Even if you don't know how to say hello and goodbye in Italian, I'll bet you know that antipasto is Italian for the fabulous stuff that's served as a first course in Italy and in Italian restaurants of every size, shape and origin around the world. And, because it's such an appealing way to start a meal, lots of us serve our own version at home slices of salami, olives, a nice hunk of Italian cheese, all picked up at the store. If you want to elevate this shop-and-serve variety, or if you'd like to create fabulous hot and cold starters that tease the appetite or become a meal in themselves, just open up Joyce Goldstein's pleasingly designed Antipasti. These little wonders can be made with myriad ingredients: eggs become the basis for an asparagus frittata; parmesan cheese flavors crunchy crackers; a crisp polenta cake can be topped with greens or sautŽed mushrooms, voluptuous gorgonzola custards with sliced pears; eggplants get stuffed or turned into caponata; shrimp combine with pea purŽe or tart grapefruit; chicken marinates in olive oil. Pick and choose from this marvelous medley or give in graciously and make them all.

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