Our 19 Best Italian Appetizers
Arugula Salad with Prosciutto and Oyster Mushrooms
Salami and Fig Crostini with Ricotta
Figs and salami are assertive ingredients to pair together on a little crostini, yet the result is subtle, delicate and delicious.
Chopped Italian Salad
Antipasto ingredients are sliced and diced to make a fun, flexible chopped salad. We've thrown in our favorites, and so should you. Add the dressing ingredients to the bowl, too, and mix them when you toss the salad–it's the Italian way.
Grilled Tomato Crostini
There’s no better way to enjoy sweet summer tomatoes than with extra virgin olive oil, lots of basil, and grilled slices of thick ciabatta.
Pan-Fried Scamorza with Arugula Salad and Two Pestos
Rosita Missoni loves pan-frying scamorza, a firm Italian cow's-milk cheese, to give it an irresistible crust. Provolone would also work.
Rosemary-Potato Focaccia Rolls
Jessamyn Waldman makes her excellent focaccia rolls from a dough she learned while baking at New York City's Restaurant Daniel. When she sells the rolls at farmers' markets, she varies the toppings by season; she uses potato and rosemary in the winter and tomatoes and feta in the summer.
Arancini with Peas and Mozzarella
Grace Parisi’s Calabrian grandmother always used plain white rice to make her incredible arancini (rice balls), but Parisi prefers to cook with plump arborio to make the insides creamier.
Bruschetta with Pickled Okra
Fresh summer bruschetta takes a Southern turn with the addition of salty pickled okra.
These light and cheesy fried potato croquettes are breaded twice: They're dredged in bread crumbs, dipped in beaten eggs seasoned with mustard and garlic, then dredged in bread crumbs once more. The payoff is a supercrisp, flavorful crust for the filling of soft mashed potato and melted cheese.
Autumn Fritto Misto
Antonio Ciminelli prepares this starter year-round with whatever produce is in season. In the fall, that means apples, mushrooms and late-harvest zucchini, fried in a batter made extra-light and crisp by adding sparkling wine and whipped egg white. The fritto misto is best eaten hot from the pan, perhaps served in a paper cone.
White-Bean and Prosciutto Bruschetta
Strips of prosciutto top each toast and are topped in turn with a mound of creamy white beans and sprinkling of crisp red onion. If you like, serve these with the Bruschetta Duet to make a tantalizing trio.
Grilled Antipasto with Garlicky Bean Dip
When Marcia Kiesel grills vegetables, she likes to add unexpected accompaniments, like grilled marinated mini mozzarella balls (called bocconcini) wrapped in anchovy fillets, and garlicky white bean dipped. Served with grilled country bread, this antipasto becomes a light main course. The bocconcini should be eaten hot off the grill, while still soft enough to spread on the bread. To prevent sticking, lightly oil the grate before grilling the bocconcini.
Ricotta and Roasted Tomato Bruschetta with Pancetta
Peak-season tomatoes make all the difference in this simple bruschetta from author Susan Spungen. They're the perfect accompaniment to a bowl of soup or a large salad, or, to turn them into two-bite hors d'oeuvres, simply cut the bruschetta crosswise into strips.
Double-Grilled Antipasto Sandwiches
These gooey sandwiches get double-grilled: the prosciutto-wrapped provolone is grilled first before being sandwiched on grilled baguette. "In a pinch, I'll use Polly-O string cheese instead of provolone," says Grace Parisi.
Warm, tender, milky mozzarella is easier to make than you might think. Plus it takes just 20 minutes.
Cook Here and Now founder Marco Flavio Marinucci splurges on a light brushing of California truffle oil, but this savory focaccia is just as delicious without it.
Antipasto Salad with Salami & Green Olive–Marinated Bocconcini
Inspired by the antipasti at Italian-American restaurants, Silverton developed a sophisticated version for her cookbook A Twist of the Wrist. It features shredded iceberg lettuce, salami and petite mozzarella balls (bocconcini), which she loves because each is a perfect little bite.
Bruschetta of Spring Vegetables
The challenge of preparing spring vegetables is in preserving their fragile color, texture and sweetness. Paul Bertolli's approach is to stew them gently with onion, garlic and olive oil; the vegetables cook gradually in the water they render. Since the cooking time for each one varies, simply add the next vegetable when the previous one has lost some of its crunch but is not softened to the core; the flavors will remain distinct yet also blend harmoniously. Spring vegetables are most flavorful when served lukewarm.
Serve this classic tomato-and-mozzarella salad with lots of grilled bread for dipping. The olive oil and the cream from the buffalo-milk mozzarella create an irresistible sauce in the bottom of the bowl.