In Italy, pizza always starts with appetizers – or Antipasti, as we call them in Italian. Antipasti is served to excite you before the meal starts-‐ instead of diving straight into the main course, it is much better to begin with something small in anticipation of what is to come. We are believers in this Italian tradition at InRome Cooking and in celebration of our new Pizza and Antipasti class here are our favourite appetizers to be eaten before pizaza:
It is almost mandatory to have a suppli before pizza in Rome-‐ they are the perfect snack before
pizza and consist of risotto, usually tomato, stuffed with mozzarella, rolled in breadcrumbs and
then fried until golden. When you bite into a perfect suppli, the mozzarella oozes and stretches,
hence why Italians named this favourite snack after old-‐fashioned telephones. Think of a younger
and modest cousin to Sicily’s flamboyant Arancini.
Fiori di zucca
Rome’s own zucchini, the fluted pale variety, sprout the most gorgeous flowers. The male ones are
perfect for stuffing, and fried zucchini flowers have become a typical Roman appetizer. Depending
on your taste, the flowers can be stuffed with mozzarella or ricotta and anchovy or prosciutto.
They are then dipped in batter and fried to create a perfect complement to a glass of prosecco.
Toasted bread, topped with tomatoes, is a dish loved world wide. However a really good bruschetta
is hard to find. The bread should be made with good flour and be a day or two old, the tomatoes
should be fresh and fruity, and the basil and oil, fragrant. Bruschetta adapts to the seasons: in
Spring you can use fava and pecorino, instead of tomatoes, or in winter Gorgonzola and pear. All
year round, bruschetta is a wonderful dish to enjoy before pizza.
Pizza usually begins with something fried, however sometimes a simple plate of raw seasonal
vegetables brought to the table with a dip of melted butter and anchovy is exactly what is needed
before a heavy pizza. Bagna Caldo is a feast for the eyes and a wonderful celebration of seasonal vegetables.
How about the weird banquet dishes?
In here we are going to mention only few of them, so you get the gist of how it was like to eat at a Roman banquet: dromedary feet, flamingos and parrots – slowly cooked and then roasted with dill, vinegar, flour, dates and spices – nightingales cooked with rose petals, saw breasts filled with sea urchins…and so on. Would you try any of these dishes?
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