7 Vegetables Italians Do Best, and 20 Ways to Make Them

April  4, 2016

It's Italy Week! All week long, we're celebrating everything Italian and Italy-inspired: recipes, stories, and travel tips.

If you get stuck on the tomato when you think about Italian cooking, well, Italians do do the tomato really well.

But the Italian vegetable treatment goes well beyond the pomodoro: Italian cooks do a whole lot of vegetables—like broccoli rabe and cardoons and artichokes and cabbage and celery—better than just about anybody else, making them taste even more like themselves. (And when things come into season, they really celebrate them, with whole festivals devoted to fava beans and artichokes.) It's one of the things we love most about Italian cooking (maybe even more than the cheese. Well... maybe not).

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Here are 20 recipes for cooking veg all'italiano:

Broccoli rabe:







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A New Way to Dinner, co-authored by Food52's founders Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, is an indispensable playbook for stress-free meal-planning (hint: cook foundational dishes on the weekend and mix and match ‘em through the week).

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See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Erin Aguayo
    Erin Aguayo
  • Cyndi Hilton-Geary
    Cyndi Hilton-Geary
  • Ann
  • Virginia Murrell
    Virginia Murrell
  • Sarah
Writing and cooking in Brooklyn.


Erin A. April 4, 2016
We made Marcella's cabbage affogato tonight (and numerous other nights)! It's amazing the depth you can get out of $1.50 worth of vegetables with some arborio rice. Make it before winter's over and your thoughts turn to crisper greens.
Cyndi H. April 4, 2016
I'm loving the veggies! I do eat meat, and enjoy it, but I'm trying to do two or three dinners each week that are meatless. Right now, the artichokes, rainbow chard, and spinach growing in my garden are delicious. When I finish celebrating all those veggies, I can hardly wait to celebrate eggplant!!!!
Ann April 4, 2016
These all look amazing, however the article should not be titled "18 vegetarian Italian Classics" since 2 of the recipes (one containing speck and one containing pancetta) are included.
Virginia M. April 4, 2016
All of those looked delicious. I'm having artichokes this evening and will grill them and serve with the tarragon aioli. Thanks.
Sarah April 4, 2016
No eggplant? :(
Caroline L. April 4, 2016
*definitely* eggplant! this is just a list of what's in season right now. italian-style eggplant deserves a whole roundup of its own!