Travel Blog

April 17, 2024

Our Favourite (and delicious) Italian Recipes

food tour, italy, tour, italian, exchange, recipe, risotto, cavatelli, pasta, bolognese, antonio sabia, puntino

We’re launching a culinary tour around Italy with chef Antonio Sabia (click me to learn more)! Below are some of our favourite recipes to get your mouths watering before booking your tour! Keep reading for Risotto Milanese, Homemade Cavatelli and Traditional Pasta Bolognese recipes. Download the recipes below!

Risotto Milanese – Laura’s favourite 

Risotto alla Milanese is a creamy saffron risotto that’s possibly Milan’s most famous dish. It comes together easily and never fails to impress, it’s both light and comforting – perfect for every season! Serve alongside roast meat such as osso bucco in keeping with tradition or let the golden rice shine as a main course with a simple side salad. Download this recipe here to keep and impress any crowd! 

Serves 6 as a side, or 4 as a main 


  • 6 cups low sodium chicken or beef broth 
  • 1 generous pinch saffron threads (about ½ teaspoon) 
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 
  • 1 small yellow onion finely diced (½ to ¾ cup) 
  • 1 ½ cups Carnaroli or Abrorio rice 
  • 1 pinch kosher salt 
  • ½ cup medium-bodied white wine, such as Italian Chardonnay 
  • ½ cup freshly grated Grana Padano and/or Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving 
  • 1 tablespoon cold unsalted butter (optional) 


  1. Pour the broth into a medium saucepan and warm it over medium heat until it is almost at a simmer. Reduce the heat to low and cover the pan to keep the broth warm. 
  1. Place the saffron in a small bowl and pour about ½ cup hot broth over it. Let sit for at least 20 minutes, stirring a few times to dissolve. 
  1. Meanwhile, measure the olive oil into a deep skillet or heavy-bottomed sauté pan. Add the onion and set on medium-low. Cook, stirring, until the onion is soft and pale gold, about 8 minutes. 
  1. Stir in the rice, toasting it and coating it well with oil. Continue stirring until it is pearly and translucent and you start to hear it crackle, 3 to 5 minutes. Season with ½ teaspoon salt (unless your broth is already salted). 
  1. Pour in the wine and let it bubble briefly, stirring until it is absorbed. Add a ladleful (¾ cup) of hot broth and keep stirring until it is completely absorbed. Then add another ladleful, stirring regularly and allowing the rice to absorb the liquid before adding more. 
  1. After about 15 minutes, pour the dissolved saffron into the pot with the rice and stir until fully incorporated and all the rice has turned golden. 
  1. Continue adding broth as needed and stirring until the risotto is creamy and al dente. Add a final splash of broth to give the risotto its signature “wavy” or “flowing” consistency; it should be slightly runny but still spoonable. 
  1. Remove the pot from the heat. Add the cheese and butter and stir vigorously until they're fully incorporated. Spoon the risotto into bowls and sprinkle a little more cheese on top. Serve while still hot and creamy. 

Cavatelli Pasta – Rachela’s favourite 

This is a traditional eggless pasta that uses just two ingredients and can be made quickly and easily plus you don't need any special equipment! Cavatelli are firm to the bite and slightly dense making it the ideal pasta for more robust sauces – great for the colder months or simple light recipes – great for the warmer months. The shape holds all the flavours of whatever you choose to pair it with and looks beautifully rustic – just like Nonna makes! Download this delicious recipe here! 

