Italian meals are made up of several courses, the first being the antipasto, or appetizer / starter in English.
Antipasti is a mix of light food brought before the primo (first main course) whose main purpose is to stimulate your appetite. It is composed of two words: anti and pasto with the latter meaning meal. It is a masculine noun.
Mi sa che vado di antipasto e salto il primo. Non ho tanta fame oggi.
I think I’ll go with the appetizer and skip the main course. I’m not that hungry today.
Antipasti can consist of anything – it is really up to the creativity of the chef and their team! There are various categories such as:
- antipasto di pesce / di mare = seafood appetiser
- antipasto di carne = meat appetiser
- antipasto caldo = warm appetiser
- antipasto freddo = cold appetiser
- antipasto vegetariano = vegetarian appetiser
- antipasto salato = salty appetiser (usually made with puff pastry)
Per cominciare, vorrei l’antipasto di pesce.
To begin with, I would like the fish appetizer.
Some of the most famous Italian antipasti are:
- Bruschetta: grilled bread rubbed with garlic, topped with olive oil and tomatoes (there are many variations)
- Vitello tonnato: thin slices of cold veal served with a creamy tuna sauce
- Mousse di salmone: salmon mousse, often served on crackers or thin crusty bread
- Arancini di riso: stuffed rice balls with mozzarella and ragù, coated with breadcrumbs and deep-fried
- Peperoncini ripieni: stuffed chilli pepper (usually with tuna, anchovies and capers)
- Insalata di mare: seafood salad, can be prepared in many different ways
- Fritto misto: fried seafood
- Affettati misti: a selection of ready-sliced meat, it can also be served after the second main course (sometimes with cheese) and before dessert
- and many, many, many, many others!
Pensavo di preparare delle bruschette come antipasto per stasera, che dici? – Ottima idea, la bruschetta mi piace un sacco!
I was thinking of preparing bruschetta as an appetiser for tonight, what do you think? – Excellent idea, I like bruschetta a lot.
Antipasti can be eaten before a pizza and in Piemonte, there is a special starter called the farinata, a thick pancake made with chickpea flour. You can have it with different condiments, but the classic is the farinata with black pepper.
Antipasto can also be used in a figurative way to refer to a preview or the beginning of something bigger to come. Another word for this is assaggio (taste / taster).
E questo è solo l’antipasto. Il peggio deve ancora venire.
And this is just the beginning. The worst has yet to come.
Questo è solo un assaggio del suo potere. Thanos è invincibile.
This is just a taste of his power. Thanos is invincible.
Mathieu Gasquet was born and raised in Turin in the north of Italy to an Italian mother and a French father. He provides the audio pronunciation for Daily Italian Words.