Italian Food with Cheese: Stretch Your Ingredients and Savor Every Bite

Escape to Italy with Every Bite: Dive into Our Cheesy Delights

Craving a taste of Italy? Look no further than this irresistible Italian food with cheese recipe courtesy of Piccolino Woodfired Pizza and Homemade Pasta. This dish, bursting with the flavors of Italy's diverse cheeses, will tantalize your taste buds and leave you wanting more.

Spaghetti Napoli

This recipe offers a fresh and flavorful take on the classic Spaghetti Napoli. Simple ingredients and a touch of seasonal herbs elevate this dish, making it perfect for a quick and satisfying weeknight meal.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound dried spaghetti
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes (or 1 pound fresh tomatoes, peeled and puréed)
  • ½ cup chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Fresh seasonal herbs, such as basil, parsley, or oregano, chopped (for garnish)
  • Shaved Parmesan cheese for serving

Instructions:

  1. Cook the Spaghetti: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the spaghetti and cook according to package instructions until al dente (usually around 8-12 minutes). Drain the pasta, reserving about ½ cup of the cooking water.
  2. Make the Sauce: While the pasta cooks, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the diced onion and cook until softened about 5 minutes. Stir in the minced garlic and cook for another minute until fragrant.
  3. Add the Tomatoes and Broth: Add the crushed tomatoes (or puréed fresh tomatoes) and chicken/vegetable broth to the pan. Season with dried oregano, red pepper flakes (if using), salt, and pepper. Bring to a simmer and cook for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens slightly.
  4. Combine and Serve: Once the sauce is ready, toss the cooked pasta with the sauce in the skillet. Add a splash of reserved pasta water if needed to loosen the sauce to your desired consistency.
  5. Garnish and Enjoy: Plate the pasta and garnish with chopped fresh herbs like basil, parsley, or oregano. Finish with a generous sprinkle of shaved parmesan cheese and serve immediately.

Tips:

  • For a richer flavored sauce, you can add a tablespoon of tomato paste along with the crushed tomatoes.
  • If you don't have fresh herbs, you can use a pinch of dried basil or parsley in the sauce.
  • Leftover cooked chicken or vegetables can be added to the sauce for a more substantial meal.

Spaghetti Traditional Bolognese

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 400g (14oz) ground beef
  • 200g (7oz) ground veal
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 100g (3½oz) grated carrot
  • 2 x 400g (14oz) cans of chopped tomatoes
  • 400ml (14fl oz) beef stock
  • 200ml (7fl oz) whole milk
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1-2 bay leaves
  • Fresh basil for garnish
  • Grated Parmesan cheese for serving

Instructions:

  1. Heat a large saucepan over medium heat with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the diced onion and minced garlic. Cook until the onion is transparent.
  2. Raise the heat to medium-high and add the ground beef and veal. Stir and break up the meat as it cooks and browns.
  3. Once the meat is browned, stir in the tomato paste followed by the canned tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper, and add 1-2 bay leaves.
  4. Bring the sauce to a boil, then gradually lower the heat to the lowest level. Cover the pot and simmer for three hours. The slow cooking time is crucial for developing rich flavors.
  5. During the last 15-20 minutes of cooking, raise the heat slightly and cook on a slow boil, stirring occasionally.
  6. After three hours, remove the bay leaf and add the whole milk. Heat the sauce thoroughly for a couple of minutes.
  7. Meanwhile, cook your favorite spaghetti according to package instructions until al dente. Drain.
  8. Toss the cooked spaghetti with the Bolognese sauce. Sprinkle with fresh basil and serve.
  9. Don’t forget to generously top each serving with shaved Parmesan cheese for that extra flavor!

Tagliatelle Amatriciana

Here's how to make homemade Tagliatelle Amatriciana with sauteed pancetta, pureed tomatoes, chopped chili, and shaved parmesan:

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound dried tagliatelle pasta
  • 4 ounces pancetta, diced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes (or 1 pound fresh tomatoes, peeled and puréed)
  • ½ cup dry white wine (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (adjust to your spice preference)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese (or Parmesan cheese), for serving

Instructions:

