When asked to bring a food item to a holiday party or other gathering, it is always nice to have a “go to” dish that you know will be a hit. The Raffaele Family-style Antipasto is my weapon of choice. It is a dish that my family, to this day, starts every family dinner with but for others the Family Style Antipasto is received as a special treat. I have decided to share this recipe and let everyone see how easy it really is. A 1/2 hour of prep and a 1/2 hour of configuration and you will put on quite a show. Try it at your next party and I promise folks will enjoy it.
Keep in mind that this recipe is just a guide. Since I tend to wing things in the kitchen, these measurements are only rough estimates. Have some fun with it. It is almost impossible to mess up.
(Thanks to this guy for lending me this picture. Though mine does not look quit like this, I thought it set the mood nicely.)
Raffaele Family Style Antipasto
8 – 10 Vine Ripe Tomatoes (Cut them to bit sized pieces that can be eaten with a fork. Not too small. This is not salsa)
Chunk of your favorite Mozzarella Cheese diced
1/2 Cup Freshed Basil chopped
1-2 Cloves of Garlic chopped fine
1/3 Cup Olive Oil
1/4 Cup of Balsamic Vinegar
Salt and Pepper to taste
Main Ingredients (All of these can be found in your local grocery store. For the bottled items, I recommend Pastene, but use others if you would like)
12 oz. Bottle Pepperocini drained
2 12 oz. Bottle Giardiniera (Pickled Vegetables) drained
1 Roasted Red Pepper sliced
2 1oz. Marinated Artichokes drained
Assortment of your favorite olives
1/2 lb. Sharp Provolone Cheese cut in small finger food chunks
1/2 lb Genoa Salami
1/2 lb. Prosciutto
A few hours or the night before you need to serve the dish, combine all of the ingredients for the tomato salad in a bowl, cover it, and put it in the fridge. Every once in a while use a large spoon to turn the ingredients in order to allow the liquid to soak into all of the ingredients. Over time the vinegar (which tends to break things down over time) does some work on the other ingredients and the flavors really begin to blend together to produce a very flavorful salad. Continue to turn the ingredients until it is tie to plate the full dish.
Even though the next step in preparation could be done a few hours in advance, I prefer to put things together right before serving because I think the ingredients remain more fresh and the marinated items do not have a chance to take over the flavors of the other ingredients.
In order to plate this, you will need a large flat platter or serving plate. The first things I layout are the meat and cheese. I roll each piece of salami and prosciutto into a tube. I then alternate a piece of salami, a piece of prosciutti, and a piece of cheese to make a ring around the outside of the plate. Next I use a large slotted (you do not want to make you plate all soupy) spoon to create a pile in the middle of the plate with the tomato salad . Now, you should have space remaining on the plate between the meat/cheese and the tomato salad. This space will be filled up with the remaining incredients. I usually layer them in this order: (Giardiniera, Artichokes, Olives, Roasted Pepper) Once layered, it is ready to impress. Just throw it on the table, stick a couple of big serving spoons into it, and you should be able to keep a good sized dinner party at bay until the main course is served.