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Antipasti Platters




The meaning is clear: an antipasto come before the meal (il pasto), and its function is to prepare the stomach for the courses.

So the antipasto is to be merely tasted, savored slowly in minimal amount rather than devoured. Otherwise it takes the place of the meal, becoming an epilogue instead of a prologue.The meaning is clear: an antipasto come before the meal (il pasto), and its function is to prepare the stomach for the courses.The meaning is clear: an antipasto come before the meal (il pasto), and its function is to prepare the stomach for the courses.

So the antipasto is to be merely tasted, savored slowly in minimal amount rather than devoured. Otherwise it takes the place of the meal, becoming an epilogue instead of a prologue.

There are many different kinds of antipasti. They follow one general rule, which is that hot ones are served before a reasonably light meal, cold ones before a substantial meal. Also, they must have a certain harmony with the rest of the menu - they should bear some relationship to the dishes that follow. The visual element of antipasti dishes is important so that the appetite is stimulated in the imagination even before it is stimulated by the taste. A skillful blending of colors and garnishes is all part of the exercise: preparing a plate of antipasti is like playing with a puzzle.

Most of the recipes have one indispensable ingredient in common: extra virgin olive oil.

Just as olive trees have been constant feature of Tuscan landscape for thousands of years, so olive oil has always played leading role in Tuscan cooking. There is an old saying that wine lift the spirits and oil lift the taste, which confirm the dominant role of olive oil in the kitchens of peasant and aristocrat alike. Bruschetta and raw vegetable dip pinzimonio cannot be the same without the unmistakable taste of extra virgin olive oil!

BRUSCHETTA, CROSTINI and CROSTONI

Bruschetta originated in the central part of Italy, and has now spread to other parts. In Tuscany it is called "Fettunta", that literally means oiled slice.

In the regions of Umbria, Tuscany, Lazio, Marche and the Abruzzi the original basic bruschetta was always the same 1/2"inch slice of home-made bread, at least 2 days old, unsalted close type of bread with a good crust. It was toasted on a grill over a wood fire, rubbed with garlic while still hot and seasoned with sea salt and extra-virgin olive oil.

Crostini and Crostoni are variations in size of Bruschetta. Crostini are thinner and Crostoni are thicker. They evolved from the original basic Bruschetta recipe to their present day forms. Some recipes can be quite sophisticated, pretty far away from the original peasant roots.

TIPS

1. Bruschetta, Crostini and Crostoni are very quick and easy to prepare, but please always remember to use only the best quality extra-virgin olive oil and good bread.

2. If you don't have time to bake your own bread, buy a good firm loaf.

Never use a loaf which, when you squeeze the crumbs between your fingers, becomes a ball of dough. The bread should spring back after being squeezed.

3. Traditionally, bruschetta was cooked over charcoal; today it is more often toasted on a ridged cast iron griddle. These methods give the bread a slightly charred flavour as well as an attractive ridged pattern.

4. Crostoni are either toasted under the grill (Us broiler) or in the oven. Crostini are cooked in the same way. The meaning is clear: an antipasto come before the meal (il pasto), and its function is to prepare the stomach for the courses.
















Last Minute Antipasta Platter

6 ounces "baby" or fresh mozzarella
1/4 pound prosciutto, thinly sliced
1/4 pound mortadella, thinly sliced
1/4 pound cappicolla, thinly sliced
1 (5 to 6-ounce) piece of asiago or aged provolone cheese
1 small stick soppressata (dried Italian sausage)
1 small stick pepperoni
4 ounces (1 small jar) marinated artichoke hearts
1/4 pound oil-dried black olives or similar olives
4 ounces (1 small jar) pepperoncini peppers
6 ounces or 2 pieces whole roasted red peppers
1 bunch fresh basil
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 seedless cucumber, thinly sliced











Ingredients
marinated olives
sun-dried or sun-blushed tomatoes, in oil
chargrilled artichokes, peppers, courgettes, mushrooms and onions
marinated anchovies
cured hams, i.e. Parma, proscuitto
salamis and spicy sausages
Parmesan or pecorino cheese












* Napa Valley Bistro Olive Medley
* Mezzetta Ni├žoise Olives
* Mezzetta Blue Cheese Stuffed Olives
* Mezzetta Giardiniera Antipasto
* Mezzetta Artichoke Hearts
* Mezzetta Roasted Red Bell Peppers (sliced into strips)
* Mezzetta Sweet or Hot Banana Wax Peppers





Accompaniments

* Prosciutto, thinly sliced
* Olive tapenade
* Fresh figs, halved
* Grilled zucchini or eggplant slices
* Fresh table grapes
* Italian breadsticks
* Herbed goat cheese
* Aged white cheddar
* Candied walnuts
* Rustic Italian crostini

Bruschette and crostini are among the most common types of antipasti. The two are very similar and the terms are often used interchangeably, but bruschette are generally larger and thicker. Bruschette means “little burnt ones” and refers to how they should be prepared. Under a grill, whether charcoal or gas, the edges of the bread should be very crisp and the centre not too dry.

