Bruschetta di Ricotta
Many different cuisines do “simple” well. I think it’s because of how regional “cuisines” began in the first place. It was about feeding your family – from milking a cow, killing a chicken, to picking ripe tomatoes and lemons. It’s about what grew and what you raised.
But today in the wide world of all things culinary, it’s become a little more fancy. We’re responsible for this, really. I mean, from my computer at home, I can now order just about any ingredient that 20 years ago I’m not sure I’d ever see in person.
And our demands for more upscale and modern meals at restaurants these days are relentless! There is more and more pressure on chefs to outperform even themselves. Maybe it’s good to keep the chefs on their toes, but as a result, I feel food has gotten a little complicated.
An appetizer, for example, that is built up like a tower 6″ tall, with no way of eating it politely. Or a beautiful piece of fish that has 8 different kinds of sauces drizzled artistically around it. Fun, but a little too much for me. In fact, I think of this example, because when my husband and I would go to Hawaii, I would ask for the fish to simply be grilled or pan fried, and for all of the accessory items to be omitted. This seemed to always take a lot of instruction, like they really didn’t believe my request. But I just wanted to taste the fish. I don’t get just-out-of-the-ocean fish where I live.
Of course, a lot of this has to do with trends, like how foam is so popular now. But for me, I just want the best quality food, made from the freshest of ingredients, simply prepared. I don’t care if it’s a meal in my home, at a fine dining establishment, or in a little hole-in-the-wall pub.
Simplicity. And I honestly think the Italians do it best. Something divine, yet made with only a few ingredients, like the hors d’oeuvres I’m offering in this post. Simple grilled breads topped with ricotta and baked. Sure, there’s a little salt, pepper, and olive oil, but that’s it. Simple perfection.
This recipe is quite common, and there are many ways to make it, but I’m inspired by this book by Lorenza de Medici, called Antipasti. It’s an old book, but I just checked and it still can be purchased on Amazon.
This recipe is adapted from the book above, to serve only two people.
Bruschetta di Ricotta
1 small loaf French or Italian bread
5 ounces ricotta cheese, well drained, whole-milk only
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan or Asiago or Romano
Fresh thyme leaves, optional
Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees F. Slice the bread approximately 1/4″ thick, and place the slices on a baking sheet. Brush some olive oil over one side of the slices. Toast the bread slices in the oven until they are lightly golden.
Meanwhile, place the ricotta cheese in a small bowl Add the egg.
Stir the ricotta and egg well, using a whisk if necessary. Ms. de Medici also includes the olive oil with the ricotta-egg mixture, but I left it out to drizzle over the crostini later. Then stir in the grated cheese.
When the bread has toasted, place a teaspoon or two of the ricotta-egg mixture on top of each crostini, then return the cookie sheet to the oven. Bake for about 15 minutes more.
The ricotta should be slightly yellowed and firm. Let them cool a little.
Sprinkle the crostini with a little salt and lots of freshly cracked pepper.
Drizzle the olive oil on the top, and then sprinkle with thyme leaves, if you’re using them.
The bruschetta are also good at room temperature.
I’m also offering a sweet twist of these crostini on Monday, so stay tuned!
note: Just think of all of the variations possible with these bruschetta! You could add fresh or roasted garlic, lots of herbs or a little pesto, bits of things like sun-dried tomato… So simple.
Great post. I agree with you absolutely about simplicity. It’s why I love Italian food so much.
Perfect post, culinary wisdom in its essence!
Thank you Sally!
sounds very good, and I love the pictures!
Thanks so much!
Simplicity is the first ingredient, I agree. And, as you said, we, Italians, know it well! Ciao Ostriche
I really think Italians are the best at it!
When I visited Puglia a few years ago, we experienced the most wonderful dishes, simply prepared. I love simplicity- good ingredients, good appetites, good experience.
I do too! And of course, I’ve never had a bad dish anywhere in Italy! Not surprising!
Simple but delicious…that’s what I try to achieve in my house. This looks perfect for 2!
Exactly. I do the same, with the best possible ingredients.
Simply scrumptious. Your first photo of the beautiful dish is amazing, Mimi!
Great photos that really bring the food alive! I want to eat your bruschetta now!
Hahaha! Thank you!
Completely agree that the Italians have simplicity nailed. Probably why we find ourselves turning to Tuscan techniques most weeknights. Thanks for the great post.
You are so welcome!
Great idea! I can see this becoming a week night dinner along with soup or pasta. Agree simple (and seasonal) can be the best. Thanks!
Simple AND seasonal – yes!
Simply Beautiful. Simply Delicious. Love this. <3
Thank you. Here’s to simple!
These are perfect for happy hour tonight, Mimi! and the best part is I have all the ingredients here! Thanks!
