Since I cook mostly in an Italian style, on this page I explain the structure of a typical Italian dinner (cena）as it is slightly different from other countries. For each recipe I post on this blog, I will indicate for which course of the menu it is intended.
一种cenastarts withantipasti，appetizers. This can be one dish likeVitello Tonnato.或带各种开胃菜的大板或自助餐。一种ntipasto字面意思是“面前面食”。
一种fter antipasti comes thePrimo.（第一课程）：意大利面条, risotto, gnocchi or sometimes soup. In the Italian kitchen, pasta or rice is never a side dish but always a course of its own. This is not true for potatoes, because they are considered to be a vegetable!
The main course is referred to assecondo（second course): meat or fish.
Side dishes (potatoes or vegetables) are calledcontorni。Do not be surprised if you order asecondoin Italy and you only get a piece of meat or fish! Although contorni are sometimes included with asecondo, very often they have to be ordered seperately.
Dessert is simply calleddessertorDolce.（sweet) and inTrattorie.is often just a piece of fruit.
Do Italians always eat 4 courses?
If I have guests over for dinner, I will generally serve four courses and adapt portion sizes accordingly. However, Italians do not always eat 4 courses and neither do I when I don’t have guests. It is very usual to eat just antipasti and primo, or primo and secondo, or antipasti and secondo. Any of these could be followed by a dessert. It is also an option to have换粘（cheese) before or instead of dessert. Watch out when ordering a 4-course à la carte meal in an Italian restaurant if you don’t have a huge appetite, because portion sizes are not always appropriate for eating all 4 courses. It is often possible to order a half portion of a primo. In fancy restaurants amenù degustazioneis served of six or more servings (portate）。Then they always stick to the order of antipasti-primi-secondi-dolci, but there could be multiple antipasti, multiple primi, multiple secondi and multiple dolci. Portion sizes are usually adjusted.