10 Authentic Italian Buffet Ideas for Catering Events


When it comes to hosting a buffet at an event, you want to make sure you have delicious options that will please everyone. An Italian buffet is always a great catering event idea. These dishes offer a wide variety of options, making it a smart go-to to feed a hungry crowd.

From antipasti to main course options like white lasagna and gourmet mushroom risotto, you can really branch out with creative Italian buffet ideas. In this extensive menu, there is something on offer for everyone. Plus, don’t forget the yummy desserts from Italy! You can’t go wrong with a classic tiramisu to satisfy everyone’s sweet tooth.

If you are planning a special event in the future, you can work with a catering company to design the perfect Italian buffet. Try out these ten delicious Italian buffet ideas in your menu!

Buffet Idea #1: Spaghetti Carbonara Arancini

For this Italian buffet idea, you’ll find chopped spaghetti bound in cheese, ham, and cream. These ingredients are rolled in breadcrumbs and then deep-fried. You can really play around with this dish and use different ingredients to spice things up.

This appetizer can be made with any pasta. If you love cheese, it can even be stuffed with mozzarella. Who wouldn’t love to indulge in one (or two or three) of these?

Buffet Idea #2: Grilled Vegetable Antipasti

If you’ve been to a wedding recently, chances are they offered antipasti as a first-course option. Antipasti can be tweaked and tailored to your liking, making it a great versatile option for events of all kinds. What is typically offered in an antipasti includes cured meats, mushrooms, olives, artichoke hearts, and vegetables in oil or vinegar.

For grilled vegetable antipasti, grilled vegetables are served with focaccia, cured meats, and olives. This spread is sure to impress even the pickiest of guests.

Buffet Idea #3: Garlic Bread

Garlic bread is a must for any Italian buffet. This is made by combining whole garlic bulbs with olive oil, and then roasting it in the oven. Once done, it’s spread over warm French bread and served.

You’ll want to make sure you have ample amounts of garlic bread at your buffet since it’s a popular option that will be sure to go fast.

Buffet Idea #4: Cucumber Salad

If you’re having a summer event, serve a fresh cucumber salad as an appetizer or side to the main course. Since cucumbers are 96% water, this salad will refresh your guests, especially if you had an outside event.

Typically, cucumbers are tossed in a vinegar and sugar mixture. Although this is a simple Italian buffet idea, it’s one that you can’t go wrong with.

Buffet Idea #5: White Lasagna

What is white lasagna you ask? Made without tomato sauce, this dish consists of porcini, pancetta, minced veal, lasagna noodles, and a variety of spices. Even without tomato sauce, this dish still packs a lot of punch with its savoury flavour.

Guests may never have enjoyed a white lasagna before, so this a great option if you’re looking to introduce your guests to new dishes.

Buffet Idea #6: Casarecce with Raw Tomato Sauce

It’s always a good idea to offer a vegan option or two. Casarecce originated in Sicily and are short twists of pasta that look rolled up on themselves. This simple yet delicious pasta option is combined with cherry tomatoes, spring onions, olive oil, red wine vinegar, and Tabasco.

Buffet Idea #7: Gourmet Mushroom Risotto

An authentic Italian risotto compliments any buffet nicely. A great thing about risotto is that it’s so versatile, meaning you can choose from many different risotto options.

One risotto that’s a huge crowd-pleaser is this gourmet mushroom risotto recipe. It’s made with arborio rice, portobello mushrooms, white mushrooms, shallots, and parmesan cheese. It’s also made without meat, so it will appeal to any vegetarians that might be on your guest list.

Buffet Idea #8: Pizza Station

When you think of Italian food, pizza is probably one of the dishes that come to mind. Have fun with this and offer your guests a pizza station. Here is where you can play around with different topping options.

Some ideas include mac and cheese pizza, tex-mex pizza, ham, egg, and cheese breakfast pizza, and swiss chard, sausage, and mozzarella pizza.

Buffet Idea #9: Tiramisu

What’s an Italian buffet without a signature tiramisu? This classic dessert is made from ladyfingers dipped in coffee and a whipped mixture consisting of eggs, sugar, and mascarpone cheese. The mixture is also flavoured with cocoa. Is your mouth watering yet?

Buffet Idea #10: Oranges in Marsala

This dish is simple but very satisfying. Navel oranges are combined with sugar and Marsala wine. The sugar is cooked in a saucepan. Once it melts, it turns into a deep golden caramel.

Once the caramel is made, juice from the oranges along with the wine is combined into the caramel mixture. It’s then spooned over orange slices to make for one delicious dessert.

This list is sure to inspire some classic, creative, and fun Italian buffet ideas. Have fun with these ideas and customize the different options to suit your tastes and what you think your guests will enjoy.