Special date nights may call for dinner at a romantic low-lit Italian restaurant, but when you want to avoid the crowds (or securing a rezzie), cooking at home is key. When you need the comfort of a bowl of pasta or a meatball sub, these 18 recipes will be your saving grace. Grab some charcuterie to snack and read through each of these delicious Italian comfort food classics.

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1. Garlic Butter Italian Sausage Sandwiches: Buttery hoagie rolls, gooey mozzarella and Italian-spiced sausage make perfect couch-side noshing. Serve with herbed potatoes or vinegar chips for the ultimate casual dinner. (Little Kitchen. Big World)

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2. Antipasto Salad: When that craving for a giant loaded salad hits, you鈥檒l be ready with this antipasto. We swear there鈥檚 lettuce underneath all of the olives, artichokes, salami and prosciutto. (via Dinner at the Zoo)

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3. Baked Sausage and Cheese Rigatoni: You don鈥檛 have to make your marinara from scratch to create an epic pasta dish. Enhance store-bought sauce with Italian sausage and roasted red peppers before tossing with rigatoni and topping with a sheet of provolone cheese and ricotta. (via Foodiecrush)

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4. Bruschetta Chicken Pasta Salad: Where鈥檚 the drool emoji when you need it? This pasta version of your favorite Italian appetizer has a fresh taste from tomatoes and herbs and can be served either warm or cold. (via Cafe Delites)

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5. Chicken Cacciatore: Be warned 鈥 it will NOT be easy to smell this simmering on the stove all day. But, if you remain patient, you鈥檒l be rewarded with fall-off-the-bone chicken that has insane flavor. (via Cafe Delites)

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6. Chicken Puttanesca: The briny flavor from anchovies, capers and olives is what makes this meal unique to other pasta dishes. Beef it up with shredded dark meat chicken and you鈥檒l have an authentic puttanesca worthy of the Amalfi Coast. (via Closet Cooking)

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7. Chicken Alfredo Baked Ziti: There鈥檚 nothing more soul-soothing than a big plate of creamy chicken Alfredo. Toss a slice (or two) of garlic bread on the side and let the food coma commence. (via Gimme Some Oven)

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8. Chicken Marsala: When you combine chicken breasts, saut茅ed mushrooms and a Marsala wine sauce with fresh tomatoes, you get an incredible meal that鈥檚 worthy of entertaining. Be sure to make a batch of creamy garlic mashed potatoes to soak up that flavorful sauce鈥 you won鈥檛 be sorry. (via Pinch of Yum)

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9. Spaghetti Con Vongole With Crushed Red Pepper: When you compare the cost of a plane ticket to Italy to your Whole Foods receipt, it makes your fancy food haul not seem so bad. If your wanderlust is kicking in something fierce, whip up this fresh seaside dish. (via Bazaar Lazarr)

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10. Creamy Lemon Chicken Piccata: Finding an elegant dish that the whole family will love is *not* an easy task. This one-pot chicken piccata is kid-friendly, and it鈥檒l be ready for you all to inhale in just 30 minutes. (via The Recipe Critic)

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11. Italian Wedding Soup: Cold and rainy days call for a steaming bowl of hearty Italian wedding soup. If you plan ahead, you can even adapt it to simmer in your slow cooker while you鈥檙e working. (via A Nerd Cooks)

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12. Million Dollar Spaghetti: When you鈥檙e craving lasagna but you want it like, yesterday, this spaghetti will do the trick in no time. Ain鈥檛 nobody got time for all those steps and layers. (via Half Baked Harvest)

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13. Tortellini Minestrone: This hearty minestrone is unlike any you鈥檝e had before, guaranteed. Plus, If you鈥檙e looking for something slightly healthier than the typical Italian fare, this is your It Dish. (via Gimme Some Oven)

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14. Sausage and Pepperoni Stromboli: On the other hand, sometimes carbo-loading is totally necessary for proper self-care. On your next pizza night, opt for this meaty stromboli instead of your normal pie. (via Garnish and Glaze)

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15. Italian Sausage and Beef Ragu: When you have a small army you need to feed, this ragu will fill everyone up and then some. If you鈥檙e only cooking for a few, freeze the leftover sauce to have in case of a weeknight emergency. (via Recipe Tin Eats)

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16. Shrimp Scampi Fra Diavolo: Your date-night-in has never been *quite* this spicy. As long as you have frozen shrimp, lemons and a handful of pantry staples, you can finish this scampi in a flash. (via The View from Great Island)

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17. Skillet Chicken Parmesan: If leftovers really aren鈥檛 your jam, this dinner for two is the perfect portion for you and your S.O. or BFF. Follow up with an affogato each and you鈥檒l be good to stay up and Netflix binge. (via Wry Toast)

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18. Turkey, Mushroom and Pancetta Risotto: If you have leftover shredded chicken or turkey laying around, this risotto will come together even quicker than you expect. Serve with whatever white wine you decide to use in the recipe and you鈥檒l be at your peak satisfaction level. (via Nicky鈥檚 Kitchen Sanctuary)

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