Italian menu

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”。

Primo piatto

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 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.


18思想“Italian menu

  1. You continue to inspire – there is so much to learn about food and other cultures. My ears certainly perked up at the word “formaggio.” I noticed in your close that you generally don’t eat vegetables in your weeknight dinner – do you miss them? I love a crisp, green salad with a few other colors before a pasta dish…


    1. 哦,不,我们每天吃蔬菜!如果我们有居st a pasta dish on a week day, it will definitely include vegetables. In Italian this is called “piatto unico” (a meal consisting of the one dish). Having a primo and secondo on a weekday has actually become very common lately. The vegetables can then either be included in the primo (pasta) or the secondo (meat or fish), or sometimes both. Like the other day we had pasta with cavolo nero (similar to kale) followed by sous-vide rabbit with figs (well that’s a fruit but you get the idea).


      1. 啊,我看。可爱!你知道意大利美食。我喜欢这个primo和secondo的想法。在一侧而不是,无花果和羽衣甘蓝是我最喜欢的产品之一。特别是无花果。你们甚至在周末吃饭!


  2. Hello, i’m Cristina, an italian girl, i follow Shanna’s Blog and there was a link to yours! Compliments, i can say you really know a lot of italian foodstyle


  3. 我刚刚注意到这篇旧帖子。一种n excellent post as always.You make one mistake however, and it is one you hear a lot: It usually gets me shouting at the radio or tv Pasto is the Italian for “meal” not pasta, so antipasto or antipasti means “before the meal”

    喜欢1 person

    1. 虽然你绝对是一个语言观点,但我认为这是愚蠢的,而不是将Antipasti作为饭的一部分。我会看看我是否可以提出解决这个问题的好方法。谢谢!


      1. You are right, it is a bit illogical, but by that reasoning, if you eat a risotto or polenta, you can’t eat antipasti. Maybe it can be translated as before the main part of the meal?





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