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Nonna’s Best Recipes for Sunday Dinner

Relive the good old days when the whole family came over on Sunday to enjoy each other’s company and Nonna’s Italian cooking.

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The Best Ever Lasagna

My brother, Joe, created this lasagna based on our mom’s recipe. It’s a family favorite at Christmas, thanks to the special ingredients that make it magnifico. —Stephanie Marchese, Taste of Home Visual Production Director
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Italian Pasta Sauce

As a special part of their wedding buffet, my daughter Kris' husband fixed a big batch of this thick flavorful pasta sauce. The recipe was brought by his grandmother from Italy more than 80 years ago. —Judy Braun, Juneau, Wisconsin
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Mom's Italian Bread

I think Mom used to bake at least four of these tender loaves at once, and they never lasted long. She served the bread with every Italian meal. I love it toasted, too. —Linda Harrington, Windham, New Hampshire
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Pasta Fagioli Soup

My husband enjoys my version of this dish so much that he doesn’t order it at restaurants anymore. With fresh spinach, pasta and seasoned sausage, this fast-to-fix soup is a meal on its own. —Brenda Thomas, Springfield, Missouri
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Risotto Balls (Arancini)

My Italian grandma made these risotto balls for me. I still request them when I visit her, and so do my children. These can be made ahead of time and frozen. They are also delicious served as a vegetarian main course with a salad. —Gretchen Whelan, San Francisco
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Italian Stuffed Shells

A dear friend first brought over this stuffed shells recipe. Now I take it to other friends' homes and to potlucks, because it's always a big hit! —Beverly Austin, Fulton, Missouri
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Homemade Manicotti

These tender manicotti are much easier to stuff than the purchased variety. People are always amazed when I say I make my own noodles. My son fixed this recipe for several of his friends, and they were extremely impressed with his cooking skills. —Sue Ann Bunt, Painted Post, New York
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Great-Grandma's Italian Meatballs

My great-grandmother started this easy meatball recipe with our family. We use ground beef and turkey for these meatballs, and the flavor’s so good, you won’t miss the extra calories. —Audrey Colantino, Winchester, Massachusetts
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Zucchini Panzanella Salad

I learned how to make panzanella from my friend's grandmother. Once I discovered how to make the perfect vinaigrette, it became a dish I crave during the summer. It's also a great way to use day-old bread and your garden's bounty of zucchini. —Felicity Wolf, Kansas City, Missouri
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Linguine with Herbed Clam Sauce

This impressive pasta looks and tastes so much like fancy restaurant fare that you'll want to serve it to guests. But the recipe is easy enough to prepare just about anytime. —Carolee Snyder, Hartford City, Indiana
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Ricotta Gnocchi with Spinach & Gorgonzola

When my family comes for a visit, they always ask me to make this unique dish for dinner. Homemade cheesy gnocchi is topped with a rich sauce made with butternut squash, spinach and Gorgonzola.— Brud Holland, Watkins Glen, New York
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Tomato & Artichoke Bruschetta

A healthy and refreshing appetizer, I enjoy bruschetta anytime of year. For serving guests, I like to slice the garlic instead of chopping it for both beauty and flavor infusion. This is also a simple make-ahead dish: You can mix it up, cover and refrigerate for a few hours before serving.—Gina Bergamino, Chanhassen, Minnesota
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Stamp-of-Approval Spaghetti Sauce

My father is very opinionated, especially about food. This recipe received his almost unreachable stamp of approval. I have yet to hear a disagreement from anyone who has tried it! —Melissa Taylor, Higley, Arizona
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Antipasto Platter

We entertain often, and antipasto is one of our favorite crowd-pleasers. Guests love having their choice of so many delicious nibbles, including pepperoni and cubes of provolone. —Teri Lindquist, Gurnee, Illinois
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Nana's Italian Roulade

My great-aunt from Sicily taught my mother how to stuff and bake a steak in a jelly-roll style. It’s unique and really special in our family. —Roseanne McDonald, Days Creek, Oregon
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Shrimp Puttanesca

I throw together these bold ingredients for a feisty seafood pasta. —Lynda Balslev, Sausalito, California
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Calamari Salad

