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How to organize a perfect aperitif (and at home)


Aperitif

There's nothing better than an aperitif at home to spend time with friends. Here are ideas and recipes to organize it from cocktails to appetizers.

Why does everyone love an aperitif, have you wondered? The reasons are many and all very convincing: first of all it is a moment of conviviality , often informal, between relatives or friends. Then, you can taste many good things , all mouth-friendly, and finally it's an opportunity to try different dishes and combinations, all accompanied by drinks and beverages. But what is the history of the aperitif and how can we organize one at home, complete with cocktails? Let's find out together!

Apericena: meaning and birth of a phenomenon

The apericena is a phenomenon born in Northern Italy and soon spread to the rest of the boot. It was early 2010 when the neologism was coined from the union of two words, aperitif and dinner , and since then the aperitif has never lost its charm among young and old. Taking a look at its history, however, we discover that the first to conceive this new meal were the people of Turin in the distant 90s. It was therefore necessary to wait some time before the phenomenon went viral.

However, this neologism, since its inception, has not ceased to cause discussion, to the point that various campaigns have been activated for its cancellation. Classified as a Macedonian word , it is viewed by some with horror and disdain, but then, in the end, it continues to be used, generating a sense of satisfaction only when pronouncing it.

The official definition, given by Treccani , is: “ Aperitif, served together with a rich series of appetizers and accompanied by samples of different dishes, savory and sweet, which can be consumed instead of dinner. ” In this regard, the Accademia della Crusca has also expressed itself, through its president, as regards the gender of the term, to be preferred as male.

Aperitif
Aperitif

How to organize an aperitif

Organizing an aperitif at home, both indoors and outdoors, is an excellent solution when you want to host many diners . In fact, you will get rid of the problem of having to study an entire menu whose courses do not conflict with each other as well as the need to have seats for everyone. In fact, by its nature, the aperitif must be able to be consumed standing up or in any case without needing a fixed position at the table.

Having organized the spaces with chairs, armchairs, sofas and loveseats but also cushions, it is necessary to think of the corner that will host the dishes. The ideal would be to use a table so that the diners can go around it, without creating queues and disturbing each other. In the case of small spaces, backsplashes will help you make the most of the space even in height.

Cutlery, glasses and napkins can give your aperitif an extra touch of class. Avoid plastic ones in favor of recyclable materials (like bamboo) or durable ones. For example, you can use the dessert plates of your service that are well suited for this purpose. Even for cutlery, napkins and glasses the situation does not change: prefer the traditional ones or, if you really can't, opt for objects that can be recycled in the wet fraction.

For practicality, we advise you to place food and drink in two different places . A separate table where you can place drinks or prepare cocktails will make everything easier.

After thinking about all this it's time to study what to serve. From cocktails to appetizers, we've thought of everything. All you have to do is choose what to cook, prepare the shopping list and then get to the stove. Choosing cold foods will free you from the hassle of having to prepare everything at the last moment, thus giving you time to organize yourself and not be too stressed when the guests arrive.

Cocktails for the aperitif

spritzer
spritzer

The cocktails will give your aperitif a touch of class . If you are not expert barmen, you can opt for the more classic combinations appreciated by all, such as the Spritz , also in the non-alcoholic version . White and red wines with relative glasses cannot be missing, or a carafe of iced sangria . Above all, however, women will appreciate the relatively new Hugo , while the Bloody Mary and Negroni will bring everyone together.

Green light also for soft drinks such as classic fruit juices and bottled aperitifs in the wake of the very famous Crodino.

Recipes for the aperitif

When you start studying the menu for the aperitif there are no particular aspects to pay attention to except that of practicality . As mentioned, whatever you decide to serve must be able to consume without having to be cut, preferably directly with your hands as is usually done with finger food .

Also check if among your guests there is someone who suffers from food intolerances or follows particular dietary regimes (for example vegetarian or vegan) and prepare something that makes them feel included. You don't necessarily have to change the whole menu, just dedicate a few options to it. Keep in mind that often people's curiosity will push them to try even "strange" dishes so don't worry: everyone will appreciate your efforts!

Then there are some snacks for the aperitif that don't even need to be prepared, such as chips in the bag, olives , obviously already cleaned dried fruit , and various types of pretzels that can be bought ready-made. These will give substance to your menu without putting too much effort into the preparation.

Organizing an event of this type could in fact prove challenging if you don't know how to organize yourself in time. An aperitif of quick recipes is what you need to please everyone and not overload yourself with work. A pan of pizza and one of focaccia , a savory pie with spinach and a pasta omelette or a traditional omelette are simple and quick preparations that simply need to be cut into slices before being served. Also excellent are the Russian salad and the more particular version of the capricciosa , the veal with tuna sauce and the prawn cocktail , bruschetta , croutons and canapés. In short: everything that crosses your mind can be included in your aperitif!

