World Palate Recipes – Bruschetta with Home Made Ricotta Cheese
Italy is a gastronome’s delight! Regional diversity in food, traditional recipes passed from one generation to another and the sauces and herbs that lend flavour to few basic ingredients are the essentials of Italian cuisine. Move over Italian pizza, pasta and cheese. The secret’s lie in the countryside, local village inns and AgriTurrisimo places that serve authentic local food.
After picking fruits in Valtellina, in northern Italy, Sondiro valley (Fruit trail) people suggested we must try Pizzocheri. Have you ever heard of it? Well, we sat down to dinner in a charming old Lombardian châteaux characterized by low ceiling and brick walls. Pizzocheri is a flat ribbon-pasta made fresh with buck-wheat flour, cubed potatoes, local Cazera cheese and liberal addition of green herbs. Yum… al dente pasta in a rich creamy sauce, was very filling!
Nearby Lateria, cheese mart stocked chunks of Cazera and other assorted regional cheese. There are about 400 different types of cheese with Mozzarella, Parmesan, Cazera being most popular.
Staple dishes in the north include semolina, durum flour, buckwheat flour and rice. Whereas, southern Italy is home to pasta in tomato sauce and variety of couscous and vegetable soups, influenced by Greek and Roman neighbours. Swiss and German desserts are popular in the north, but food is more robust and peppered with Arabic and Mediterranean influence in southern Italy. They use plenty of figs, olives, tomatoes, grapes and lemon.
Here is a recipe for a simple, hearty antipasto (appetizer) often served with a glass of wine.
Bruschetta, or brusketta is a grilled bread topped with plump summer tomatoes and rubbed with olive oil. The origins may lie in the fact that Roman olive growers roasted bread to sample along with freshly pressed olive oil, bread being staple diet.
I’ve made fresh home-made Ricotta cheese (Indian Paneer) for a protein filled antipasto.
Bruschetta with Home-Made Ricotta cheese
6-8 slices of multi grain bread or French baguette
1 big ripe Tomato
4-5 black olives
Olive oil as desired
1/2 cup Ricotta cheese ( from super market or home-made)
Salt, herbs as desired
2 raw garlic cloves
Few leaves of Thyme or Parsley for garnish
Chop the tomato very finely. Put aside in bowl, draining much of the juice away. Chop olives finely. Cut thick slices of baguette or other multi-grain bread diagonally. (I used oven fresh home-made by hubby:)
Pre heat oven to 250 degrees for 10 mins. Place the slices on oven tray. Lightly brush them with olive oil and toast them for 5-10 mins. till lightly browned edges. Remove from oven. Rub a raw garlic clove on the toasts.
Place toasted bread on a plate. Drizzle more olive oil. Garnish with chopped tomato, olives, herbs, salt and generous topping of Ricotta cheese. Decorate with thyme or parsley. Store extra cheese in airtight container in fridge for 4-5 days. Serve warm.
A perfect, healthy afternoon snack. But, eat like the Italians! Bruschetta served with a glass of red Italian wine.
Do leave your tips and comments if you make this recipe. What toppings did you choose?