These dishes perfectly represent who I am: an Italian American from upstate New York.

By Rachael Ray
September 28, 2018
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Rachael Ray's Cacio e Pepe Mac 'n' Cheese with Chard

Cacio e Pepe Mac 'n' Cheese with Chard
Credit: Photography by Kate Mathis

Rach's Tip: I use two kinds of peppercorns in this cacio e pepe. The black ones are tingly and strong, and the citrusy pink ones balance the creamy cheese sauce. I throw in some chard so the cook (um, me) doesn't have to make a salad, too.

Rachael Ray's Charred Eggplant & Meat Sauce with Paccheri

Charred Eggplant & Meat Sauce with Paccheri
Credit: Photography by Kate Mathis

I mean, come on! How good does that look?

Rachael Ray's Tomato Soup with Polenta

Tomato Soup with Polenta
Credit: Photography by Kate Mathis

We'll always love tomato soup + grilled cheese, but tomato soup + polenta might be even better.

Rachael Ray's Warm Autumn Panzanella

Warm Autumn Panzanella
Credit: Photography by Kate Mathis

This is a total cheat on the Italian takeover we are having in this issue. Bacon, maple syrup, and toasted pumpkin seed oil have no place in a traditional Italian kitchen, but they do have a place in mine!

Rachael Ray's Crispy-Skin Branzino with Brown Butter & Caper Sauce on White Bean Puree

Crispy-Skin Branzino with Brown Butter & Caper Sauce on White Bean Puree
Credit: Photography by Kate Mathis

Rach's Tip: When you get home from the market, or at least one hour before dinner, unwrap the fish and stick it in the fridge, uncovered, skin-side up. This will help the skin dry, which is essential for crispy skin. Also, try to buy fish the day you are preparing it. The less time it spends wrapped up, the better.

Rachael Ray's Escarole, Fennel & Onion Soup with Taleggio Panini

Escarole, Fennel & Onion Soup with Taleggio Panini
Credit: Photography by Kate Mathis

This kinda-healthy soup and sammie combo is about to be one of your new go-tos.

Rachael Ray's Lamb & Pine Nut Ragu with Egg Pasta

Rachael Ray's Lamb & Pine Nut Ragu with Egg Pasta
Credit: Photography by Kate Mathis

Allspice and cumin are not common in Italian recipes, but with lamb and eggplant (both essential ingredients in Palestinian, Israeli, Syrian, and Turkish cooking), these flavors are—at least to *this* Italian—becoming essential.

Rachael Ray's Creamy Three-Meat Ragu with Burrata & Pappardelle

Rachael Ray's Creamy Three-Meat Ragu with Burrata & Pappardelle
Credit: Photography by Kate Mathis

Need a long night's rest? Make this ragu for dinner. It will put you out like a light and make you feel profoundly satisfied.

Rachael Ray's Porchetta-Style Ragu

Rachael Ray's Porchetta-Style Ragu
Credit: Photography by Kate Mathis

Real porchetta takes three to four days to prepare. This ragu is a fun and fairly fast fix if you're in the mood for porchetta on the fly.

Rachael Ray's Rib Eye Steaks with Gorgonzola Sauce & Kale-Walnut Vermicelli Rice

Rachael Ray's Rib Eye Steaks with Gorgonzola Sauce & Kale-Walnut Vermicelli Rice
Credit: Photography by Kate Mathis

You'll want to put this gorgonzola sauce on everything.