Northern Italian Pasta Recipes: A quick starter guide

This selection of delicious northern italian pasta recipes is designed to provide a sumptuous starter guide to the best the region has to offer.

From Tuscan bean pasta and classic bolognese sauce to minestrone soup and fresh green pesto, it’s all here… explained in simple steps and written with cooks of every level in mind.

In addition to Northern Italian pasta recipes, I even include a quick guide to some very Northern pasta shapes (learn more about pasta shapes here).

Let’s get started then… with a map of the region (courtesy of Microsoft.)


Tuscan Pasta Recipes

Pasta fagioli (bean pasta)

This delicious dish is quite literally full of beans and a true winter warmer.

Spinach and ricotta ravioli

Make these traditional cheese n’ veg parcels from scratch with this fresh-pasta-and-stuffing recipe. Scrummy.

Ligurian pasta recipes

Pesto video recipe

Whip up some green, crunchy and super-fresh pesto – Genovese-style – with this easy video guide. (There’s also a written version here.)

Pesto pasta recipe with green bean & potato

Following on from the pesto recipe above, this recipe explains how to add crunchy green beans and soft potato to create a traditional Ligurian treat.

Minestrone soup recipe

Effectively a ‘big broth’, this veggie soup is seriously wholesome. Courgette (zucchini), cannellini beans, carrot and tomatoes, celery… it’s all in there!

Emilia-Romagna pasta recipes

Spaghetti bolognese (‘spag bol’)

Direct from the town of Bologna comes a classic dish. Heavy on the meat, light on the tomato, this authentic version is a protein-packed feast.

You can find the sauce-only version here.

Venetian Pasta Recipes

Bigoli in salsa

If you like your spaghetti dishes light, sweet and oniony then this Venetian recipe is for you. Translated simply as ‘bigoli in sauce’ it’s eaten the evening before the La Festa del Redentore in July and it dissolves a handful of anchovies into a transculent onion sauce. Scrummy!

Sicilian pasta recipes

Nuccia’s vegetable pasta recipe

This very easy meat-free pasta dish was taught to me by my Italian mamma-in-law’s good Sicilian friend, Nuccia Pelliccia. (What a great Italian name!) It’s molten heaven.

Sicilian veggie pasta with cauliflower

An surprisingly delicious dish that even cauli-haters – myself included – can love. Plus, it’s virtually calorie-free so healthy types will dig it too. Buono!

Crunchy n’ creamy pasta recipe

It’s creamy, it’s crunchy (thanks to the toasted breadcrumbs), and it’s typically called ‘penne alle mandorle’ (penne with almonds). You must try it.

Pesto pistachio recipe

If there’s one thing they do wonderfully well in Sicily – alongside spicey dishes with chili inside – then it’s pistachio flavorings. This one is a pure pasta-covering delight. I’m ‘nuts’ about it (sorry).

Northern Italian Pasta Shapes

Read more about all these shapes here.


Originating from Liguria, the much overlooked and beautiful coastal region of North West Italy, corzetti are a flat circular pasta ‘stamped’ to resemble ancient coins.


Another pasta originating from Liguria, linguine refers to long flat strips of pasta (thinner than fettuccine).


The name used in Liguria for linguine. This is often served with traditional Ligurian pesto (see this 5-minute pesto recipe).


Originally from Camogli (pronounced ‘cam-oi-yee’), close to the super-swish coastal resort of Portofino, trofie were traditionally rolled on the knees of fishermen’s wives who, it is said, did this rolling whilst looking out to sea waiting for their (fisher)men to return.