How to Make the Best Antipasto Platter

antipasto plate_jsorelle

We’re Italian and proud of it. We love our heritage and the Italian culture…and of course, the food! Our mouths water with the site of a good Antipasto Platter.

But, how do they do it? How do people create that savory “before the meal” plate that can bring people together and satisfy their cravings? What’s the secret to a beautiful and delicious Antipasto Plate?

We know an expert who can tell us…because we know a place that does everything right when it comes to Italian food and ambiance.


Christine and Simone successfully recreated a little piece of Italy in Denver, Colorado. If you haven’t been, you need to go. And, if you don’t live in CO, you need to add a visit to CO to your bucket list, and add Parisi to your must-eat list.

Here’s owner Christine’s tips for a delectable Antipasto Platter.

– Make sure there’s a balance of olives, cheese, cold cuts & toasted bread with topping.
– Include a mix of soft and hard cheese.
– Tempt the palette with new flavors because people always like to try new things, but also intermingle with a few familiar flavors.
– Keep the toppings simple for the Bruschetta using seasonal veggies. It’s nice to add a little sweet balsamic to the mix to balance out the savory.

parisi antipasto platter_jsorelle

And, what about the essential sidekick to a yummy Antipasto Platter, otherwise known as wine? Christine has us covered there too.
“Reds are a good choice for heartier antipasti plates such as a San Giovese blend {San Giovese is the grape used for Chianti and so many of the Tuscan faves),” she said. “But a refreshing Pinot Grigio isn’t a bad choice for those who insist on white.” 
She added, “Oh, and then there is one of my favorite red Italian blends from the Veneto region:  La Cappuccina’s Madego.. it’s organic and so smooth, but not boring. But I am all for blends these days…I can’t commit to just one grape.”
parisi antipasto platter_jsorelle
The list of ingredients from the mouth-watering plate Meredith Moran of Meredith Moran Photography snapped for us at Parisi includes…
Drunken Goat (harder goat cheese immersed in red wine)
Fresh Asiago
Pecorino Picante
Prosciutto di Parma
Finocchiona salame (with fennel)
Castelvetrano & Kalamata Olives
Bruschetta with an artichoke topping & a cherry tomato topping
parisi antipasto platter_jsorelle
Now are you ready to impress your guests with the most amazing Antipasto Platter ever? Of course, if you need some authentic Italian food for inspiration, a great sandwich for lunch, an impressive place to bring a special date, or you just want to indulge yourself because you deserve it, stop by Parisi. If you want to eat for hours like the Italian’s do in a more intimate setting, make a reservation right below Parisi at Firenze a Tavola {same owners}. I promise, you will want to go back for more. It’s special to us, not only because Florence is our love affair city, but also because Jenna and Will celebrated their rehearsal dinner at Firenze a Tavola, and that was just the beginning to a wonderful life together.
parisi denver_jsorelle
parisit denver_jsorelle
Thanks to Christine at Parisi and Meredith Moran for making this post possible.

Creamy Pesto Pasta with Chicken Recipe

We are proud to be Italian Americans. And, having studied in Florence, Italy {all of us}, we are really proud to be Italian and are in love with the Italian culture. Sometimes we wish we could call Italy home at least 6 months of the year. And, I know all 3 of us wish we were fluent in the language. I don’t know how {yes, we do…they are wonderful, good men…and have those dreamy blue eyes that were foreign in our family}, but all 3 of us fell in love with Irish and Scottish men. Go figure.

Today, in honor of Christopher Columbus, the explorer, navigator and colonizer of Italian descent, and Columbus day, we are sharing one of our favorite pasta recipes we make for our families, so you too can celebrate this Italian holiday. Don’t forget to pair with a bold red vino – Brunello di Montalcino is our fave!

BTW, this is not a fat-free recipe, but you have to give yourself permission to indulge every once in a while.

Creamy Pesto Pasta
serves 6
{recipe adapted from Emeril Lagasse’s Shrimp with Linguine in a Pesto Cream Sauce}

1 pound linguine, or spaghetti noodles
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1.5 pound sliced chicken breast
2 tablespoons Essence {homemade from Emeril recipe below}
3/4 cup finely chopped yellow onion
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1.5 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup pesto {store bought or homemade}
1/4 cup reserved cooking water
1/4 cup grated parmesan

Set a large 1 gallon stock pot of water to a boil. When boiling, add noodles.
Set a large saute pan over medium high heat.
Add the butter and olive oil to the pan.
Once the butter has melted, season the chicken with 1 tablespoon Essence and add to the pan.
Cook until no longer pink. Then remove from the pan and set aside.
Add the onions and sauté until softened and translucent, about 5 minutes.

Add the garlic to the pan and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute
Add the cream, pesto, remaining tablespoon of Essence seasoning and bring to a boil.

Cook the sauce until the cream is reduced by half, about 5 minutes.
Return the chicken to the pan and reserved cooking water, and cook tossing to incorporate ingredients together for about 5 minutes.
Remove the pan from heat, add cooked noodles and sprinkle with parmesan.
Serve and enjoy.

Emeril’s Essence Creole Seasoning
{by the way, this is a great spice to add to potatoes for eggs and potatoes in the am, veggies and we season baked chicken with it all the time}
2.5 tablespoons Paprika
1 tablespoon salt
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 tablespoons black pepper
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried thyme

 Buono Appetito!

{images via Tutto Bella}

jennifer + carl’s italian i do’s

All three of us were fortunate enough {thanks mom and dad} to study in Florence, Italy for a semester during college. It may have been the best 6 months of our lives. Priceless beauty and memories we all cherish!

During Jenna’s travel abroad adventure, the whole family flew out to travel with her for a couple of weeks, and we made the trip to Santa Margherita. What a treat! Nestled on the gorgeous Italian Riviera, the colorful buildings, fabulous shops, beautiful views from boat rides or the coast, enchanting side streets and the delicious food of this small town is intoxicating.

Which is why, when we received photos from Julian Kanz Photography of Jennifer and Carl saying I do at Villa Durazzo in Santa Margherita Ligure, our hearts were overjoyed with excitement.

We love the mini-sized Italian transportation, the setting, Jennifer’s contagious smile and the simplicity and beauty of the day.

Venue: Villa Durazzo, Santa Margherita Ligure
Photographer: Julian Kanz Photography

{images via Julian Kanz Photography}