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11 Classic Antipasto Recipes for Summer

11 Classic Antipasto Recipes for Summer

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To many Americans, pasta is the first thing that comes to mind when talking about Italian food. While pasta is an important part of the cuisine, there are many other aspects worth exploring — like antipasto. When was the last time you ordered one at an Italian restaurant? It's probably been a while. It's the part of the menu that many people gloss over, and that's too bad because there are many interesting possibilities worth exploring.

Click here to see 11 Classic Antipasto Recipes for Summer Slideshow

What is an antipasto anyway? Isn't it just about prosciutto and melon? (An admittedly strange combination of sweet and savory, fruity and meaty, that's not for everyone, but a classic one.) According to The Silver Spoon, considered to be one of the definitive Italian cookbooks, "classic Italian antipasti are based on cold meats, such as cured ham, salumi, bresaola (dried salted beef), coppa" and the like. Mario Batali echoes this sentiment in The Babbo Cookbook, where he writes, "In many regions the only antipasto offered is sliced meats," on a platter called affettati misti.

While this sounds delicious, not everyone has access to high-quality salumi, so we were relieved to find that some leading authorities interpret the definition of antipasto more broadly. Nancy Silverton, chef and partner in what is arguably Los Angeles' best Italian restaurant, Osteria Mozza, writes in her cookbook, "Pasto means 'meal' in Italian, and antipasto is what comes before the meal — or what Americans think of as appetizers." And even The Silver Spoon goes on to say, "Antipasti served with pre-dinner drinks before sitting at the table are completely different" and can include "small, assorted hot and cold morsels that can be picked up with the fingers and finished off in one or two bites." In his The Country Cooking of Italy, Colman Andrews recounts his first time visiting an old country inn on the outskirts of Rome, where he found "marinated cipolline onions, three kinds of meat-and-rice-stuffed vegetables (onions, tomatoes, and bell peppers), lentil salad, butter beans in olive oil, borlotti beans in olive oil," and all manner of delectable things. To him, "[Antipasto] means appetizer, no matter what you're having next."

Antipasti, then, are perfect for summer, a time to enjoy meals outdoors with friends and family. They offer an easy way to feed a crowd and allow for more variety than sticking to a large-dish format when hosting. Often, a meal with a few antipasti to pick from and perhaps one main course of pasta, grilled fish, or meat can be a refreshing change from the usual salad-main-side-dessert format people expect.

Some highlights to whet your appetites — a classic prosciutto and melon with a sweet-sour twist, Prosciutto di Parma with Agrodolce Melon from Walter Pisano, executive chef of Tulio Ristorante in Seattle; a take on salsa maro from cozy neighborhood Italian joint Franny's in Brooklyn, N.Y., which eschews the food processor for the mortar and pestle to give crushed fava beans an interesting texture; and of course, Fried Zucchini Flowers. For more recipes, check out the slideshow.

Will Budiaman is the Recipe editor at The Daily Meal. Follow him on Twitter @WillBudiaman.

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Yasmine is an Assistant Editor at Serious Eats, splitting her time between social and editorial work. Her work has been featured in Women’s Health and on L’Officiel USA, and she recently graduated from New York University with a master's in journalism. You can find her at Bleecker Street Pizza on any given weekend.

Making great barbecue is not as intimidating as it might seem. You'll need some time, and maybe a beer to kick back with, but the real key is smoking your meat. The process involves using wood chunks that give off that distinct smoky flavor when burning and usually requires meat to be cooked at a low temperature for a few hours. But you don’t have to spend an arm and a leg on a clunky smoker to achieve great results. You can smoke meat well on a grill, or you can easily find a smoker that doesn’t break the bank—we’ve made a pretty strong case for it, if we do say so ourselves.

Whatever route you choose, giving your meats a low-and-slow smoke is the best way to achieve tender, juicy, succulent meat with a distinctly smoky flavor. Keep reading for 11 of our favorite smoked-meat recipes, from brisket and pulled pork to steak and chicken wings that call for smoking in a wok.

