Italian Word of the Day: Antipasto (appetizer)

Italian meals are made up of several courses, the first being the antipasto, or appetizer / starter in English.

the italian word antipasto

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!
A delicious antipasto della casa (house appetizer) in a restaurant in Gubbio, Umbria

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.

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