Small pizzas

Pizzas Of Puff Pastry
Pizzas Of Puff Pastry

Bringing an aperitif to the table with quick ideas is simpler than you can imagine. Simple puff pastry, for example, can give life to pizzas worthy of the oven and the beauty is that you won't have to knead anything! Choose the sauce you prefer but our advice is to stick to the classic with tomato and mozzarella, adding an olive or a piece of anchovy if anything.

Ingredients for 6 people:

  • 1 roll of puff pastry
  • 100 g of tomato puree
  • 80 g of mozzarella
  • Salt to taste
  • pepper as needed
  • extra virgin olive oil to taste
  • oregano to taste

Unroll the puff pastry and cut it into squares so as to eliminate the waste. Distribute a teaspoon of the sauce prepared by seasoning the sauce with oil, salt, pepper and oregano on each one, then complete with the diced mozzarella . Bake at 180°C for about 15 minutes then remove from the oven and serve hot or at room temperature. The puff pastry pizzas remain crumbly for about half a day.

Stuffed eggs

Stuffed eggs
Stuffed eggs

There are thousands of versions of stuffed eggs but the most famous one is based on tuna . Able to make everyone agree, it's simple to prepare for an aperitif and takes very little time. As if that weren't enough, you can also prepare them the day before and store them in the refrigerator to lighten your last-minute work.

Ingredients for 4 people:

  • 8 boiled eggs
  • 8 anchovies
  • 150 g of canned tuna
  • parsley to taste
  • pepper as needed
  • Salt to taste
  • butter to taste
  • lemon zest to taste

Cook the eggs in water for 8 minutes after boiling, then let them cool and peel them. Divide them in half lengthwise and gently remove the yolk which will be worked together with the anchovies, canned tuna, a sprig of chopped parsley and a knob of butter. Season with lemon zest, season with salt and pepper and use the mixture obtained to fill the eggs . Store them in the refrigerator until just before serving.

Vol au vent

vol au vent with fondue
vol au vent with fondue

The shells can be purchased ready-made, greatly simplifying the preparation and leaving you the time necessary to create various delicious fillings. We're talking about vol-au-vents , crumbly puff pastry baskets full of flavor that can be filled in many ways in the savory version. Here's how we prepare them with cheese fondue.

Ingredients for 4 people:

  • 12 vol au vent
  • 120ml of milk
  • 60 g of fontina
  • 60 g of taleggio
  • 15 g of butter
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • nutmeg to taste
  • 1 pinch of pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of 00 flour

We have underlined how aperitif and quick recipes are a fundamental combination so don't be ashamed to use ready-made vol au vents! Just prepare the cheese fondue by melting the butter in a saucepan together with the flour. Once you have obtained a hazelnut-colored roux , pour the milk, stirring with a whisk, then the diced cheese. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg and cook until the sauce thickens . Once cold, use it to fill your baskets.

arancini

Sicilian Arancini
Sicilian Arancini

The preparation of the arancini is not exactly immediate: you will have to cook the rice, prepare the filling, form the arancini and then fry them. The best way to speed up the recipe is to prepare them in advance and fry them at the last minute or at least throughout the day. You can then reheat them in the oven before serving: they will seem freshly made.

Ingredients for 4 people:

  • 300 g of Carnaroli rice
  • 1 packet of saffron
  • 40 g of butter
  • 60 g of grated cheese
  • 200 g of ground beef or pork
  • 1 white onion
  • 100 g of mozzarella
  • tomato purée to taste
  • 1/2 glass of white wine
  • extra virgin olive oil to taste
  • Salt to taste
  • pepper as needed
  • 2 eggs
  • breadcrumbs to taste
  • oil for frying to taste

First, boil the rice in salted water with the saffron, then drain it and mix it with the butter and cheese. Spread it out in a baking tray, cover with plastic wrap and leave to cool for an hour and a half. In the meantime, prepare the sauce starting with a sautéed oil and onion, then add the minced meat, pour in the wine and cover with the tomato puree. Cook for 20 minutes, adjusting with salt and pepper. Then spread a generous spoonful of rice on the moist palm of your hand, stuff with the ragù and diced mozzarella and close it into a ball. Pass the arancino first in the beaten egg then in the breadcrumbs then fry it by immersion until it is golden and crunchy. Serve it hot.

Salted muffins

Savory muffins with egg whites
Savory muffins with egg whites

Another recipe that can also be prepared a day in advance is that of savory muffins . Easy to customize according to your tastes, the recipe we propose is with cooked ham , one of the most universally appreciated ingredients.

