Italian Appetizers, Appetizer Recipes | SAVEUR

Italian Appetizer Recipes

There's nothing quite as fun as a sampling of Italian small bites

As a snack or an appetizer, there's nothing quite as light, restorative, and fun as a sampling of Italian small bites. Mix and match these recipes—plates of grilled polenta, stuffed zucchini and cherry peppers, sweet and sour sardines, and more—serving one or two for a casual get-together with a friend, or a whole spread for a crowd.

Who doesn't love fried food? Our fried broccoli rabe and Italian sausage ravioli are hearty enough to be a meal in and of themselves. Frittatine di pasta, spaghetti fritters with ham and mozzarella, will also fill you up, as will our veal croquettes or arancini rice fritters. For a lighter fried snack, try anchovy-stuffed zucchini blossoms.

Want more seafood? How about a crostini topped with sardines and salsa verde, or garlicky, pancetta-studded shrimp? Or, if you want to go all out, combine shrimp, fish, and squid for an extravagant fritto misto.

Don't worry, vegetarians, we have you covered too. Our broccoli rabe, cannellini bean, and ricotta crostini is as satisfying as its meaty counterparts. For an appetizer that could easily double as a main, try our ricotta and roasted pepper frittata. Stuffing zucchini with pecorino and ricotta makes for a rich appetizer or side dish.

With all of these great Italian appetizers, you might not even make it to the pasta course. Check out our collection of Italian appetizer recipes.

Cavolo nero (Tuscan kale) bruschetta

Cavolo nero, also known as Tuscan kale, Lacinato kale, or Dinosaur kale, balances thinly sliced, salty prosciutto over toast.

Laura Sant

Fried Anchovy-Stuffed Zucchini Blossoms

For this simple Italian hors d'oeuvre, delicate zucchini flowers are filled with salty anchovy fillets and batter-fried.

Ingalls Photography

Shrimp and Rosemary Crostini

For this simple appetizer, shrimp are sautéed in smoky bacon fat and served on grilled bread with rosemary.

Ingalls Photography

Broccoli Rabe and Italian Sausage Fried Ravioli

These giant fried ravioli are filled with a cheesy mixture of broccoli rabe, sausage, and cherry peppers.

Ingalls Photography

Broccoli Rabe, Cannellini Bean, and Ricotta Crostini

Crusty, garlicky toasted bread is topped with creamy ricotta, rosemary-accented beans, and spicy sautéed broccoli rabe in this quick, satisfying Italian appetizer.

Andre Baranowski

Fried Dough with Arugula and Grape Tomatoes (Angioletti Fritti con Rucola e Pomodori)

A bright and simple salad adds fresh contrast to fried strips of pizza dough.

Todd Coleman

Spaghetti Fritters with Ham and Smoked Mozzarella (Frittatine di Pasta)

Coiled strands of spaghetti soak up a creamy sauce in these delectable fried ham and cheese fritters.

Todd Coleman

Shrimp with Pancetta and Rosemary (Gamberi al Rosmarino)

These pancetta-studded shrimp are ready in minutes. Serve them with extra bread to mop up the garlicky wine sauce. Get the recipe for Shrimp with Pancetta and Rosemary (Gamberi al Rosmarino) »

Todd Coleman

Meat Croquettes (Polpette)

Rich ground veal and potatoes are seasoned with garlic and parsley and fried for a classic Venetian snack.

Todd Coleman

Venetian Tea Sandwiches (Tramezzini)

Our favorite fillings for light, dainty Venetian tea sandwiches are asparagus and eggs, tuna and olives, and arugula with cured beef. Serve a selection open-faced for a colorful, eye-catching presentation.

Todd Coleman

Bacon-Wrapped Artichokes (Fondi di Carciofi)

Everything's better wrapped in bacon, including artichoke hearts.

Todd Coleman

Stuffed Mussels (Cozze al Pomodoro)

Thyme and white wine bring out the sweet flavor of mussels in this classic dish.

Todd Coleman

Ricotta Crostini with Cherry Tomatoes

Ripe cherry tomatoes add sweetness to crostini topped with fresh ricotta.

André Baranowski

Ricotta Crostini with Soppressata

Creamy, luscious cows' or sheep's milk ricotta pairs beautifully with soppressata and grilled, toasted, or fried slices of crusty bread for a simple and rustic crostini.

André Baranowski

Fritto Misto (Fried Squid, Fish, and Shrimp)

Deep-frying seafood in a good-quality extra-virgin olive oil imparts fruity, peppery flavors and creates an incredibly delicate crust.

Todd Coleman

Marinated Sardine Crostini with Salsa Verde and Fennel

These little sandwiches have a big range of flavors, from the salty sardines to to the tangy flavors of tarragon and chive salsa verde.

Maxime Lattoni

Sweet and Sour Eggplant

This classic sweet and sour eggplant dish is rich and sweetened with caramelized onions and raisins.

Landon Nordeman

Grilled Polenta with Dried Cod Mousse (Baccalà Mantecato)

This creamy codfish mousse is delicious served with char-grilled squares of polenta.

Todd Coleman

Pecorino Flans with Tomato Sauce (Pecorino Tortas con Salsa di Pomodoro)

These fluffy pecorino flans are served with a simple tomato sauce.

David Hagerman

Zucchini Stuffed with Ricotta (Zucchine Ripiene con Ricotta)

In this dish, zucchini are stuffed with the twin stars of Calabrian cheese making: pecorino and ricotta. Flecked with tomato and mint, they are equally good eaten hot or at room temperature.

Landon Nordeman

Venetian Rice Fritters (Arancini Veneziani)

These cheesy rice fritters, often made with leftover risotto, are an addictive snack.

Todd Coleman

Stuffed Cherry Peppers (Peperoni con Acciughe)

Capers, tuna, and anchovies balance the heat in these small, stuffed cherry peppers.

Todd Coleman

Dry-Cured Olives with Rosemary and Orange

These olives are incredibly simple—all you have to do is mix them with orange zest and juice, rosemary, and pepper, then let them sit for an hour.

Landon Nordeman

Roasted Artichokes (Carciofi Arrostiti)

Though traditionally cooked in embers, these artichokes are equally as succulent when oven-roasted.

Farideh Sadeghin

Ricotta and Red Pepper Frittata

Creamy ricotta, silky roasted peppers, and hearty potatoes combine for an easy one-skillet dish that originates in Calabria, Italy, where sometimes sliced, cured sausage is added to it to celebrate the end of Lent.

Andre Baranowski

Stuffed Zucchini (Zucchine Ripiene)

This dish of zucchini stuffed with prosciutto, tomatoes, and cheese is a hearty finger food.

Todd Coleman

Carbone's Garlic Bread

This buttery, garlicky classic from Carbone restaurant in NYC is our Platonic ideal of garlic bread.

Landon Nordeman

Herbed Tomato Tart

Made with ripe cherry tomatoes and fragrant herbs, this tart is both delicious and beautiful.

Todd Coleman

Bread and Tomato Soup (Pappa al Pomodoro)

This thick, porridgelike soup is a hearty way to start a meal.

Zoe Schaeffer

Tricolore Salad with Grapefruit Saba Vinaigrette

Grapefruit supremes (segments of pulp separated from the membrane) and aged balsamic vinegar brighten this classic Italian salad from author Dana Bowen.

André Baranowski

Caprese Salad with Fried Capers and Basil

Briny and slightly crispy fried capers punch up the flavor of this classic Italian tomato and mozzarella salad.

Laura Sant

Braised Artichokes

Earthy and tender, these artichokes are a favorite antipasto at Frankies Spuntino restaurants in New York City.

Todd Coleman