This is one of the seven fish dishes we serve at Christmas time. It is easy to make and quite delicious! I enjoy it served both warm and cold. Either way, it has become one of our traditional dishes each year. The recipe has been passed down to me through my grandparents, who were excellent cooks. —Paul Rinaldi, Easton, Pennsylvania
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Spaghetti with Sausage and Peppers

Smoked turkey sausage with strips of fresh bell peppers is a healthy change of pace from Italian sausage or ground beef in your spaghetti. —Ginger Harrell, El Dorado, Arkansas
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Scallops with Linguine

A buttery garlic sauce zips up a bowlful of linguine, bay scallops and veggies. Celebrate something special or toast the end of another workday with this dish that's perfectly sized for two. —Paula Jones, Brooksville, Florida
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Homemade Alfredo Sauce

When I found out I had celiac disease and couldn't have fettuccine Alfredo, I was determined to figure out a way to re-create it. I mix this homemade alfredo sauce with gluten-free multigrain pasta, but you can use any style of pasta. —Jackie Charlesworth Stiff, Frederick, Colorado
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Authentic Pasta Carbonara

I learned on my culinary internship in Tuscany that real Italian cuisine is simpler than you think! This carbonara is quick, simple and delicious, just the way they like it in Italy. —Lauren Brien-Wooster, South Lake Tahoe, California
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Sausage Lasagna

The idea for this sausage lasagna recipe comes from my mother-in-law, who always makes it for my three boys on special holidays. I've put an easy twist on Carole's classic dish, and it's become one of my go-to dinners as well! —Blair Lonergan, Rochelle, VA
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My Best Spaghetti & Meatballs

One of my favorite childhood memories is going to the Old Spaghetti Factory with my family and ordering a big plate of cheesy spaghetti, meatballs and garlic bread. My homemade recipe reminds me of those fun times and satisfies everyone's craving for good Italian food. —Erika Monroe-Williams, Scottsdale, Arizona
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Warm Fava Bean & Pea Salad

This is a springtime staple in my house; my mom has been making it forever. I know that when the favas are at the market I can always find this refreshing and tasty salad in her fridge! If fresh favas or peas are not available, frozen is fine — but if you use frozen favas, be sure to take off the tough outer skin. —Francesca Ferenczi, New York, New York.
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Sausage and Spinach Tortellini Soup

My husband’s grandmother used to make this soup with her own homemade sausage and tortellini. Since the recipe has been passed down, we don’t make those ingredients from scratch, but this version is almost as good as hers. It's also an excellent way to get the kids to eat spinach!—Joyce Lulewicz, Brunswick, Ohio
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Garlic Bread

Ever wonder how to make garlic bread? This homemade garlic bread is the answer! Minced fresh garlic is key to these flavor-packed crusty slices, which our big family would snap up before they even had a chance to cool. —Grace Yaskovic, Branchville, New Jersey
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Parmesan Risotto

Risotto is a creamy Italian rice dish. In this version, the rice is briefly sauteed, then slowly cooked in wine and seasonings. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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Round Steak Italiano

My mom used to make this wonderful dish, and I’ve always enjoyed it. The gravy is especially dense and flavorful.—Deanne Stephens, McMinnville, Oregon
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Nutty Cheese Tortellini

I like to plant Italian flat-leaf parsley in a long terra-cotta planter so I always have some on hand. It adds bright, fresh flavor to this pasta dish. —Barbara Penatzer, Vestal, New York
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Homemade Ravioli

I love to bake and cook, especially Italian dishes like this homemade ravioli recipe. In fact, my idea of a perfect day consists of cooking my family's favorite foods then watching them dig in!—Lori Daniels, Hartland, Michigan
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Hearty Sausage Minestrone

As a teacher, I appreciate quick and easy recipes. If I make this for just my husband and me, we have leftovers for lunches. But when there are more people at the table, every bit is eaten. —Tami Stoudt, Evans, Colorado
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Focaccia Barese

This focaccia recipe has been in my mom's family for several generations. It's one of my most requested dishes. In fact, some hosts tell me I can't attend their parties unless I bring this with me! —Dora Travaglio, Mount Prospect, Illinois
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Caprese Salad Kabobs

Trade in the usual veggie platter for these fun kabobs. In addition to preparing these for get-togethers, I often make these as snacks for my family. And because assembly is so easy, the kids often ask to help. —Christine Mitchell, Glendora, California
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Pork Medallions with Brandy Cream Sauce

