It is common for any formal meals, home cooked as well as in restaurants, to begin with an antipasto and then continue with first course (pasta or rice), second course (meat or fish), cheese, dessert, fruit, coffee, and digestive liquor. Everyday meals, instead, generally only include first course, second course, and optional coffee. Occasionally, however, an informal antipasto can be a nice addition to every meal.
Antipasti are often served in small portions meant for sharing; some restaurants even offer a buffet of antipasti, allowing the diners to mix and match their favorite items. More informal establishments, such as pizzerie and trattorie, are instead more likely to feature only a limited number of individual antipasti platters.
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- 'Olive all'Ascolana' (7). A particular type of green olives, stuffed with a meat paste, then breaded and deep fried in olive oil (typical product of the Marche region).
- 'Gnocchi fritti' (6). A type of fried bread (see The Mystery of Bread, typical of the Emilia region).
- 'Mozzarella in carrozza'. Literally: "mozzarella in the carriage", the Italian equivalent of a "grilled cheese sandwich", but really more of a French toast filled with mozzarella (typical of central Italy).
- 'Bagna càuda'. Piedmontese dialect for "warm bath", a sauce made with anchovies, garlic and oil, used as a dip for raw or cooked vegetables (typical of the Piedmont region).
- Deep fried, grilled or oven roasted squid. Common all throughout Italy.
- Cold cuts. E.g.: prosciutto crudo (2) (raw, cured pork - sometimes served with cantaloupe), prosciutto cotto (Italian ham), pancetta (Italian bacon), coppa (1) (called capicollo in southern Italy, also a type of cured pork), salumi (3) (cured sausages - including 'bologna' and other kinds of 'mortadella'), lardo (4) (aromatized, cured pork fat), bresaola (cured lean beef - often served with parmesan slivers, lemon and olive oil).
- Grilled vegetables. E.g.: thin sliced eggplants, zucchini, bell peppers.
- Deli preparations. E.g.: 'insalata di mare' (seafood salad, with cooked squid, octopus, mussels and shrimp, marinated in lemon, oil and parsley), 'insalata russa' (cooked vegetables, mostly potatoes, peas, and carrots in mayonnaise), marinated anchovies, 'sarde in saor' (sardines in an onion marinade, typical of the Veneto region), Sicilian 'caponata' (fried eggplant in a tomato, onions, celery, olives and capers stew).
- Savory tarts. E.g.: spinach and ricotta 'tortino', cut in bite-size chunks.
- Egg-based preparations. E.g.: cold 'frittate' (5) (for instance with roasted zucchini and herbs, with asparagus or with mushrooms) and 'uova ripiene' (halved hardboiled eggs where the yolk has been mixed with mayonnaise and canned tuna).
- 'Sottaceti'. Pickled vegetables (preserved in vinegar), e.g.: cipolline (small onions in white vinegar), 'cetriolini' (baby cucumbers marinated in vinegar, and without any dill!).
- 'Sottòli'. Vegetables preserved in olive oil, e.g.: black and green olives, artichokes, mushrooms, mixed vegetables, 'cipolline borettane' (a particular type of pearl onions, in a sweet and sour preparation).
- Cheeses. E.g.: mozzarella (sometimes served in a Caprese salad - with sliced tomatoes and olive oil), provolone or any other fresh and mild cheeses.
- Breads. E.g.: sliced artisan bread (served without butter!), flatbread (e.g. Sardinian 'pane carasau', possibly served with a tapenade of olives or mushrooms), breadsticks (sometimes wrapped in prosciutto slices).
- Bread-based preparations. E.g.: 'bruschetta' (toasted bread with diced fresh tomatoes, garlic, basil and olive oil) and 'panzanella' (a red onion, tomato and cucumber salad, either with chunks of moistened stale bread - as commonly prepared in Tuscany, where it originated -, or served on a toasted bread slice - as typical in all central Italy -).