Serves 6 


  • 4 cups finely ground semolina flour 
  • 1 1/2 cup warm water (more or less as needed) 
  • 1 teaspoon salt 


  1. Place the semolina flour on a work surface (or in a bowl), make a well in the middle, and sprinkle with salt. Add most of the water into the well in the centre of the semolina flour. 
  1. Start combining water with the semolina flour using your fingers or a fork, pulling in the flour and forming a dough. Add more water, if needed or more flour if the dough is too sticky. The dough should feel soft and supple, a bit like playdough. 
  1. Knead well for 5-10 minutes until smooth and elastic then form into a ball. If you began the cavatelli dough in a bowl, scrape it out onto a work surface to knead. 
  1. Wrap with plastic and set aside for 30 minutes to rest. This rest will make all the difference! After 30 minutes, cut off ¼ of the dough. Rewrap the remaining dough. 
  1. Roll the smaller portion of dough into a sausage shape. You shouldn't need any extra semolina/flour but if you do, use it sparingly. 
  1. Continue rolling until you have a long rope about 1cm in diameter. Be sure to roll the rope to this thin otherwise, it will be too thick to cook properly. It may be easier to cut it in half and keep rolling to achieve this thickness. Cut the rope into 2-2.5cm length pieces. 
  1. Using two fingers (the index and the middle finger), press firmly onto each piece of dough and drag toward you creating a curl and an indentation. It's important to press firmly enough to thin the dough and create a curled pasta. This might take a little practice. 
  1. Place in a single layer and not touching on baking paper that has been dusted with semolina and repeat with the remaining dough. 
  1. Bring a large pot of water to the boil. When boiling, add one heaped tablespoon of salt then add the cavatelli to the pot and cook for 8-10 minutes. This will depend on the size of the cavatelli. Taste after 5 minutes and cook longer if needed. Cooking may be even longer than 10 minutes if you have made larger cavatelli. 
  1. Serve with your favourite sauce – try a traditional tomato sauce, Pesto or Authentic Bolognese Ragu! 

Traditional Bolognese sauce (Ragù alla Bolognese) – Bella’s favourite 

Bolognese sauce is famous all over the world, there are many variations even in Bologna but most of the versions around the globe are far from a true authentic Bolognese sauce. In 1982, the official recipe was submitted to the Bologna Chamber of Commerce by Delegazione di Bologna dell’Accademia Italiana della Cucina. We’ve dug through the archives and found the verified, authentic recipe to share with you! You can read the official recipe and view acceptable variations here

Serves 6 


  • Coarsely ground beef (see note): 1 lb (400g) 
  • Fresh pork pancetta, slices: 6 oz (150g) 
  • ½ onion, peeled: about 2 oz (60g) 
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled: about 2 oz (60g) 
  • 1 celery stalk, trimmed: about 2 oz (60g) 
  • ½ cup (1 glass) of red or white wine 
  • Strained tomatoes: 7 oz (200g) 
  • Tomato paste (double-concentrated): 1 tbsp 
  • ½ cup (1 glass) of whole milk (optional) 
  • Light meat or vegetable broth (or stock cubes) 
  • Extra virgin olive oil: 3 tbsp 
  • Salt and pepper


  1. In a heavy non-stick 10-inch (24-26cm) casserole (aluminium or enamelled cast-iron (Dutch oven) or terracotta saucepans can be used), melt the ground or chopped pancetta with olive oil. 
  1. Using a chef’s or chopping knife, finely chop the onion, celery, and carrot (do not use a food processor); add the vegetables to the oil and pancetta and cook over low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon until softened but not browned. 
  1. Raise the heat to medium and add the meat, break it up, then cook for about ten minutes, always stirring, until it sizzles and browns. 
  1. Add the wine; cook over medium heat until it has completely evaporated. Add the tomato paste and purée. Mix well; add a cup of boiling stock (or water) and simmer, covered, for about 2 hours (or 3 depending on preference and type of meat), adding hot broth (or water) as needed.  
  1. Add any milk (traditionally used) half way through the cooking; allow to evaporate completely.  
  1. Season with salt and pepper before serving. When ready the sauce will be a rich maroon hue, thick and glossy. 

We hope you enjoy these dishes as much as we do! For more information about our new culinary tour of Italy, click here! Don't miss a thing, follow us on Facebook and Instagram (!

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