Antipasto Plate

29 04 2012

Antipasto means “before the meal”, and is a traditional introduction to an Italian supper. Typically you’ll find cured meats, hard and soft cheeses, breads, roasted or pickled veggies and some kind of spread offered. I’d bet cash money that if you walked into most Italian households, you’d find the makings for some kind of antipasto in their fridge! Us Italians are typically always ready for company to drop in, which is why you can easily find these staples in our homes 🙂

Antipasto is my all-time favorite appetizer or snack, mainly because it reminds me of my family. Put out the antipasto, pour me a glass of vino, surround me with the people I love, and we’ll call it a party!

Antipasto Plate

Pictured here:

  • Sweet capicola, thinly sliced
  • Dried salami, sliced
  • Pepperoni, sliced
  • Fontinella cheese, sliced
  • Provolone cheese, sliced
  • Asiago cheese, sliced
  • Kalamata and greek olives
  • Basil and roasted red pepper pesto ricotta spread (see below)
  • Crusty bread, sliced

For the basil and roasted red pepper pesto spread (a combo recipe from FoodNetwork.com and This Girl):

  • 2 cups packed fresh basil leaves
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
  • 2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • Kosher salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup grated pecorino romano cheese
  • 1 red bell pepper, roasted
  • 1/4 cup fresh ricotta cheese

Toast the pine nuts until fragrant. Combine the basil, garlic, and pine nuts in a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. Add 1/2 cup of the oil and process until fully incorporated and smooth. Season with salt and pepper.

Roast the pepper over a flame on the stove and rotate until charred completely. Place in a bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap until cool enough to handle. Peel the outside charred layer of the pepper, remove seeds and stem and add to the food processor. Process into the pesto until well incorporated. Next, add in the pecorino and ricotta cheeses and process until smooth. Taste and season with a little more salt and pepper if desired.

If you’re serving immediately, add the remaining oil and pulse until smooth. If not, transfer the pesto mixture to a container and top with remaining oil, seal tightly and store in the fridge.

Serve the antipasto rustic…arrange the meats, cheeses and bread on a wooden cutting board and serve along side the olives and pesto spread.

Antipasto is good with red wine like Chianti / Sangiovese, a white wine like Pinot Grigio or even a little bubbly!

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