Side Dishes/Appetizers

Tomato and Ricotta Crostini

Is there anything more delectable than a concoction that features ricotta, fresh basil, and tomatoes for starters?  The answer would be of course not! A few weeks ago I did my summer planting and got a couple of herbs including fresh basil. Last year I tried a different type of basil (the name escapes me at the moment) but it was one where the leaves were extremely small and the plant almost resembled more of a miniature bush. It smelled nice but when cooking with it, it wasn’t so great. So this year I returned to the more traditional basil, one where the leaves are nice and big and great to cut up and add to food.

One of the things I love most about Italian cooking is that where bread is concerned, there are countless ways to “transform it.” Bruschetta and crostini are my favorites, especially since both usually involve copious amounts of olive oil and tomatoes, two ingredients so quintessentially summer.

This recipe was ridiculously simple to make and would go great with a pasta dish (which is what I did) or even a light seafood/poultry/meat dish.

NOTE: The original recipe called for cut up olives which I omitted since I hate the taste of them. But feel free to add them in if desired 🙂


 Tomato and Ricotta Crostini

recipe via Lidia’s Commonsense Italian Cooking by Lidia Matticchio Bastianich and Tanya Bastianich Manuali

Serves 6

6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

6 large, thick slices of Italian-style bread

4 ripe medium tomatoes, diced (about 2 cups)

1/4 loosely packed cup fresh basil leaves, coarsely shredded

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 cup drained fresh ricotta

-Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Brush the bread with 3 tablespoons olive oil, and place on a rimmed baking sheet. In a medium bowl, toss together the tomatoes, basil, and salt. Drizzle with the remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil, and toss.

-Mound the tomato mixture evenly on each of the bread slices on the baking sheet, and top each with ricotta. Bake until the bread is toasted and the topping is warmed through, about 10-15 minutes. Serve hot.


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