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Lazy Sunday Dinner Ideas from Lisa’s Italian Kitchen

Lazy Sunday Dinner Ideas

It’s officially Spring- the weather is getting warmer, the sun is out, Spring is springing and what does that mean? You want to spend less time in the kitchen and more time outside! Maybe you want to eat al fresco or enjoy a glass of Prosecco in your garden while your dinner cooks itself. In other words, you’re on the hunt for lazy Sunday Dinner ideas! And here is Lisa, to the rescue!

Lazy Sunday Dinner Idea #1: Mac & Cheese, Italian Style

Lisa’s Mac & Cheese is the best lazy Sunday Dinner idea that pleases children, your friends, and anyone else! Take that childhood comfort food and make it Italian with four cheeses. Place it in the oven and the work is done for you.

Lazy Sunday Dinner Ideas


2 lbs Rigatoni

1 cup shredded imported Italian Fontina

¾ cup imported Italian gorgonzola, crumbled

½ cup grated imported Parmigiano

½ cup grated imported Pecorino Romano

2 cups Besciamella sauce

  • ¼ cup butter
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 cups whole milk

Sicilian Sea Salt

Freshly ground pepper

Lisa’s Homemade Croutons

  • 1 loaf Italian bread, cubed
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup garlic, chopped very fine and mixed with Sicilian sea salt


To make the Besciamella Sauce:

Melt the butter in a medium size sauté pan. Add the flour and milk, alternating each until the besciamella is smooth. Add the grated Parmigiano and remove from heat. Add a pinch of salt.

To make Lisa’s Homemade Croutons:

In a large bowl toss all ingredients together until bread cubes are well coated. Bake at 350 degrees until the croutons are golden and crunchy.

To make the pasta:

Boil water for the pasta. While the pasta is cooking, in a large bowl put all the cheeses and besciamella sauce. Cook the pasta al dente, 2-3 minutes less than instructions on package. Drain pasta and toss with cheeses. Transfer to a buttered 13” x 9” casserole and place croutons on top. Bake at 500 degrees for 6-7 minutes. Serve.

Lazy Sunday Dinner Idea #2: Chicken Piccata

This dish is a perfect Spring or Summer lazy Sunday Dinner idea. The refreshing lemons give the dish a bite that is the perfect ending to an evening spent outside for aperitivo as you wait for the oven to do the heavy lifting of Sunday Dinner for you!

Lazy Sunday Dinner Ideas


1 ½- 2 lbs chicken scallopini (this means cut very thin)

½ cup all purpose flour

Sicilian sea salt/freshly ground pepper

¼ cup butter

½ cup white wine

1 tablespoon olive oil

Juice of 2 lemons

3 tablespoons chopped parsley

2 garlic cloves, chopped

2 tablespoons capers (only if desired)


Place scallopini between two pieces of waxed paper and pound until thin. Dredge meat in flour. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Melt 3 tablespoons butter with oil in a large heavy skillet. When butter foams, add chicken. Cook over high heat about 1 minute on each side. Place chicken on a warm platter. Add one tablespoon butter, lemon juice and wine to skillet. Deglaze skillet by stirring to dissolve meat juices attached to bottom of skillet. Stir in parsley, garlic and capers. Season, then spoon over veal. Serve immediately.

Lazy Sunday Dinner Idea #3: Spaghetti al Limone

As the weather gets warmer, no cook sauces make your Sunday dinner preparation easier and less stressful. Lemon Spaghetti is refreshing too- the lemon juice and lemon zest easily remind you of the two regions with the best lemons in the world, the Amalfi Coast and Sicily! Just imagine a lazy Sunday dinner among lemon trees in bella Italia as you bite in to this pasta dish…

Lazy Sunday Dinner Ideas


2 lbs spaghetti

1 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 cup grated imported Parmigiano Reggiano

1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

3 tablespoons lemon zest

Sicilian sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper

Optional: ½ cup heavy cream


In a large serving bowl sufficiently big to accommodate two pounds of pasta, place olive oil, Parmigiano, lemon juice, lemon zest, salt and pepper. Cook the spaghetti until al dente (1-2 minutes less than cooking instructions). Drain the spaghetti and add to large pasta bowl, mixing well with lemon sauce. If dry, add a little more olive oil. Serve.

Lazy Sunday Dinner Idea #4: Onion Tarts

This appetizer is also a great midweek pick me up, allowing you to treat yourself to aperitivo in your garden or on your balcony or front porch!

Lazy Sunday Dinner Ideas


Pastry Dough

  • 3 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cups (1 ½ sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 large eggs, beaten to blend
  • 2-4 tablespoons ice water

Two tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1 ½ cups chopped onions

1 tablespoon sugar

¼ teaspoon Sicilian sea salt

4 ounces goat cheese

1 egg

2 tablespoons heavy cream

1 teaspoon chopped thyme leaves


To make the Pastry Dough:

Blend the flour, the butter, and salt in a food processor until the mixture resembles a coarse meal. Blend in the eggs. With the machine running, add the water 1 tablespoon at a time until the dough forms. Gather the dough into a ball. Divide the dough into 2 pieces, with 1 piece twice as large as the second piece. Flatten the dough pieces into disks. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until the dough is firm enough to roll out, about 30 minutes.

To make the filling:

In a large skillet place extra virgin olive oil and butter. When the butter is melted add the onions, sugar, and salt. Cook until the onions begin to brown. Caramelize the onions for 10-15 minutes on low heat. Remove the onions and set aside to cool.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a bowl, combine the goat cheese, egg, and thyme. In a mini muffin tin line each mini muffin shape with the dough. Allow a little dough to pop over the edges, shape and pinch. The thickness of the crust is up to your particular taste. Fill each cup half way with the cooled onions. Place a teaspoon of the cheese mixture on top of the onions. Bake 15-20 minutes.

Lazy Sunday Dinner Idea #5: Italian Breadsticks

These Italian breadsticks are the easiest thing to pair with your pasta dish! Watch a video of Lisa making them on the Lisa’s Italian Kitchen Tik Tok here too!

Lazy Sunday Dinner Ideas


1 package puff pastry

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon of Tuscan herbs

¼ cup of Parmigiano

¼ cup of Pecorino


Thaw package of puff pastry. Roll out, until approximately 11×17 inches. Sprinkle with extra virgin olive oil, Parmigiano or pecorino cheese, and any type of Italian or Tuscan herbs. Cut vertically with a serrated knife into 6 pieces. Twist. Place on a silicone mat on the baking sheet. Brush on extra virgin olive oil (not too much- this is only to make the breadsticks crusty on the outside). Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes.

About the Author
Lisa Caponigri is the author of This is Sunday Dinner and Whatever Happened to Sunday Dinner?, published by Sterling Epicure. Both of Lisa's cookbooks brim with her memories of living in Italy, both as a child and as an adult raising her own family, anecdotes about her family, regional and seasonal Italian specialties, and all the advice needed to get a spectacular Sunday Dinner on the table, every Sunday of the year. She has developed a line of prepared foods and sauces called Lisa’s Italian Kitchen. Lisa debuted on HSN and has appeared on QVC. She has also appeared on a variety of television programs, including Seattle's New Day Northwest, Good Morning Toronto, Chicago's WGNLunchbreak, and New England Cooks, to name a few. Lisa is frequently consulted as an expert in Italian lifestyle and food. Lisa Caponigri lives in South Bend, IN and travels frequently to Italy to research the latest in "la dolce vita". Visit to learn more about Lisa!

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