Ingredients for 4 people:

  • 210 g of egg whites
  • 110ml of water
  • 80 ml of seed oil
  • 310 g of 00 flour
  • 150 g of diced cooked ham
  • 1 sachet of instant yeast for pizzas and savory pies
  • Salt to taste
  • black pepper to taste
  • chives to taste
  • 2 tablespoons of grated cheese

Whip the egg whites with an electric whisk, then incorporate the water, oil, sifted flour with baking powder and Parmesan in the following order. Season with the chopped chives, a pinch of salt and pepper and finally add the diced ham. Pour the batter into the cups, filling them 2/3 full and then cooking at 180°C for 40 minutes . Sauteed muffins are good both freshly made and at room temperature.

Zucchini rolls

rolls of zucchini and ham
rolls of zucchini and ham

Perfect because they can be prepared the day before without undergoing any changes in taste, zucchini rolls for aperitifs are a truly original and simple idea to enjoy.

Ingredients for 6 people:

  • 3 zucchini
  • 100 g of Greek yogurt
  • 100 g of cooked ham
  • extra virgin olive oil to taste
  • Salt to taste
  • dill to taste

Slice the courgettes not too thinly and grill them on a grill pan for a couple of minutes on each side. Once cold, place a strip of ham on each and spread a little Greek yoghurt flavored with dill, oil and salt. Roll up and secure with a toothpick.

Mozzarella in carriage

Mozzarella in carriage
Mozzarella in carriage

Who can resist two slices of fried bread that drip a mozzarella-based filling when cut? Practically none and that's why we also want to include mozzarella in a carriage among the ideas for the aperitif. You can prepare it at the moment if you have time or just before the guests arrive and keep it warm in the oven.

Ingredients for 6 people:

  • 12 slices of sandwich bread
  • 500 g of buffalo mozzarella
  • 5 eggs
  • 00 flour to taste
  • breadcrumbs to taste
  • Salt to taste
  • seed oil for frying to taste

Cut the mozzarella into slices and dab it with kitchen paper, then use it to stuff two slices of bread. Press well, remove the edges and then cut them into four squares. Dip them one by one in the flour, beaten eggs and breadcrumbs then leave to rest in the fridge for 30 minutes then repeat the breading in the egg and bread. Another 30 minutes in the fridge (even more if you want to cook them at the last moment but prepare them first) and then they are ready to be fried at 170°C until golden brown . Serve piping hot after having passed them on absorbent paper.

Potato chips

homemade potato chips
homemade potato chips

Excellent both fried and baked, potato chips are a valid alternative to bag potato chips. If well fried, they can also be prepared a little in advance so as to save you from the mess of cooking them at the last moment. Ready to discover the secrets to crispy potato chips like those in the bag?

Ingredients for 4 people:

  • 500 g of potatoes
  • extra sunflower oil to taste
  • salt up to taste

Peel the potatoes and with the help of a mandolin , slice them as thinly as possible . Pass them twice in very cold water to remove the starch and then dry them with a clean cloth. This step is essential to obtain crispy fries. Then fry them in oil at 160°C a few at a time and drain them as soon as they are crispy. Pass them on absorbent paper and serve.

Salty cream puffs

cream puffs with cheese
cream puffs with cheese

Also in this case the simplest way for a quick aperitif is to buy ready-made cream puffs which usually contain little or no sugar. They are the perfect base for creating savory cream puffs to be filled with ingredients of your choice, also chosen from the proposals made above such as Russian salad, capricciosa, veal with tuna sauce and prawn cocktail. But here are some more ideas.

Ingredients for 8 people:

  • 24 cream puffs
  • Grilled vegetables (peppers or aubergines or courgettes)
  • Goat
  • Ricotta
  • Dry tomatoes
  • Basil
  • Baked pumpkin
  • Gorgonzola

To make the three types of filling you will have to blend the vegetables with the capino, the ricotta with the dried tomatoes and basil, the pumpkin with the gorgonzola. Stuff them with the help of a pastry bag or simply cut them in half and, if you have any leftover filling, spread it on croutons or create canapés using white bread cut into small triangles.

Ricotta cheese balls

Ricotta cheese balls
Ricotta cheese balls

Perfect because they don't have to be cooked and are excellent to prepare even in advance , ricotta meatballs are excellent when eaten cold and right on the palate. Their fresh flavor and unique texture will sell them like hot cakes, so make plenty. A suggestion? Place a nice glass with some bread sticks next to it.

Ingredients for 4 people:

  • 250 g of cottage cheese
  • 50 g of grated parmesan
  • 50 g of grated pecorino
  • 1 bunch of basil
  • 1 organic lemon
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • sesame seeds to taste

Let the ricotta drain before mixing it with the two grated cheeses. Flavor the dough with the lemon zest, a pinch of salt and the chopped basil then leave it to rest in the refrigerator for half an hour. Form small balls, pass them in the sesame seeds and, as they are ready, place them on a plate. Store them in the refrigerator until serving.

The aperitif with the ideas we have left you will be truly amazing: have fun and be imaginative. Everyone will appreciate your effort!


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