  1. Cook the Pasta: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the tagliatelle pasta and cook according to package instructions until al dente (usually around 8-12 minutes). Reserve about ½ cup of the starchy pasta water before draining.
  2. Sauté the Pancetta: While the pasta cooks, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the diced pancetta and cook until crispy and golden brown, about 5-7 minutes. Remove the pancetta with a slotted spoon and set aside on a paper towel-lined plate.
  3. Sauté the Aromatics: Leave some of the rendered fat in the pan and add the diced onion. Cook until softened and translucent, about 3-4 minutes. Stir in the minced garlic and cook for another minute until fragrant.
  4. Deglaze with Wine (Optional): If using white wine, pour it into the pan and scrape up any browned bits from the bottom. Let the wine simmer for a minute or two, allowing the alcohol to cook off.
  5. Add Tomatoes and Spices: Add the crushed tomatoes (or puréed fresh tomatoes) to the pan along with the red pepper flakes. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Bring to a simmer and cook for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens slightly.
  6. Combine and Finish: Once the pasta is cooked, add it to the sauce along with the reserved pasta water. Toss everything together to coat the pasta evenly. Add back the cooked pancetta and stir to combine.
  7. Serve and Enjoy: Plate the Tagliatelle Amatriciana and garnish with freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese (or Parmesan cheese) to your liking. Enjoy immediately!

Tips:

  • For a richer flavored sauce, you can add a tablespoon of tomato paste along with the crushed tomatoes.
  • If you prefer a smoother sauce, you can briefly puree it with an immersion blender after adding the tomatoes.
  • Adjust the amount of red pepper flakes according to your desired level of spice.
  • Traditionally, Pecorino Romano cheese is used in Amatriciana sauce, but Parmesan cheese can be a good substitute.

Tagliatelle Mushroom Truffle

Let’s create a delightful Tagliatelle Mushroom Truffle dish that combines earthy mushrooms, creamy sauce, and the luxurious flavor of truffle. This recipe is sure to impress your taste buds:

Ingredients:

  • 5g dried porcini mushrooms
  • 300ml boiling water
  • 1 tbsp rapeseed or olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 10g thyme sprigs, plus a few extra leaves for serving
  • 350g mixed mushrooms (such as girolles, porcini, or chanterelles), brushed clean and torn or sliced
  • 150ml white wine
  • 150g dried tagliatelle
  • 20g unsalted butter
  • 180g crème fraîche
  • A few drops of good truffle oil
  • Sea salt and black pepper
  • Fresh Parmesan shavings for serving

Instructions:

  1. Place the dried porcini in a jug and pour boiling water over them. Allow them to stand for 5 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, heat a large frying pan over medium heat and add the oil, chopped onion, and crushed garlic. Sauté for 5–10 minutes until softened but not colored.
  3. Strain the porcini, reserving the liquid. Add the rehydrated porcini to the pan along with the thyme sprigs and fresh mushrooms. Turn up the heat and stir-fry for 15 minutes until the mushrooms are soft and golden. Discard the thyme sprigs.
  4. Add the white wine to the pan and allow it to bubble and reduce by half.
  5. Cook the tagliatelle in a large pot of boiling, salted water according to the package instructions.
  6. Towards the end of the pasta cooking time, add the butter to the mushroom pan, stir well, and allow it to bubble.
  7. Stir in the crème fraîche, turn down the heat, and let the sauce thicken slightly. Season to taste and add a little of the reserved porcini water.
  8. Drain the cooked pasta, reserving a cupful of the cooking water, and tip it into the mushroom pan. Toss the pasta in the sauce, adding pasta water if needed.
  9. Divide the creamy tagliatelle between bowls, drizzle over a few drops of truffle oil, sprinkle with fresh Parmesan shavings, and garnish with extra thyme leaves.
Tagliatelle Mushroom Truffle
Tagliatelle Mushroom Truffle

Potato Gnocchi Pulled Duck Ragu

Here's how to make homemade Potato Gnocchi with Pulled Duck Ragù featuring slow-cooked duck legs in a Napoli sauce, fresh rosemary, and shaved Parmesan:

Ingredients:

For the Potato Gnocchi:

  • 2 pounds russet potatoes
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Pinch of freshly ground black pepper

For the Duck Ragù:

  • 2 duck legs (bone-in, skin-on)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes (or 1 pound fresh tomatoes, peeled and puréed)
  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 sprig of fresh rosemary
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

For Serving:

  • Fresh rosemary sprigs (optional)
  • Shaved Parmesan cheese

Instructions:

1. Make the Potato Gnocchi:

  • Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Wash and pierce the potatoes with a fork. Bake for 1 hour or until tender.
  • Once cooked, remove the potatoes from the oven and let them cool slightly. Peel the potatoes and mash them with a potato ricer or fork until smooth.
  • On a lightly floured surface, place the mashed potatoes and make a well in the center. Add the egg yolk, salt, and pepper. Gradually incorporate the flour, using a fork or your hands, until a soft dough forms. Be careful not to overwork the dough.
  • Dust your work surface with additional flour. Roll out the dough into a long rope about 1 inch thick. Cut the rope into 1-inch gnocchi pieces.
  • Using a fork (optional), gently press each gnocchi piece against the tines to create ridges. Alternatively, you can roll each gnocchi piece down the back of a fork to create grooves.
  • Set the prepared gnocchi on a lightly floured baking sheet and dust them lightly with flour to prevent sticking.

