Although Thanksgiving is not an Italian holiday, in my family we always have Italian additions to the traditional Thanksgiving meal. While the turkey will always be the main attraction of the holiday, I've picked 5 of my favorite Italian "appetizers" that will add Italian flare to any table, any time. Check out these recipes to host your Thanksgiving Italian Style.
One of the most classic Italian starters, Bruschetta is the perfect dish to have out for your guests as they arrive. They are small, but they are packed with flavor! With simple, fresh ingredients, is easy to create a beautiful and colorful dish. See the recipe for a simple tomato bruschetta below.
-French Baguette, sliced to a quarter inch thick
-6 Plum Tomatoes, diced into bite size pieces
-2 Cloves of Garlic, Minced
-Basil Leaves, thinly sliced
-Salt & Black Pepper
1. Pre-heat oven to 375. On a cookie sheet, lay out your slices and brush both sides with the extra virgin olive oil. Bake for 10 minutes, then flip the slices, then bake for an additional 5 minutes or until golden.
2. In a mixing bowl, mix your diced tomatoes, minced garlic, basil leaves, salt and pepper, and EVOO.
3. Once the bread is finished, assemble your bruschetta by placing your tomato mixture on top of the bread. Drizzle balsamic glaze overtop as desired.
Arancini (Rice Balls)
The Sicilian Arancini, otherwise known as Rice Balls, are another perfect bite size food that makes a great appetizer or finger food for when guests arrive. Once you bite into the crispy outer edge, the rice balls are packed with flavor. Many people stuff their rice balls with various ingredients, such as peas or ground meat. Check out these recipes by trusted and famous Italian chef Giada De Laurentiis and Lidia Bastianich here and here.
The most traditional of all of the recipes I'm sharing today, antipasti platters can be easy to assemble and are beloved by guests, Italian or not. For a more streamlined presentation, antipasto skewers are the perfect way to offer a "grab and go" antipasto, where guests can enjoy the cured meats, cheeses and olives while mingling and catching up with friends.
Get creative when assembling your skewers, by mixing up the variations of meats, cheeses and olives by color, such as in this photo. Create a colorful variation of olives, cured meats, cheeses, tomato, and greens, and whichever of the traditional ingredients that you choose.
Eggplant Parmigiana Tower
Putting a modern spin on the presentation aspect of this traditional dish, Eggplant Parmigiana Towers are the ultimate comfort food. I like to create three layers of the eggplant, tomato sauce and mozzarella, and bake it in the oven. Place some fresh basil on top of the delicious, melted mozzarella and serve. All I can say about this dish is YUM!
Stuffed Artichokes is a traditional Italian dish that is beloved by many. With countless recipes and preparation techniques out there, once you find what works best for you, this is the perfect dish to create for practically every holiday or gathering. Check out the video below by Cooking with Nonna's Rossella Rago on how to prepare stuffed artichokes, Sicilian style!
While I find that these would be great Italian additions to your Thanksgiving table, they make great additions to any meal that you prepare. Thanksgiving is all about spending time with loved ones, connecting and catching up, and taking time away from our busy schedules to reflect on what we are thankful for in our lives. What are you thankful for this year? Comment below!
The Sweet Paisana