Lekker: Tomato Basil Bruschetta

Ciao tutti!

Long time, no chat! It's been a busy two months since I last posted, because of Christmas, New year's, and then--moving to Rome, Italy, for five months as part of a study abroad program at my university.


I started a separate blog to detail these study-abroad adventures called A Broad Travelling, so feel free to go check that out to see what I've been up to. Given that I'm in arguably the world's most amazing country for food, suffice to say I've been eating my equivalent body weight in pasta, pizza, Nutella, gelato, and wine.

Cooking, however, has been a MONUMENTAL challenge. I'm living on campus in a dorm, with no cafeteria and only two regular-sized kitchens (one standard fridge, one small oven, and three oven burners per kitchen) intended to serve the cooking needs of over 140 students. It's frustrating and I miss cooking terribly, but we're doing our best to make it work.

Last week, blessedly, I had the chance to take an actual cooking class here in Rome at the elbow of a true Italian chef, focused on locally sourced and seasonal, sustainable food. (I blathered about it here, with tons more photos.)  I KNOW, THIS IS MY LIFE NOW GUYS. Fortunately for YOU, I have permission to share all those delicious recipes with you here! Thanks, Chef Andrea!

First up is my recipe for some simple, delicious Tomato Basil Bruschetta that I dreamed up years ago--and was thrilled to find out is also Chef Andrea's recipe. It's super simple and can be done largely in advance so you really have no excuse. Buon appetito!

Here, pictured next to a second kind of bruschetta that will also be coming up on the blog in the next few days!

Tomato Basil Bruschetta (a/k/a Bruschetta al Pomodoro e Basilico)
serves 4

What You Need
8 slices think white Italian bread, or any other kind that can answer the call to be bruschetta
4 large Roma tomatoes (though we used round tomatoes on the vine, here called 'Pomodori Colonna')
10-12 leaves fresh basil, roughly torn
1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed into a few big rough pieces
2 additional large cloves garlic, sliced in half lengthways
4 T cold pressed extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling (since this is a raw dish that involves marinating, it's REALLY important to use a high quality olive oil)
salt and pepper, to taste

What You Do
1. Roughly chop the tomatoes into a small dice (don't worry about removing skin or seeds) and combine in a small bowl with the torn basil leaves, crushed garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper. Toss to combine and leave to marinate out on the counter for at least 30 minutes and up to several hours.

2. Grill the slices of bread on your stovetop (or in your oven, or in your toaster) until lightly golden brown and possibly charred in a few spots. You want it to get nice and crispy and dry.

3. Rub one side of each slice of bread with half a clove of raw garlic, just lightly. Then drizzle each slice of bread with a tiny bit of olive oil.

4. When you're ready to serve, simply compile your tomato-basil topping on top of each slice of toast, and serve. You can fish out the chunks of garlic if you have extra-sensitive guests, but I personally LOVE the spicy kick of garlic so I leave it in. I don't care to kiss anyone that can't get down with garlic, anyway.

Posted on February 11, 2015 .