Cannot decide what Italian appetizers to serve? Why don’t you start with these recipes for classic antipasti? You can never go wrong with these traditional recipes!
Vegetarian? Hot? Cold antipasto? It can be overwhelming choosing which one to try.
Well, let’s keep it simple then and start with the authentic Italian appetizers.
It does not matter what you’re looking for; you will surely find a favorite (or more!) in this list of antipasti recipes.
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Definition of antipasti (difference with antipasto)
Antipasti is the plural form of antipasto, which refers to the first course in a traditional Italian meal — yes, it’s the same as what we call appetizers or starters in English.
We can say that gorgonzola cheese is an antipasto, or coppa is an antipasto.
But a whole plate of Italian cheese is called antipasti with or without some Italian cured meat (or crackers).
Although it varies per region, antipasti typically includes cured meat, olives, vegetables; served with some bread or breadsticks.
Polpettine di Carne (Italian Mini Meatballs)
Polpettine di carne is a perfect example of traditional Italian appetizers that can also be enjoyed as snacks or street food.
When served as an antipasto, these mini meatballs are excellent with marinara sauce and some green olives on the side.
Depending on which part of Emilia-Romagna, you would typically see different kinds of bread served with their cured meat.
You would see tigelle, gnocco fritto, and this Italian flatbread with no yeast.
You’ll probably end up making a sandwich with piadina Romagnola, and with a glass of wine — you’re good to go. 🙂
Light and refreshing, this Florentine vegetable soup tastes like summer in a bowl.
The slight sweetness of the yellow peppers (with a hint of fruitiness) makes this antipasto an excellent way to start any meal.
You can either serve yellow pepper soup with some Italian bread or just add croutons to it.
Tuscan dishes, including their cured meats, are always more intense in flavor compared with most of the other regions.
It’s the primary reason why this no-salt bread, while others find it bland, is perfect for their cuisine — pane Toscano makes the rest of the dishes shine.
And don’t worry that they dry quickly.
Just follow what the locals do, pair your Tuscan bread with other regional Italian dishes dishes like peposo, or use it to make panzanella.
Mussels in white wine is a simple antipasto to prepare, but it sure packs a punch of flavor.
You’ll get the taste of the sea from the mussels, complemented by the wine’s acidity and the freshness of the parsley leaves added at the end.
You can use bread to soak up any remaining sauce, but nah, I prefer to spoon (or drink) it like soup. Yum!
Polpette di Melanzane (Neapolitan Eggplant Meatballs)
Polpette di melanzane is the vegetarian version of meatballs without skimping on its deliciousness.
Eggplant, parsley, and Parmigiano Reggiano, you will taste all of these in every bite of this traditional Italian appetizer.
They’re great with marinara sauce, or on their own — and no, these fried eggplant balls are not oily at all!
Italian Bread & Cheese Dumplings
No, not breadcrumbs — you use bread. Bread that is at least a day old.
Just like eggplant meatballs, you combine almost the same set of ingredients for these Italian bread dumplings.
But this time, the stale bread absorbs all the mixture’s flavors and helps keep them together.
Take some caution though, make sure they’ve cooled down a bit before you start eating them.
Yep, I learned my lesson the hard way. 🙁
Taralli is similar to breadsticks from the north but with some white wine added to the dough and prepared quite differently.
I’ve found more variety of flavors with these Italian crackers than breadsticks, though.
Taralli Pugliese comes with fennel, black pepper, olives, or turmeric (I kid you not!).
Regardless of what your preference is, they are all excellent with cured meats.
Patate e Peperoni (Potatoes and Peppers)
This easy Italian appetizer is also excellent as a side dish for grilled meat or fish.
The colors and flavors of summer vegetables all combined in one dish, with a bit of Calabrian flare — chili.
Feel free to tone down (or amp up) the amount of spice, though. That’s the beauty of preparing this potatoes and peppers dish at home.
Panelle (Sicilian Chickpea Fritters)
Panelle is made from chickpea flour, and it’s a vegetarian appetizer that can easily be turned into a sandwich for a light meal.
While it does take time to prepare it at home because you need to wait for the chickpea dough to solidify before cutting and frying the chickpea fritters, they are definitely worth it.
When serving, just sprinkle some sea salt on these Sicilian chickpea fritters and enjoy. Simply delicious.
Arancini is an excellent use of leftover risotto, but with added meat this time.
This authentic antipasto comes in either round or cone-like shape, and sometimes the filling would vary — although it’s filled with ragu traditionally.
Depending on the size, eating a couple of them as an appetizer will probably mean you have to skip the dessert. 🙂
So, which ones have you tried, and which of these traditional Italian appetizers would you like to try next? Let me know!
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