2. Make the Duck Ragù:

  • Pat the duck legs dry with paper towels. Season them generously with salt and pepper.
  • Heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Sear the duck legs on all sides until golden brown.
  • Remove the duck legs from the pot and set them aside.
  • Add the diced onion, carrots, and celery to the pot and cook until softened about 5-7 minutes. Stir in the minced garlic and cook for another minute until fragrant.
  • Deglaze the pan with the red wine, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom. Let the wine simmer for a minute or two, allowing the alcohol to cook off.
  • Add the crushed tomatoes (or puréed fresh tomatoes), chicken broth, and the fresh rosemary sprig. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Bring the sauce to a simmer, then return the browned duck legs to the pot.
  • Reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and simmer for 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until the duck legs are very tender and falling off the bone.

3. Cook the Gnocchi and Serve:

  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Once boiling, gently add the gnocchi in batches. Cook for 2-3 minutes or until the gnocchi float to the surface.
  • Using a slotted spoon, remove the cooked gnocchi from the water and transfer them directly to the sauce in the Dutch oven.
  • Using two forks, shred the cooked duck legs and discard the bones and skin. Add the shredded duck meat to the sauce and toss with the gnocchi to coat everything evenly.
  • Heat the gnocchi and sauce together for another minute or two until warmed through.
  • Divide the Potato Gnocchi with Pulled Duck Ragù among serving plates. Garnish with fresh rosemary sprigs (optional) and a generous sprinkle of shaved Parmesan cheese.

Potato Gnocchi Wild Boar Ragu

Let’s create a Potato Gnocchi Wild Boar Ragu that combines tender wild boar, rich red wine, aromatic rosemary, and the umami goodness of shaved Parmesan. This hearty dish will transport you to the heart of Tuscany. Here’s how to make it:

Ingredients:

For the Wild Boar Ragu:

  • 500g de-boned wild boar shoulder meat
  • 2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 onions, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1/2 head of celery, finely chopped
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 250ml good red wine or beef stock
  • 2 x 400g tins of peeled plum tomatoes
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped

For the Potato Gnocchi:

  • 250g baked red skin mashed potato
  • 20g Parmesan cheese, finely grated
  • Pinch of ground nutmeg
  • 80g ‘00’ flour (pasta flour) + extra for dusting
  • 1 large egg

To Finish:

  • 50g butter
  • Crispy sage leaves
  • 50g Parmesan cheese, grated

Instructions:

For the Wild Boar Ragu:

  1. Marinate the Wild Boar:
    • Place the de-boned wild boar shoulder meat in a large bowl.
    • Add enough red wine to cover the meat.
    • Mix in the finely chopped carrots, onions, celery, garlic, and bay leaf.
    • Cover and refrigerate for 48 hours to allow the flavors to meld.
  2. Sear the Wild Boar:
    • Remove the boar from the marinade and pat it dry.
    • Heat a large pan over high heat and add olive oil.
    • Sear the boar on all sides until browned.
    • Remove and set aside.
  3. Prepare the Soffritto:
    • In the same pan, add the remaining olive oil.
    • Add the finely chopped carrots, onions, and celery.
    • Cook for 5–10 minutes until golden brown.
  4. Combine and Simmer:
    • Return the boar to the pan with the soffritto.
    • Deglaze with red wine or beef stock.
    • Add the tinned tomatoes and bay leaf.
    • Simmer for around 4 hours until the boar is tender and falling apart.

For the Potato Gnocchi:

  1. Prepare the Mashed Potatoes:
    • Preheat your oven to 200°C (180°C fan/gas 6).
    • Bake red-skinned potatoes for 1 hour until soft.
    • Scoop out the soft insides and pass through a fine sieve.
    • Weigh off 250g of the potato mixture.
  2. Make the Gnocchi Dough:
    • While still hot, add grated Parmesan, nutmeg, salt, and pepper to the potatoes.
    • Make a well in the center and crack in the egg.
    • Combine by hand and gradually add flour until a non-sticky dough forms.
  3. Shape the Gnocchi:
    • Divide the dough and roll into long sausage shapes.
    • Cut into even-sized pillows (about 2½ cm long).
  4. Cook the Gnocchi:
    • Boil the gnocchi in salted water until they float to the surface.
    • Drain and set aside.

