Antipasto Platter

A well plated antipasto platter can be the most singularly impressive dish on your appetizer buffet. Select a variety of Italian cold cuts, cheeses, olives, roasted and marinated vegetables, and plate in blocks of colors for the most attractive presentation. Prepare the antipasto platter the day of the event (one of the few last minute preparations) because the platter tends to be too large to fit in the refrigerator, and the vegetables will wet the other ingredients if prepared too far in advance.

Homemade Ricotta

I watched homemade ricotta being made on television many years ago, and was inspired to give this recipe a try. The outcome was surprisingly delicious. The ricotta was creamy and wonderful served on crostini. I would only make this when the ricotta is the star ingredient (not when required as part of another dish…like baked ziti, etc.).

Homemade Mozzarella & Mozzarella Rollatini

I have fond memories of the mozzarella that Grandma Colombo served….it was soft, creamy, and warm. Although I have never been able to duplicate the mozzarella from my memory, this homemade mozzarella is a close version. This has been adapted from a Food Network Magazine recipe.

Tomato Caprese Fan

I often serve a traditional tomato caprese dish on my appetizer buffet, including various heirloom tomatoes, fresh mozzarella and fresh basil. For seated dinner parties, I prefer this individual tomato caprese presentation. There are very few ingredients, so make sure you select the freshest items possible since they are all highlighted.

Mozzarella in Carrozza

Mozzarella in Carrozza literally means “mozzarella in a carriage”…the carriage is actually fried bread. This is a decadent version of an Italian grilled cheese sandwich. I have modified this recipe, since traditionally, the sandwich is dredged in flour and an egg wash before frying. I serve this warm, with a delicious lemon butter sauce. Enjoy!

Grilled Vegetable Terrine

This grilled vegetable terrine looks spectacular on an appetizer buffet, and tastes as good as it looks. I have also served this on top of crostini with a salad for seated dinner parties. There are a few steps to making this dish, and you must plan ahead because the terrine sets up best if left in the refrigerator overnight. The result is well worth the effort.

Bruschetta with Oven Roasted Tomatoes

I love to prepare bruschetta when I entertain. This is a perfect appetizer because it can be prepared ahead of time and plated on your buffet before your guests arrive. It also looks beautiful and tastes fabulous!

Pesto Stuffed Mushrooms

Stuffed mushrooms have been a staple on my buffet for years. This is a variation I came up with this morning….I had a bit of pesto sauce leftover and thought it would taste great as a component of the mushroom stuffing. The combination is really fantastic – this is definitely a recipe I would serve to guests!

Spaghetti Pie

I remember having this dish growing up….no food was ever wasted!  It’s wonderful to enjoy the simplest of Italian dishes, using leftover ingredients.  Feel free to add leftover bits of cheese, meats, or any grilled vegetables to this recipe.  This pie is best enjoyed at room temperature. 

Warm Crab & Spinach Dip di Zia Caroline

This dip was one of Aunt Caroline’s favorites.  It was originally served at Harpoon Henry’s restaurant.  The quantities have been modified so the recipe can be enjoyed at home.  Serve warm with crackers or fresh vegetables.  This dip will be a crowd favorite! 

Baked Stuffed Shrimp

I always include this dish on my Christmas Eve buffet.  The shrimp with the stuffing are savory and delicious.  The same stuffing recipe can be used to top scallops.  Serve with lemon wedges and enjoy!

Bruschetta alla Leo

Bruschetta alla Leo is named after my Dad, Leo.  Roasted sausage and peppers served on top of toasted semolina bread is reminiscent of all his favorite flavors.  I hope you enjoy this too!  (Quantities are not listed so you can scale up/down as needed).

Bruschetta alla Mary

Bruschetta alla Mary is named after my Mom, Mary.  The delicious mixture of flavors that incorporate gorgonzola cheese with prosciutto and walnuts is definitely reminiscent of her favorite flavors.  I hope you enjoy this too!  (Again – quantities are not listed so you can scale up/down as needed).

Potato Frittata

This potato frittata recipe is really delicious.  Feel free to add roasted vegetables, peppers, sausage, or whatever ingredients you prefer.  They all make delicious combinations!  This is best served at room temperature, which will allow you to prepare for your guests in advance.  This recipe can either be made in a skillet or baked individually in a greased muffin pan.

Homemade Burrata with Tomatoes

This burrata is easy to make.  This is nothing more that rolling out warm mozzarella, filling the center, then closing the mozzarella like a package to set.  When you are ready to enjoy, cut through the burrata and enjoy the silky mozzarella with the rich creamy filling.

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Fresh Tomato Bruschetta

This recipe is always on my buffet, especially during the summer months when tomatoes are in season.  There are only a few ingredients, so it’s important that each ingredient be ripe and delicious. Tomato bruschetta is best at room temperature, served on toasted crostini.

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Herb Ricotta with Toasted Macadamia Nuts

& Toasted Crostini

This is a dish I often serve for company.  The smoothness of the ricotta pairs beautifully with the sweetness of the caramelized onions and sautéed grapes, and is a perfect accompaniment to the toasted crostini.  For a Thanksgiving variation – add 1/4 cup pumpkin puree to the ricotta mixture for a special treat and top with toasted pumpkin seeds (or your choice).  Enjoy!

Variation 1 - Herb Ricotta with Toasted