Italy’s Appetizers: Antipasti

October 24, 2007 / Food & Wine
A pasto is a meal (not to be confused with pasta which simply means “dough”). It therefore follows that an antipasto . . is the meal that Italians eat right before a meal? Not too far from the truth, actually! Technically, antipasti are appetizers, but the variety (and occasionally quantity) is enormous and will please any kind of hungry gourmet – vegetarian or meat lover – looking to “prep” the stomach for the meal to follow.

Usually in the fancier restaurants the waiter will bring a plate with tasty tidbits such as tortino di spinaci (spinach baked in filo dough), sliced pears and walnut bruschetta (pronounced “broo-sket-ta”, not “broo-shet-ta”), wild boar sausage, and bresaola (thinly sliced cured beef) with arugula.

The antipasti buffet like the one above set up in a garden of Vetralla by chef Antonio (below) is a delight to behold as well as to devour. The standard loaded plates such as this one taken from an open antipasto buffet in a local restaurant will often include bruschetta, prosciutto, fagioli (beans), supplì (deep-fried rice balls), fried zucchini, frittata (deep-dish egg omlette), roasted peppers, and parmigiano. Buon appetito!

Mary Jane Cryan

by Mary Jane Cryan

Mary Jane is a historian, cruise lecturer, author and publisher of books on Italian history and central Italy has been residing in Italy for half a century.

See her award winning website and weekly blog posts on 50YearsInItaly for more about central Italy and to order books directly from the author.

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