To Finish:

  1. Combine the Ragu and Gnocchi:
    • Toss the cooked gnocchi with the wild boar ragu.
    • Add a drizzle of melted butter and crispy sage leaves.
  2. Serve:
    • Plate the gnocchi and ragu.
    • Sprinkle generously with grated Parmesan.

Prosciutto Woodfired Pizza

Making a Prosciutto Woodfired Pizza is an art that combines traditional Italian flavors with the rustic charm of wood-fired cooking. Here’s a simple guide to creating this delicious pizza featuring the classic ingredients: Napoli, mozzarella, prosciutto, rocket, and shaved grana.

Ingredients:

  • Pizza dough
  • Napoli sauce (tomato sauce)
  • Fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced
  • Prosciutto, thinly sliced
  • Rocket (arugula) leaves
  • Shaved grana cheese (like Grana Padano or Parmigiano-Reggiano)
  • Olive oil (for drizzling)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. Prepare the Dough: If you’re making your own pizza dough, prepare it at least 2-3 hours ahead of time to allow it to rise. You can also use store-bought dough for convenience.
  2. Preheat Your Woodfired Oven: Fire up your woodfired oven and let it heat to around 750°F - 950°F. If you don’t have a woodfired oven, you can use a pizza stone in a conventional oven preheated to the highest temperature, typically 500°F - 550°F.
  3. Assemble the Pizza: On a floured surface, stretch out your pizza dough to a 10-12 inch base. Spread a thin layer of Napoli sauce over the base, leaving a border for the crust.
  4. Add the Toppings: Distribute slices of fresh mozzarella evenly over the sauce. Then, arrange the prosciutto slices on top of the cheese.
  5. Cook the Pizza: Place the pizza in the woodfired oven and cook for about 60-90 seconds, or until the crust is golden and the cheese is bubbly. In a conventional oven, this may take about 7-10 minutes.
  6. Finish with Fresh Ingredients: Once the pizza is cooked, remove it from the oven and immediately top with fresh rocket leaves and shaved grana cheese. Drizzle with a bit of olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Serve Hot: Slice your Prosciutto Woodfired Pizza and serve it hot, allowing the flavors of the crispy prosciutto, creamy mozzarella, spicy rocket, and rich shaved grana to meld beautifully in each bite.
Prosciutto Woodfired Pizza
Prosciutto Woodfired Pizza

Capriciossa Woodfired Pizza

For a taste of Italy, try making a Capricciosa pizza at home! This pizza is all about balancing salty and savory flavors with the freshness of vegetables and herbs. Here's how to create your own wood-fired masterpiece:

Ingredients:  

  • Pizza dough (store-bought or your favorite recipe)
  • Napoli sauce
  • Fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced
  • High-quality deli ham, thinly sliced
  • Cremini or portobello mushrooms, sliced
  • Black olives, pitted and halved
  • Fresh basil leaves

Instructions:

  1. Fire Up the Oven: Get your wood-fired oven roaring hot, aiming for a temperature around 750°F (400°C). If you don't have a wood-fired oven, crank your regular oven to its highest setting (around 500°F / 260°C) and preheat a pizza stone for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Stretch the Dough: On a lightly floured surface, gently stretch your pizza dough into a thin circle, about 12-14 inches in diameter. You can use your hands or a rolling pin, but be careful not to overwork the dough.
  3. Top it Off: Spread a thin layer of Napoli sauce over the dough, leaving a small border around the edge. Scatter the sliced mozzarella cheese evenly across the sauce. Now comes the fun part: add your toppings! Arrange the thinly sliced ham, mushrooms, and black olives in a visually appealing way.
  4. Wood-Fired Magic: If using a wood-fired oven, carefully transfer the pizza to a pizza peel dusted with cornmeal. Slide the pizza directly onto the hot oven floor. Keep an eye on it as it cooks – the crust should become golden brown and bubbly in just a few minutes.
  5. Oven Bake (Alternative): For a regular oven, transfer the pizza to your preheated pizza stone. Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and the cheese is melted and bubbly.
  6. The Finishing Touch: Once the pizza is cooked, remove it from the oven and let it cool slightly. Drizzle with a touch of olive oil and scatter fresh basil leaves on top. Slice and enjoy your delicious homemade Capricciosa pizza!
Capriciossa Woodfired Pizza
Capriciossa Woodfired Pizza

 

Margherita Woodfired Veggie Pizza

Creating a Margherita Woodfired Veggie Pizza is a delightful way to enjoy the classic flavors of Italy right at home. Here’s a simple recipe that includes the essential ingredients: Napoli, Mozzarella, and Basil.

