Living in Rome has taught me many things and stretched my brain as well as my emotions in ways I didn’t think was possible. One of the more beneficial things I have learned since moving to Italy is how to eat – and cook – like an Italian.
Let’s Start with the Basics
You may or may not be surprised to learn that Italian food is much more diverse and complex than just pizza and pasta. It also varies tremendously depending on the region or town.
Italians eat a very seasonal diet and hold strong to tradition. Many supermarkets only sell Italian sourced food and those that do sell imported goods charge outrageous fees.
This Italian pride and lack of variety has become a blessing in disguise for me.
First off, it’s less harmful for the environment – food is not shipped great distances, thus, less fuel is being used.
Second, it has taught me to get creative with ingredients – using the same ingredients to make a variety of tasty plates.
Third – it has made me truly appreciate the Italian mindset behind these foods – less is more. A four ingredient dish can, in fact, be delightful.
The word is actually pronounced “bruˈsketta“and originated in Central Italy (though the food itself can be found throughout the country, under less popular names – i.e. fettunta and crostino). The noun “Bruschetta” comes from a verb in the Roman dialect, “bruscare,” which meant “to roast over coals.”
It is made today by being heated in an oven or on the grill, rubbed with garlic, then topped with olive oil and salt.
My Bruschetta Recipe… a classic with a twist
Having any sort of variability in a classic recipe is enough to make any of my Italian friends cry. Let’s be honest, though. They would still, begrudgingly, eat and love this recipe.
Joel and I made this recipe together as part of a big Sunday dinner. It’s the perfect starter.
You will need…
- Italian bread
- Ricotta cheese
- Cherry Tomatoes
That’s all! Four ingredients. How simple and easy is that?!
You will also want to keep the following ingredients on hand to jazz it up:
- Olive Oil
- Basil (fresh or dried)
Optional: Balsamic vinegar.
Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit (that’s roughly 200 degrees Celcius). Cut the baguette into 1/2 inch slices. Brush each piece with olive oil on one side. Place the baguette slices on a baking rack, oiled side down. Make sure to put tray under the rack to catch crumbs.
Bake the bread slices for around 5 minutes. Italians would normally cook the bread for longer, but unless you LOVE croutons, I suggest taking your bread out after five minutes. Remove the baking sheet from your oven. Using a pair of tongs, flip each baguette slice over so the oiled side is facing up. Set aside.
Slice the cherry tomatoes into fourths and put in a bowl. Add a tablespoon of olive oil, a teaspoon of basil, a teaspoon of oregano, and a pinch of salt and pepper.
Assemble the bruschetta. Spread about 1- teaspoons of the ricotta onto each toasted baguette slice.
Then spread 1 teaspoon of pesto on top of the ricotta.
Top with tomatoes, then if you would like, balsamic vinegar.