Ingredients:
Sliced Italian bread or long loaf of firm textured white bread
4 vine-ripened tomatoes
340g fresh basil leaves
2 garlic cloves (1 garlic clove to be rubbed over the bread)
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste




Antipasto

# Al Italiano : Salami,Capicollo,Dilled Vegetables,Olives,
# Bocconccini cheese,Bruschetta.
# Antipasto Proscuitto e Melone. Basic :
# Prosciutto,Melone,Dilled Vegetables,Marinated Mushrooms,
# Eggplant black & green Olives,Boconcino cheese,Tomato Wedge. Fontana Special :
# Prosciutto,Salmon,Cherry tomato salad with black Olives and
# Sliced Bocconccini cheese,Grilled Vegetables. Grilled :
# Grilled Eggplant,Zucchini,Peppers,Oyster Mushrooms,
# Boconcino cheese,Prosciutto,Mellone and Olives. Seafood Antipasto :
# Smoked Salmon garnished with capers,Marinated Seafood,
# Baby Shrimp,Bocconccino cheese,Black Olives,Roasted Pepper,
# Sun dried Tomato. Shrimp Cocktail :
# Jumbo Shrimp served in glass with Lemon and Cocktail sauce.


Antipasto Bar

# Assorted Cold cut Platters (prosciutto, smoked turkey, provolone, black forest ham, sopressata, cappicollo, mortadella, salami, pastrami, etc.).
# Antipasti di Mare (assorted cold fish salad).
# Assorted Cheese Platters (parmagiano, gouda, havarti, friulano, cheddar, swiss, blue cheese etc.).
# Cold Rissotto Salad

# Dilled Vegetable Platters.
# Elite Selection of Hors D'oeuvres.
# Marinated Grilled Vegetables (eggplant, oyster mushrooms, yellow zucchini, three colour peppers, carrots).
# Mussles alla Fontana.
# Roasted Pork Platter Decorated with Fresh Fruit.
# Roasted Whole Turkey.
# Smoked Salmon on Rye with Capers and Onions.
# Whole Salmon Decorated with Fresh Fruit.




Traditional Antipasti Platter

Ingredients

Cold Cuts (charcuterie) - sliced thin:

* ¼ lb. Imported prosciutto (San Danielle is the best)
* ¼ lb. Mild salami (Columbus)
* ¼ lb. Imported mortadella with pistachio nuts
* ¼ lb. Mild coppa

Marinated Vegetables:

* Jar of Marinated artichoke hearts
* Jar Roasted red peppers
* Jar of pepperoncini
* Jar of marinated mushrooms

Cheeses:

* Bocconcini
* Chunks of Parmesano Reggiano cheese
* Asiago, Provolone, and / or Italian Fontina cheese, cut in thin stripes

Breads:

* Grissini breadsticks (I usually roll my prosciutto around them)
* Focaccia, ciabatta or herb slab (variety of artisan breads)

Olives:

* Combination of gourmet olives (Kalamata, Nicoise, and Colossole)

Misc:

* Deviled eggs
* Grilled vegetables (zucchini, eggplant, peppers)
* Figs (if in season)
* Melon (if in season, can wrap the prosciutto around it).



A platter of Mediterranean-style savory bites partners well with predinner drinks at holiday gatherings. It is an easy option for cocktail parties, open houses, and lunch buffets, too, because most of the items are store-bought.
The Elements

Start with a visit to a good deli or specialty-foods store to find ready-made items like olives; specialty nuts, such as Marcona almonds; artisanal cheeses, such as pecorino, Manchego, mozzarella, and fresh goat cheese; spreads, such as tapenade; and cured meats, including prosciutto, salami, mortadella, and coppa. Serve four to six items, and plan on 1 to 2 ounces (30 to 60 g) of each per guest. You can supplement these offerings with raw or roasted vegetables with a Mediterranean-style dipping sauce.
Assembly

Choose an attractive tray, platter, or cutting board. Or, create a dramatic presentation using a long, narrow platter, a tiered charcuterie "tower," or several matching small plates, with a single antipasto on each. Arrange the food to create an unfussy, natural look, piling items casually and rolling or loosely folding sliced meats. Decorate with grape leaves, fresh herbs such as sage, rosemary, or thyme. Place small plates, decorative cocktail picks or salad forks, and cocktail napkins next to the antipasto assortment.
Accompaniments

Serve a basket of thinly sliced baguette rounds, slices of coarse country bread, cubes of focaccia, or crackers. You can also set out bread sticks.

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