Antipasto, the Italian word for "before pasta" or "before meal," is a common appetizer for Italian meals. It is a plate or platter consisting of a variety of meats, cheeses, vegetables, breads and oils. Depending on personal preferences, traditions and individual tastes, antipasto platters vary in what and how much of the various foods they contain. The size of the antipasto plate will also vary depending on the occasion and how many people it is to serve.
Select a decorative plate or platter for the antipasto, with a size that will accommodate your family or invited guests.
Choose a variety of cured meats for the plate which may include salami, pepperoni, mortadella or prosciutto. Meats are typically rolled before being placed on the antipasto plate.
Include a variety of cheeses for the plate; mozzarella, aged Gorgonzola and goat cheese are Italian favorites. Cut the cheese into cubes or small pieces to be eaten with the bread and meat.
Choose vegetables that complement your chosen meats and cheeses. These may include artichoke hearts, sun-dried tomatoes, bell peppers or olives. Serve fresh vegetables, or roasted with garlic.
Include bread on your antipasto plate if your family enjoys it with the other foods. You may like bruschetta, ciabatta or focaccia, to be dipped into olive oil.
Arrange the items on your plate or platter in an attractive way, creating an even balance of meat, cheese, vegetables and bread. Include a small dish of olive oil for dipping.