10 Italian Starter Recipes | Good Food

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Italian starter recipes

1. Tomato bruschetta

Slices of bread topped with tomato bruschetta

When it comes to Italian starters, it doesn’t get more iconic (or simpler) than a tomato bruschetta. Enjoy al fresco, perhaps accompanied with an Aperol spritz, for the ultimate Mediterranean-inspired aperitivo. Discover more bruschetta toppings.

2. Caprese salad

Tomato, mozzarella and basil leaves on a large platter

The key to this salad is using perfectly ripe tomatoes – opt for a juicy plum variety. Combine with stretchy mozzarella and fresh basil leaves for a stunning starter. Try more summer salads.

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3. Panzanella

Panzanella on a large sharing plate with two spoons

The beauty of this dish is you can use stale sourdough or ciabatta. Simply freshen up with olive oil and toast in the oven, then toss with fresh tomatoes, anchovies, black olives and torn basil. Feeling inspired? Try more panzanella recipes.

4. Focaccia

Baking dish of focaccia with a slice put on a plate nearby

Our five-star rated focaccia is an absolute dinner party winner. The springy Italian bread is dotted with fresh rosemary sprigs and sprinkled with flaky sea salt. Discover more focaccia recipes.

5. Minted melon, tomato & prosciutto salad

Plate of melon, tomatoes and proscuitto

You can’t beat the classic sweet and savoury combination of juicy melon and salty prosciutto. This salad marries together those complementary flavours with heirloom tomatoes, shredded mint and a sherry, olive oil and honey dressing to bring it all together. Try more melon recipes.

6. Cacio e pepe

Cacio e pepe in a bowl

If you’re wanting to start your meal in traditional Italian fashion, for your primo course (before the main) you may choose a simple pasta, like this cacio e pepe. With just four ingredients, reserve some of your starchy pasta water to help achieve a glossy sauce to coat your spaghetti. Discover our most popular pasta recipes.

7. Classic minestrone soup

Classic minestrone soup

For a lighter, veggie-packed start to your Italian feast, this traditional soup is full of fibre and high in vitamin C. Our five-star recipe is a classic, brought to life with salty pancetta and topped with a grating of parmesan. Discover more ways with tinned tomatoes.

8. Air-fryer arancini

A plate of arancini, one with a bite taken out

Get your dinner off to a stellar start with these air-fryer beauties. Great for using up leftover risotto (or make some fresh), they’re stuffed with chunks of mozzarella for an oozing, molten cheese middle, and scattered with grated parmesan. Try more summer air-fryer recipes.

9. Aubergine parmigiana

Aubergine parmigiana in a white rectangular baking dish

Another five-star hero, the classic bake is layered up with griddled slices of charred aubergine, a rich tomato sauce and topped with bubbling golden cheese, toasted breadcrumbs and pine nuts. Discover more grilled aubergine recipes.

10. Gnocchi with parsley, butter & samphire

Bowl of vegetable gnocchi with parsley and samphire

If you’re looking to push the boat out, try making your own homemade gnocchi. Although it’s a little more effort, you will reap the rewards with this stunning vegetarian dish with a simple sauce of salty samphire, fresh parsley and buttery garlic. Read more about how to cook samphire and then try more samphire recipes and gnocchi recipes.

Enjoyed these recipes? Discover more Italian inspiration

Top Italian desserts
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Italian cake recipes
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