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The Ultimate Italian Antipasto

There’s nothing better than walking into your aunt’s house for dinner and being met by a giant antipasto platter. An antipasto (plural: antipasti), or starter, is a traditional first course of a formal Italian meal. However, this is not your usual starter of buffalo wings and chips with salsa. Instead, an antipasto contains classic meats, cheeses and extras like preserved vegetables and olives.

Sansone Market is your one-stop shop for creating the perfect antipasto. Sansone will supply you with the freshest salami, prosciutto, mozzarella and more. You can also add extras like focaccia bread and some homemade bruschetta to enhance your platter.

The History of Antipasto

In Italy years ago, every family had a pig they would kill every year for the different cuts of meat. Eventually cured, this meat would then be accompanied by one of the family’s numerous jars of preserved vegetables and cheese. All these items would be carefully arranged on a large platter to be enjoyed as an antipasto.

Different regions of Italy have different versions of antipasti. Northern Italian antipasti reflects their proximity to the Alps and Mediterranean. Usual items include fresh mozzarella, tuna, and cannellini bean salad, mortadella, fresh figs, and olive tapenade. Central Italy is known for its sauces, olive oil, and famous cheeses. Their antipasti include sautéed seafood, eggplant as well as meats and cheeses such as gorgonzola, fontina, salami, and prosciutto. Southern Italy’s has bold flavors of tomatoes and herbs as well as seafood. Their antipasti included assortments of ricotta salad, escarole, roasted pepper bruschetta, artichokes, anchovies, and sweet and hot soppressata.

Every Part Counts

A simple antipasto is full of the usual Italian staples. Meats like mortadella, prosciutto, capocollo, salami, and soppressata are the highlights of the platter. The other big player of the antipasto is the cheese. The perfect compliments to these meats would be chunks of Parmigiano Reggiano, provolone, fontina, mozzarella and more.

Just like the pepperoni to your pizza, the antipasto needs its accessories. Jarred veggies are a huge part of antipasti. Roasted red peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, artichoke hearts, and eggplant are some of the crowd favorites. Other extra’s like assorted olives, fresh basil, bread, and crackers help top off any antipasto platter.

If you want to really wow your guests, consider adding a few other advanced items. Grilled vegetables like asparagus, zucchini, and grilled onions can help take your antipasto to the next level. You can also add seafood like sardines or the more popular anchovies. Further, you can top off your antipasto with cubed melon, grapes, figs or dried apricots and dates.

Antipasto with a Twist

Sansone Market offers all the ingredients needed for any antipasto you decide to make, whether it be basic or unique. Sansone Market also offers a variety of Italian recipes on their website. One recipe, the Burrata Salad, can be incorporated into your next antipasto platter

Burrata Salad

Recipe courtesy of Executive Chef Philip De Maiolo, C.E.C., Pier Sixty/The Lighthouse, New York

   INGREDIENTS:

  •    3 cups halved or quartered small yellow and red tomatoes
  •    3 cups medium-dice seedless watermelon
  •    6 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  •    12 basil leaves, chiffonade
  •    12 mint leaves, chiffonade
  •    Salt and pepper, to taste
  •    6 slices semolina baguette, thick, toasted
  •    Prepared pesto, as needed
  •    8 oz. BelGioioso Burrata cheese, cut into 6 equal portions
  •    Cracked black pepper, as needed
  •    1.2 oz. micro arugula
  •    6 fried basil leaves
  •    Balsamic glaze, as needed

     PREPARATION

Toss tomato and watermelon in olive oil with basil and mint. Season with salt and pepper. Marinate an hour.

Per order: Drain tomato/watermelon mixture. Place 1 cup mixture in center of chilled salad plate. Brush 1 baguette toast with pesto. Place baguette toast at 11 o’clock position on plate. Top baguette with 1 wedge BelGioioso Burrata. Sprinkle cracked black pepper over Burrata. Place mound of micro arugula atop tomato/watermelon salad. Crown presentation with 1 fried basil leaf. Drizzle balsamic glaze around salad. Serve immediately.

Incorporating the arugula, burrata, pesto, and mint in your antipasto with the original favorites gives this traditional appetizer an unexpected twist. It’s surprises like the cubed watermelon that will surprise your guests and keep them wanting more!

The Italian antipasto is a traditional and important part of any Italian meal. With the fresh produce offered by Sansone Market, you can create your own antipasto. You’ll be able to customize it to what you like while still staying traditional to the original tastes of Italy. Pair this antipasto with a nice glass of pinot grigio and enjoy!