Ingredients:

  • Pizza dough
  • Napoli sauce (tomato sauce)
  • Fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced
  • Fresh basil leaves
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt

Instructions:

  1. Prepare the Dough: If you’re making your own pizza dough, prepare it ahead of time to allow it to rise. Alternatively, you can use a pre-made dough.
  2. Heat Your Woodfired Oven: Preheat your woodfired oven to a high temperature, typically around 750°F - 950°F. If you don’t have a woodfired oven, you can use a pizza stone in a conventional oven preheated to its highest setting.
  3. Assemble the Pizza: Stretch out the dough to your desired size on a floured surface. Spread a thin layer of Napoli sauce over the dough, leaving the edges clear for the crust.
  4. Add Cheese and Basil: Tear the mozzarella into pieces and distribute them evenly over the sauce. Add fresh basil leaves on top.
  5. Cook the Pizza: Slide the pizza into the woodfired oven and cook for about 1-2 minutes, or until the crust is puffed and charred in spots and the cheese is melted and bubbly. In a conventional oven, this will take about 10-12 minutes.
  6. Finish and Serve: Drizzle the cooked pizza with extra virgin olive oil and a pinch of salt. Slice and serve immediately, enjoying the classic taste of a Margherita Wood-Fired Veggie Pizza.
Margherita Woodfired Veggie Pizza
Margherita Woodfired Veggie Pizza

Funghi Woodfired Veggie Pizza

Creating a Funghi Woodfired Veggie Pizza is a delightful culinary experience that brings together the earthy flavors of mushrooms with the richness of cheese and the freshness of greens. Here’s a recipe that includes the phrase ‘mushroom, mozzarella, rocket, shaved parmesan, drizzled with truffle oil’:

Ingredients:

  • Pizza dough
  • Mushroom slices
  • Fresh mozzarella cheese
  • Rocket (arugula) leaves
  • Shaved parmesan cheese
  • Truffle oil for drizzling
  • Tomato sauce (optional)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. Prepare the Dough: Begin by preparing your pizza dough. If you’re making it from scratch, allow enough time for it to rise. For a quicker option, use a pre-made dough.
  2. Preheat Your Woodfired Oven: Heat your woodfired oven to a high temperature, around 750°F - 950°F. If you don’t have a woodfired oven, a pizza stone in a conventional oven preheated to the highest setting will work as well.
  3. Assemble the Pizza: Roll out the dough on a floured surface to your desired thickness. If you like, spread a thin layer of tomato sauce over the dough. Arrange the mushroom slices on top, followed by chunks or slices of fresh mozzarella.
  4. Bake the Pizza: Transfer the pizza to the woodfired oven and cook for about 1-2 minutes, or until the crust is crispy and the cheese has melted. In a conventional oven, bake for about 10-12 minutes.
  5. Add the Finishing Touches: Once the pizza is out of the oven, top it with fresh rocket leaves and shaved parmesan cheese. Finally, drizzle with truffle oil to enhance the flavors.
  6. Serve and Enjoy: Slice your Funghi Woodfired Veggie Pizza and enjoy the harmonious blend of flavors — the umami from the mushrooms, the creaminess of the mozzarella, the peppery bite of the rocket, the salty tang of the parmesan, all brought together with the luxurious finish of truffle oil.
Funghi Woodfired Veggie Pizza
Funghi Woodfired Veggie Pizza

Whether you're planning a romantic dinner for two or a festive gathering with friends and family, these Italian food recipes with cheese from Piccolino are sure to impress. With a focus on fresh, seasonal ingredients and classic flavor combinations, these dishes are guaranteed to tantalize your taste buds and transport you straight to the heart of Italy.

So grab your favorite bottle of wine, turn up the music, and get ready to create a delightful Italian feast in your own home. For the real Piccolino experience, try stopping by our restaurant. We will be happy to welcome you and serve you delicious dishes in a warm and inviting atmosphere. Be sure to make a reservation to get a guaranteed table.

Chef Andrea Fioriti holding pasta as he looks down on the table
A yellow illustration of the Italian map
"We take pride in an authentic approach to making woodfired pizza, and are responsible for some of this city's best house-made pasta and gnocchi dishes. We are also the very proud creator of a Melbourne first and our now most talked about dish, the Spag Bowl"

Andrea Fioriti ~ Head Chef & Owner

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