I adapted this easy, elegant main dish from a recipe my mother-in-law cooked for our family. Cayenne lends a bit of heat to its rich, creamy sauce. —Judy Armstrong, Prairieville, Louisiana
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Spaghetti Meatball Supper

It was such a joy to come home and find my mom making spaghetti and meatballs for dinner. This recipe has always been dear to my heart. —Debbie Heggie, Laramie, Wyoming
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Fettuccine Carbonara

When a man at church found out how much my family likes fettuccine, he shared his Italian grandmother's carbonara recipe with us. I've made it my own over the last 25 years. Grated Parmesan cheese works just as well as Romano. —Kristine Chayes, Smithtown, New York
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Spaghetti with Fresh Tomato Sauce

When my mom made this spaghetti sauce, the house would smell so good that I'd open the windows to torture the neighbors. It even tastes wonderful the next day, when the flavors have really melded. —Vera Schulze, Holbrook, New York
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Italian Sausage Zucchini Soup

My mom used to make this recipe. Whenever I decide to make it, it reminds me of her, taking me back to days of my childhood. —Louise Kline, Fort Myers, Florida
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Gnocchi with Mushrooms and Onion

Tender potato gnocchi are so delicious with sauteed mushrooms and onions. This is one of my family's go-to side dishes. —Kris Berezansky, Clymer, Pennsylvania
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Tortellini with Tomato Spinach Cream Sauce

I enjoy all things pasta, and tortellini is my favorite. The flavor of this dish is amazing. Even my husband, who hates pasta of any kind, loves it! It's a great recipe for non-spinach fans to try, too. —Jenny Dubinsky, Inwood, West Virginia
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Italian Snack Bread

I've served this snack bread alongside spaghetti, as an appetizer and as a main dish. Because it stays so tender, I often bake it a day before. —Joan Nowacki, Pewaukee, Wisconsin
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Mom's White Lasagna

My mom made this lasagna for special occasions, such as birthdays. When she passed, I inherited her cookbooks—tucked inside one of them, I found this recipe folded into a letter she wrote to me while I was stationed overseas. It's a hearty, rich dish that reminds me of home. —Janet Wing, Minot, North Dakota
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Italian Pinwheel Rolls

An enticing combination of Parmesan cheese, oregano and garlic makes these buttery rolls impossible to resist. The aroma that wafts through the house while they are baking is incredible. —Patricia FitzGerald, Candor, New York
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White Bean Soup with Escarole

This escarole and bean soup has become a favorite because it uses kitchen staples, it's packed with healthy ingredients and is a cinch to prepare. If I can't find escarole, I sub fresh spinach at the very end of cooking. —Gina Samokar, North Haven, Connecticut
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Shrimp Alfredo Fettuccine

Fettuccine Alfredo's been around for ages. I give it a modern update by adding tender shrimp and a pop of lemon. —Tonya Burkhard, Davis, Illinois
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Slow-Cooked Meatball Soup

As a mother, I try to sneak as many veggies into my daughter's diet as I can. This savory soup with meatballs and pasta does the trick. Best of all, the whole family loves it! —Kymm Wills, Phoenix, AZ
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Marinated Mozzarella & Tomato Appetizers

Inspired by a dish I had at a restaurant, this simply sensational combination should marinate for at least three hours—the longer the better. —Mary Ann Lee, Clifton Park, New York
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Lasagna Casserole

While growing up, this was the meal I always wanted on my birthday. Mother made the sauce from scratch, but I use store-bought spaghetti sauce to save time. Replace the ground beef with Italian sausage if you want more spice. —Deb Morrison, Skiatook, Oklahoma
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Savory Biscuit-Breadsticks

I love to experiment in the kitchen with simple ingredients like refrigerated biscuits. The results usually are a big hit, as was the case with these super fast breadsticks. —Billy Hensley, Mount Carmel, Tennessee
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Sicilian Meat Sauce

People have told me this is better than the gravy their Sicilian grandmothers used to make. But don’t tell the old generation that! —Emory Doty, Jasper, Georgia

Emily Racette Parulski
Emily Racette Parulski is a Senior Editor for Taste of Home, specializing in email newsletters. When she’s not writing about food, she’s baking something sweet to feed her chocolate obsession.

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