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Category: ANTIPASTI-STARTERS

My rule when making risotto, is always to make extra! It is even better the next day, made into little cakes and fried. This quick and easy antipasto will dazzle guests, so be sure to serve it with a sparkling Valente Montonico Brut.

There is something so satisfying about these crispy zucchini fritters! Perhaps it is because my dear “anti-vegetable” husband gobbles them up and does not even bat an eye about eating zucchini. Fritters and Centanni Passerina Spumante are a great pair for cocktail hour. I like to serve some homemade Arrabbiata, spicy tomato sauce for an extra zing!

Fresh seasonal vegetables take center stage for this easy yet gorgeous antipasto platter. Carrots, celery, fennel, radishes, peppers, zucchini, cucumber, tomatoes, along with any other veggies you enjoy, look as great as they taste. I like to prepare a dipping sauce made with good-quality extra virgin olive oil, a splash of aged balsamic vinegar, and a sprinkle of sea salt. Pinzimonio pairs nicely with a chilled glass of Centanni Pecorino.

I love this adaptation of the classic Caprese Salad. The jewel-toned eggplant skin, milky white mozzarella, crimson red tomatoes, and bright green basil leaves make this such an elegant looking antipasto. Paired with a glass of Lumavite Devay from Marche, you love it even more! Salute!!

Affetato Misto means “sliced mix” in Italian. This very popular rustic antipasto is simply a large selection of sliced cured meats arranged on a platter or board served with a robust glass of wine like Madonna Nera Rosso di Montalcino. I like to serve grissini, marinated baby artichoke hearts, and olives with this dish.

Prosciutto e Melone is a classic antipasto served all over Italy. The salty-nuttiness of the prosciutto is so delicious with a bite of juicy ripe melon. Try it with a glass of Valente Millesimato Brut. It is a spectacular sparkler from Abruzzo made from 100% Montonico grapes.

Bresaola is a lean air-dried beef that is slightly salty with hints of spices and garlic. It tastes excellent with peppery arugula and nutty Parmesan cheese. I enjoy this dish for dinner in the summer when it is too hot to turn on the stove, especially paired with a crisp, floral, and spice noted chilled glass of Centanni Falerio.

Every time we visit Pienza, Italy, I make sure to pay a few visits to my favorite little trattoria, Sette di Vino, where we love to sit outside on the charming patio. We always order the melted Pecorino cheese smothered with black truffles and a bottle of Capitoni Frasi, from the Capitoni winery, also located in Pienza. When I am back home, I can recreate my memories by making this recipe and uncorking a great bottle of Frasi, which we now exclusively import to the US! Salute!!

Each Spring, I feast on the bounty of my fig trees and especially enjoy them paired with Speck, a ham very much like prosciutto but smoked at the final stage of curing. The smoky, salty ham combined with the honey sweetness and slightly nutty flavors are glorious with a chilled glass of bubbly Centanni Passerina Spumante.

Arancini are ooey, gooey fried little rice balls, my favorite way to use up leftover risotto. They are so easy to whip up, and the ingredients are very flexible. Stuff a cube of cheese in the center. I like to add ham, sausage, anchovy, or an olive to the center of my Arancini. Serve this savory antipasto with a side of Homemade Tomato Sauce and a beautiful glass of Madonna Nera Rosso di Montalcino.

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