Antipasto means “before the meal” and is the traditional first course of a formal Italian meal. It varies with individual taste.

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Auntie Mary’s Antipasto with Mosserella & Basil topped Tomatoes.

1 can tuna, packed in oil

1 clove garlic, minced finely

1 tbsp. olive oil

1 – 8 oz. can tomato sauce

2 oz. water

1 jar Gardinara Pickled vegetables (Not the Hot variety)

1 jar or can whole mushrooms

1 small jar dill pickle rounds

1 – 2 jars marinated artichoke hearts

1 sm. jar cocktail onions

1 jar pimento green olives, sliced in rounds



Salami or other favorite meats and cheeses.

Sour dough french bread


Sliced Mozzerella

fresh basil

Balsamic vinegar and olive oil

Drain all vegetables and rinse in colander, draining mushrooms separately and saving juice from pickled vegetables. Drain tuna and leave in can, set aside. In a saucepan, boil the mushrooms in the pickled vegetable juice for about 5 -7 minutes to enrich flavor, then drain. In a heavy frying pan over medium heat, saute minced garlic in olive oil. When golden, (Don’t burn the garlic) add tomato sauce and 1/4 can water. Let sauce cook 2-3 minutes to cook it down so it is not too juicy. Leave some juice though. You don’t want it dry. Stir in all the vegetables.  Stir, cover and cook over medium heat 3 – 4 minutes. Push the vegetables aside and drop tuna in a corner of the pan. Spoon juice over the tuna and simmer a couple of minutes more. Now choose a pretty platter with sides to contain the juicy mixture. With a spatula, scoop the tuna mound into the center  of the platter, leaving tuna whole. Spoon more juice over tuna. Arrange vegetables with sliced carrots around the tuna, like a “fence” or as Mary says, “Dress it up any way you like” . Make 1 – 2 days ahead; cover tightly and chill.


Serve cold with salami and cheese or other meats along with sour dough french bread and any other appetizers your family enjoys.  Mary likes to  serve it with fresh tomatoes prepared this way: Slice tomatoes 1/4 in thick and arrange them on a platter. Place a slice of mozzerella cheese and a basil leaf on top of each tomato.  Just before serving put a tiny bit of olive olive and a tiny stream of balsamic vinegar across the tops.

Mary cautions, “Don’t let them eat too much or they won’t eat your meal.”