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Category: ANTIPASTI | APPETIZERS

These savory homemade cheese balls are the perfect antipasto to serve during apertivo hour with a glass of crisp bubbles, such as Centanni Passerina Charmat, made with 100% Passerina grapes from the Le Marche region.

This chunky, lemony artichoke spread is so yummy I eat it by the spoonfuls. Smeared on a piece of bread is even yummier. I like to keep this spread on hand at all times, so I make a super big batch every time I prepare this recipe. I also toss this with pasta for a quick and easy weekday dinner. It tastes delicious with a crisp glass of Poggio Grande Tagete, a supreme blend of Marsanne and Rousanne from the Val d’Orcia valley in Tuscany.

One of the most extraordinary things about cooking is having leftovers to make other delicious dishes, such as taking leftover risotto to make Arancini, a breaded, fried to golden perfection rice croquette. This savory popular Sicilian street food makes an excellent pre-dinner starter or on-the-go snack. Its name, like its size, comes from the translation of ‘small oranges.’ Each crispy, cheese-filled bite is greeted with an explosion of meat ragu’ and peas. Pair these heavenly rice balls with a nice glass of Devay, a  savory Sangiovese+Montepulciano blend from Lumavite.

 

To make this vegan-friendly, substitute the eggs with an egg replacement. Use vegan ground meat, like Beyond Meat or Impossible Meat. Substitute the Parmesan cheese with vegan cheese. I use Violife Plant-Based Parmesan cheese.

Mozzarella in Carrozza, mozzarella in a carriage, is one of the most traditional dishes of Campania. The original recipe used stale bread and authentic black water buffalo milk mozzarella. This classic antipasto can be found from Naples to Capri and even in certain parts of Puglia. My grandmother was from Campania; she often made her own versions of this dish. She would add leftover fried eggplant or peppers. She always made a homemade tomato sauce for dunking this sandwich-like creation. When I was young, I remember thinking that every time my grandmother made this for me, it tasted like Italian-French-Toast with cheese! I recommend a glass of full-bodied red wine to cut through the richness of this fried cheesy delicacy. Try a glass of Capitoni Frasi from Pienza! Salute!

 

 

 

I pair this recipe with a 100% Merlot Rose’ from Le Marche. Le Senate ‘Sciucca Panza is savory and enveloping with a clean and soft finish on the palate, reminiscent of pink grapefruit and wild strawberries. Grilling peaches is such a brilliant idea! It brings out the sweetness of the fruit and almost carmelizes them. A chilled glass of Rose’ makes this antipasto shine even brighter. Eaten together with the creamy burrata is like a summer festival for your taste buds.

When garlic is covered with EVOO and a sprig of fresh rosemary and cooked until soft and nearly caramelized, it resembles a savory garlic butter. Its flavor is significantly different from raw garlic, it is the ultimate food transformation from raw to roasted. It is creamy and decadent and may be utilized in a variety of ways. My favorite is served simply atop a slice of toasted baguette with a mouth-watering glass of Le Senate Barbula, a 100% Merlot from Le Marche.

On my first trip to Italy with my husband Stephen, we stayed at the Hotel Danieli in magical Venice. It was unforgettable. We arrived famished after a very long haul to get there. Our first stop was at the gorgeous and charming Bar Dondola, just off the lobby. The server brought over a three-tiered caddy filled with “Cicchetti,” the Venetian word for snacks. One of the Venetian snack offerings was some very simple yet savory prosciutto-wrapped grissini. This is the perfect no fuss, no mess pre-dinner treat to serve with a glass of Poggio Grande Piano, a 100% Sangiovese from Tuscany.

This super easy antipasto is essentially an open-faced panino. A panino is a sandwich cooked on a panino press. My version is much easier and contains half the calories and carbs, which means more vino 😉

I love to pair this crispy crostini with some chilled bubbles like Centanni’s 100% Passerina Charmat Brut from the Le Marche region.

 

The sight and aroma of golden crisp fried potato croquettes is simply irresistible. Anytime I make pureed potatoes I always make extra so I can enjoy these savory crunchy treats with a glass of crisp and light Falerio from Centanni, located in Le Marche.

This classic Emilia Romagna antipasto is super easy to make yet looks very elegant and impressive! The trick is to find sweet ripe figs. The Gorgonzola cheese can be swapped out with blue cheese if you have difficulty finding it. I love the saltiness of the cheese and prosciutto balanced with the sweetness of the figs and honey. Each bite is an explosion of flavors! I enjoy a lovely Italian rose’ with this dish. My favorite is Le Senate’s 100% Merlot rose’ from Le Marche named ‘Sciucca Panza. It is an outstanding pairing! Salute!

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