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Buon Appetito: Italian-Themed Special Event Catering Ideas

 Special Event
If you're planning a special event and are looking for one type of cuisine that will appeal to a wide range of people, you can't go wrong with Italian. From mouth-watering appetizers to rich, flavorful entrees, you're sure to please everyone on your guest list with Italian food.
An Italian-themed menu will work well for almost any type of special event, such as kids' or adults' birthday celebrations, large family holiday parties, intimate gatherings, anniversary soirees, and bridal and baby showers.
No matter what time of day the event is held, Italian cuisine will keep your friends and family members satisfied. Another benefit of serving Italian cuisine at a party is that there are plenty of traditional meaty, vegetarian, and even vegan options available to accommodate different dietary preferences.
When planning the catering menu, consider whether you want to serve the dishes individually or buffet-style, and then choose the appropriate dishes. Some entrees, such as pasta dishes, will work well for either type of setup. Having your special event catered will free you up to handle other party-planning tasks, and keep you from spending too much time in the kitchen.
The following are some delicious, Italian-themed menu ideas to consider for your next celebration.



When you're serving a large number of people, individual meatballs make ideal appetizers that guests can easily eat while standing or sitting and while socializing. Serve them along with a zesty marinara sauce for the perfect bite before lunch or dinner.
Meatballs are also easy to keep warm in a chafing dish, so partygoers can help themselves to as many as they want throughout the event.


Another easy-to-eat pre-meal snack is bruschetta, which will also appeal to both vegetarians and vegans. Bruschetta is prepared by topping toasted Italian bread slices with olive oil, chopped tomatoes, and fresh garlic, basil, and oregano. It can also be served with mozzarella or Parmesan cheese for a richer flavor.

Shrimp Cocktail

One way to instantly elevate your dinner party to the next level is by treating your guests to shrimp cocktail. This gourmet appetizer can be served in individual cups, complete with jumbo boiled shrimp, homemade cocktail sauce, and a lemon wedge. Shrimp cocktail appetizers are especially appropriate for elegant affairs, such as wedding receptions, New Year's Eve parties, or 50th-anniversary celebrations.

Calamari Fritti

If you really want to get your guests' mouths watering in anticipation of the main courses, serve crispy calamari fritter, which is fried squid. This classic Italian starter is traditionally accompanied by cocktail sauce, marinara sauce, or both. This fried appetizer is ideal for when you want to put a something a bit decadent on the menu.

Main Courses


If you prefer to serve your main courses buffet-style, you can order cheesy lasagna by the half or full pan, depending on how many guests you are expecting to feed. You can also order half-meat and half-vegetarian lasagnas for variety.
Lasagna is an ideal menu item when you've invited both adults and children because the classic comfort food will appeal to guests of all ages.

Various Pasta Dishes

There is a wide variety of pasta dishes that you can easily serve buffet-style in chafing pans so that guests can choose their own. Some favorites include spaghetti with marinara or meat sauce, meat- or cheese-filled ravioli, and rich and creamy fettuccine Alfredo.



End the event on a sweet note with small cannoli, which features crispy, fried dough filled with a sweet ricotta cheese mixture. They can be served plain or sprinkled with chocolate chips or other small treats, depending on your preference.

Fresh Fruit

For a lighter dessert after a filling dinner, fresh fruit is a good option. Serve seasonal fruit cut in small, bite-sized pieces for the best taste and presentation.