Every region of Italy has its own version of antipasto, depending on local products that are readily available, and if the desired end result is a quick first course to a meal or if it’s preserving a huge batch to keep on hand for personal use and/or to share with extended family and friends. The antipasto recipe I use came via my Aunt D (her source unknown) who passed it on to my sister-in-law M who passed it on to me and generously provided hands-on training during my first attempt. Over the years I’ve made a number of adjustments to Aunt D’s and M’s recipe because I can never leave well enough alone. In any case, here’s the standard recipe, along with a variety of options. By all means, add your own …
Antipasto, Family Recipe
¼ pound butter
1 bottle catsup (family size)
1 quart olive oil
½ cup sugar
1 quart white vinegar
1 quart sweet pickles
1 quart or more canned mushrooms
1 quart string beans
1 quart celery
1 quart cauliflower
1 quart pearl onions
1 quart carrots (optional)
1 quart peppers
1 quart olives
1 quart anchovies
1 pint tomatoes
Other veggies to add or substitute: baby ears of corn, hearts of palm, hearts of artichokes, assorted varieties of mushrooms, olives, etc.
3 or more cans tuna (large family size)
2 cans sardines in tomato sauce (regular small size)
Blanche raw veggies
Drain all canned items (do not reserve liquid)
Cut all ingredients into small pieces (2 to 3 per tablespoon)
In a very large kettle add oil, vinegar, butter, catsup, and sugar. Heat.
When hot, add blanched veggies and all other ingredients. Bring to a simmering boil. Spoon into sterilized jars and seal. Should produce around 30 to 40 pints, depending on total ingredients. Although original recipe does not require cold-packing, I process sealed jars in boiling water for 20 minutes for added safety.
Allow to sit for at least 3 weeks before using. Eat with a fork or on top of bruschetta or crackers.