Actually, the true Italian word is "antipasto," not "antipasta." Pasto means meal, and antipasti (plural) are considered hors d'oeuvres, coming before the meal, which may have pasta as a "primo piatto" (first course) or not.
That being said, the best ones I've eaten here in the US (and in Italy, where some restaurants will have a "self-service" set up for the antipasti alone) involved a number of the items mentioned above, including (depending on the season) eggplant, zucchini, etc. cooked in olive oil and served cold, and if I was lucky, a selection of delicious rice croquettes with a cheese and/or meat filling.
Marinated artichokes seem to be the norm here in the US, but in Rome, I would see frequently fresh artichokes lightly batter fried (carciofi alla romana); I style I prefer to the marinated ones.
post edited by tacchino - 2009/11/29 01:59:14