Antipasto Recipes

Antipasto recipes at one time may have been considered an Italian dish, but these days, it’s hard to get any party started without a platter! While the classic versions of antipasto recipes include some kind of cheese, cured meat and an assortment of olives, tomatoes, and perhaps some tortellini, this easy-to-prepare appetizer can include whatever you like. You’ll find our favorite antipasto recipes here, and keep in mind you can also make all kinds of antipasto-inspired dips, tortellini salads, sandwiches and more.

Antipasto recipes at one time may have been considered an Italian dish, but these days, it’s hard to get any party started without a platter! While the classic versions of antipasto recipes include some kind of cheese, cured meat and an assortment of olives, tomatoes, and perhaps some tortellini, this easy-to-prepare appetizer can include whatever you like. You’ll find our favorite antipasto recipes here, and keep in mind you can also make all kinds of antipasto-inspired dips, tortellini salads, sandwiches and more.

What is antipasto salad?

The word antipasto in Italian specifically refers to a pre-meal course. But in this instance I’m referring to the American style antipasto salad made up of cured meats and veggies. This antipasto salad recipe adds the extra addition of marinated grilled chicken to make it feel a little bit more like dinner. If you want an even easier meal you could skip the chicken and bulk up on the veggies for an even easier no-cook dinner recipe.

Italian takeout is our second favorite go-to when we don’t want to cook (our first is Chinese food which is why you guys find SO MANY Chinese food copy cat recipes on this site). One of our favorite places in Los Angeles to order from has an Antipasto Salad we order in multiples because everyone fights over it instead of the pastas and garlic bread.

Looking for more summery side dishes?

Yes, you’re serving this as a cold Antipasto Pasta Salad, it doesn’t work as well warm since it’s a mix of salad flavors and pasta. Its totally easy to make and it is perfect for a crowd!

If you wanted you could even make this into an Antipasto Salad Platter:

  • Mix the pasta with the dressing and add it to a long rectangular platter.
  • Add the additional ingredients in little groups around the edges of the platter.
  • Drizzle extra dressing over the rest of the ingredients.

Today is also a HUGE day for the blog. Please refer to Dinner, then Dessert is Adulting! What do I mean by that? Well if you are reading this post then you’ve probably noticed the blog looks a whoooole lot different, more polished and downright grown up. This has been in the works for a very long time and I’m just so thrilled with how it turned out. The link I posted just above this sentence (right up there ^) will walk you through some of the changes and ways to navigate the site.

You may also catch me being all emotional because this little blog means so much to me that I’m thrilled to give you guys an upgrade to the aesthetics as well as your user experience. So much love for you all.

Tools Used in the making of this Italian Antipasto Pasta Salad:
Tricolor Rotini: This isn’t necessary but adds a fun addition of flavor and color, you can of course use plain rotini or my favorite corkscrew pasta, Cellentani.
AllSpice Spice Rack: I use this spice rack and fill up the bottles with freshly purchased spices. It’s basically one of the most beautiful things in my kitchen and when you’re working with a large quantity of spices, not having to hunt and peck through your cupboards makes everything go at warp speed.
White Wine Vinegar: Anytime I use white vinegar or white wine vinegar in a recipe I get questions about this so I wanted to point out that there is a significant difference between the two vinegars. White wine vinegar is MUCH milder and sweeter than plain white vinegar. If you swap them thinking there isn’t much of a difference you’ll absolutely have a different flavor than expected.

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Antipasto Platter

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  • 3 medium carrots, cut into 3-inch-long sticks
  • 2 large stalks celery, cut into 3-inch-long sticks
  • 2 medium red bell peppers, cut into long thin strips
  • 1 medium zucchini, cut lengthwise into eighths, then into 3-inch-long sticks
  • 1/2 cup cured black and green olives
  • 6 to 8 oz. fresh mozzarella cheese or soy mozzarella, thinly sliced (1 1/2 to 2 cups)
  • 4 oz. firm goat cheese, chilled and thinly sliced (optional)
  • 1 cup drained jarred pepperoncini peppers
  • 1 cup drained jarred roasted red and/or yellow peppers


On large serving platter, arrange carrots, celery, bell peppers and zucchini in clusters. Drizzle with a little dressing.

Add olives, mozzarella, goat cheese if using, pepperoncini and roasted peppers to platter. Garnish with basil and serve, passing additional dressing separately.


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