pan or on the grill for a fresh spring dinner.

        Nonna Lulu’s Zesty Herbed Salmon Recipe
        Discover Nonna Lulu's Herbed Salmon recipe—with garlic, thyme, lemon, chives.. and a secret ingredient. Bake it or grill it!
        Check out this recipe

        20) Caprese Salad

        caprese salad

        Caprese salad is a simple yet delicious Italian salad made with fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, and basil. It is a perfect dish for spring and early summer, when fresh tomatoes are at their best. Americans love caprese salad because it is easy to make and requires only a few ingredients. To make a classic caprese salad, simply slice fresh mozzarella and ripe tomatoes, arrange them on a plate, and top with fresh basil leaves. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

        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

        In conclusion, Italian cuisine is a favorite of many Americans, particularly during the spring and early summer months. From caprese salad to panzanella and many easy pasta recipes, there are many delicious Italian dishes that will satisfy your need for flavor and freshness for a spring dinner.

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