The air is crisp, the leaves are falling, and you know what that means: The charm of autumn is upon us.
Fall weddings are all about embracing the season’s bounty, and what better way to do that than with a delicious spread of fall-inspired dishes? At Il Tulipano, our in-house cuisine boasts some of the finest wedding venue food. In fact, we began as a top Italian restaurant in New Jersey! So, of course, we couldn’t resist sharing our favorite autumn wedding menu recommendations with that beautiful Italian twist.
What Do Italians Eat in the Fall?
Before we get into the dishes themselves, let’s cover the key elements of an authentic Italian menu in the fall. As the temperatures cool and the leaves turn golden, Italians embrace a diverse range of ingredients and dishes.
First up is the abundance of earthy vegetables. Mushrooms—including porcini, chanterelles, and truffles—start to find their way even more frequently into hearty risottos and pasta dishes. Squash, particularly butternut and pumpkin, becomes the star of the show in creamy soups, ravioli fillings, and roasted side dishes.
Then we have fruit. Olive oil slides in to take on a more substantial role, from being drizzled over roasted vegetables to being a major ingredient in comforting olive oil cakes. Meanwhile, as grapes ripen on the vines, Italian vineyards come alive with the harvest, producing some of the world’s finest wines, perfect for sipping alongside seasonal dishes. The cuisine leans toward heartier fare, featuring slow-cooked meats like osso buco and rustic bread paired with regional cheeses (which we’ll cover later).
Essentially, Italian autumn dishes pay tribute to the turn of the season and the changing of the landscape. They are also a reflection of Italy’s deep-rooted traditions and a testament to the country’s ability to make each season’s ingredients sing with flavor and authenticity.
11 Italian Drinks and Dishes For Your Fall Wedding Menu
This is a classic Milanese entree of veal shanks slow-braised in a savory tomato and white wine sauce. Because it is so hearty, it’s ideal for cooler fall weather. Serve it over an autumn-themed polenta infused with butternut squash and sage brown butter. Traditionally, osso buco is complemented with a rich, sweet and fruity Barolo red wine from Northern Italy.
Seasonal minestrone soup
Embrace the flavors of fall with a warming, nourishing, fall-themed minestrone soup as your appetizer course. Take inspiration from this Jamie Oliver recipe which includes smoked pancetta, pasta, cannellini beans, bay leaf, plum tomato, courgettes, potato, fennel, basil, garlic, chicken stock, and a splash of red wine. Expert tip: Serve it alongside warm focaccia bread.
Egg yolk ravioli with truffle and Parmesan
If you’re planning an Italian-themed fall wedding, then you might want to consider this delicious truffle and Parmesam ravioli as either a traditional Italian ‘primo’ (pre-entree) course or as a ‘secondo’ (entree). And what says “comfort food” more than the delicious combination of pungy truffle with nutty Italian cheese?
Wild mushroom and truffle risotto
Another one for the mushroom lovers. A creamy risotto made with a variety of wild mushrooms like porcini, chanterelles, or shiitakes is a perfect way to infuse Italian and autumnal flavors into a wedding dish. The earthiness of the mushrooms will pair beautifully with the richness of the risotto. Throw in Italian truffles (tartufo) and it’s a next-level experience.
Orchard-inspired Italian salad
Your typical Italian salad will usually include romaine lettuce, cherry tomatoes, pepperoncini, black olives, red onions, croutons, and Parmesan cheese, tossed in an Italian dressing or red wine vinegar. To add a touch of autumn to this tasty combination, why not throw in sliced apples or pears, chestnuts, and sweet and nutty Fontal cheese from Northern Italy? Depending on the kind of wedding you’re planning, you could even serve all of these ingredients separately at an Italian-themed salad bar.
To accompany your courses, make sure that your fall wedding tables are laden with freshly baked artisan bread in rustic baskets, accompanied by whipped honey butter. Your guests will appreciate the warm, comforting aroma and the opportunity to tuck into tasty carbs. Italian bread choices include focaccia, ciabatta, coppia ferrarese, pagnotta, and pane di altamura.
Spiced wine and cocktails
Get your fall celebration started with seasonal cocktails, Italian style! Treat your guests to The Godfather—a mixture of whiskey and amaretto that will warm them up on the chilliest of evenings. Another Italian classic is spiced red wine with lemon, cloves, lemons, and sugar. Serve in goblets or crystal glasses for an extra decadent feel.
Arancini, stuffed mushrooms, and meatballs
You’ll want to serve a selection of delicious nibbles to accompany your cocktails. Fill platters with stuffed garlic mushrooms, butternut squash, mozzarella & sage arancini (rice balls), and apple cider-glazed mini Italian meatballs. And don’t forget fresh, sweet figs wrapped in salty prosciutto and drizzled with balsamic reduction. Bellissimo.
Sure, pizza might not be an obvious choice for your sit-down meal, but it would be ideal to include in an Italian-themed buffet or even served as smaller bite-sized nibbles. A terrific fall-inspired choice would be pumpkin pizza with pancetta, gruyère, and caramelized onions.
For dessert, give the classic Italian tiramisu an unexpected fall twist with layers of spiced apple compote or apple slices soaked in either Grappa (Italian brandy) or amaretto.
To complete your meal, offer your guests a classic Italian liqueur coffee. One choice is caffè corretto: a shot of espresso with either Grappa or sambuca, plus a splash of espresso liqueur, topped with whipped cream and flaked, toasted almonds. Another option is classic caffè amaretto, which is coffee with a splash of Amaretto liqueur. Just make sure that you choose an Italian coffee brand like Illy and serve it with real Italian chocolates (Modico would be a good choice).
Ready For a Feast on Your Big Day?
We hope that our list of Italian-inspired autumn wedding food ideas has given you inspiration. We look forward to welcoming you to Il Tulipano, where our award-winning chefs prepare authentic Italian cuisine with the freshest ingredients. In other words – this won’t be a wedding venue where people complain about the food.
Our iconic space has also just had a makeover and has been praised by New Jersey Bride, The Knot, and Wedding Wire. The Il Tulipano team will treat you like family, so get in touch with us today and let’s plan that dream menu.
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