I also agree completely with this approach to food and cooking. I do like food to be beautiful (like clothes), but also to not overpower the ingredients themselves, just as we don’t want our clothes to outshine us.
Beautifully written! Is your yarn on sale yet? I was just thinking about it yesterday…
Yes, many of the yarns I’ve dyed so far are now for sale (some are already sold out!). You can see them here: http://www.etsy.com/shop/Knittique, in the New! section. Thanks for asking! And let me know if you have color and/or fiber preferences that you’re not seeing. I’ll be starting on plant fibers (cotton, bamboo, etcetera.) this month.
They’re beautiful! I’ll plan a project.
I love simple and love bruschetta, this looks wonderful. Sometimes food can be so overdone, you lose the natural flavor and goodness.
Isn’t that true? The 80’s were the worst for me personally, on the overdone-ness of food served at restaurants. I think it was called nouvelle cuisine. blah.
I agree completely and although I don’t watch tv, I do catch a glimpse hear and there of these food shows…talk about excess, never mind the insulting drama! When I see some of these chefs put their heart and soul into something, then having some self appointed expert trash their efforts, I wonder why people do it.
I really do enjoy simple too and this looks great as is, but I also love your suggestion of adding garlic or other flavors.
Thank you Diane! There are definitely some scary cooking shows out there!
They must taste lovely!!
Well, they didn’t last long!
I don’t get the foam trend either. I love simple dishes as well. I’ll have fun with the complicated dishes but if I had to list my favourites they are all simple. And I love this idea of bake ricoctta.
I have dogs, and the foam on food reminds me of what my dogs regurgitate when they have allergies. So I will never get past that.
Thank you for your nice comment!
Now there is a visual!
sorry. it’s the same reason that i can’t ever eat yellow tomatoes again. let’s just say that I now have a dog-proof fence around my garden!
Don’t apologise. :). I have dogs too. They can be gross. LOL
This really talks to me – made ricotta pancakes the other week. Love ricotta. I’m the first one to sign .. simplicity is the best. I hated recipes with loads of ingredients and that takes hours to prepare – I lose interest half way through the dish.
This I will do … next time I have guests – I will let you know .. Have a lovey weekend.
You’ll definitely have to tell me what you think of the baked ricotta!
I sure will. Have a great weekend now. I’m going to play around with my new camera.
I totally agree with you! All those “accessories” are ,a lot of times, unnecessary. It takes away your attention from the food. It’s fun to look at though! ;)
Exactly! It can be very pretty, but then it’s art, not food!
simple and delicious! in ‘our’ attempt to make food cheaper, we have sacrificed flavor. I wish it were legal for my mom to send me fresh produce from her garden and tasty meat from the animals raised with love in rural Romania.
My mother, who grew up in France, says that all produce is so much larger here in the US, and from having been to markets in most all of the western European countries, I have to say it’s true. America just tries to make everything bigger, which makes everything tasteless as well.
Simplicity means clear, delicious flavours! Lovely post :D
Choc Chip Uru
Thank you Uru! Good luck with your university experience! I know you’ll do great!
It’s true that we have so many options at times I’m overwhelmed with too many choices. Simplicity is a good way to begin. I love these crostini. I made french bread this morning. I need to see if I have the other items close at hand. :-)
It also bothers me when there are too many choices on a menu! That’s overwhelming as well!
I also agree that simplicity is so important! Not only it makes us appreciate the REAL taste of each ingredient, but a simple recipe incites us to cook homemade meals and therefore avoid processed foods… At this moment, I look at your pictures and think that I HAVE to make this recipe, because it looks so good, fresh and easy to prepare :)
You’re absolutely right. These bruschetta are really easy, and so worth it!
Looks lovely. The simplest things are the best!
That’s most always the case, isn’t it?!!
Is agree. Simple is best and let’s fresh ingredients shine. Can’t wait until Monday.
Gorgeous photos of a gorgeous dish, Mimi! When ingredients are great tasting, there is no need to overcomplicate flavours – the raw ingredients in Italy (well, throughout Europe to be fair) taste so amazing that a simple tomato sauce can be a revelation. I completely understand why you would ask for your just-caught fish to be simply cooked with fuss or fanfare! Great post.
Thank you! I still just want fish plainly grilled. Even at home, if it’s good fish, that is! Thank you for your comment!
Have to agree with Shanna, that first photo is good – great lighting and DOF.
Unfortunately, some of the worst food I had when travelling several years ago was in both the South of France and North of Italy! Thankfully, when I got to Slovenia, and further east, the food got better.
That’s very interesting! And thank you for the compliment. I’ve been trying to be more patient whilst taking photos.
I am so with you about simplicity. For years I always thought that the longer the ingredient list, the better the recipe would be, but as time goes on, I am thinking differently. Your recipe looks perfectly delicious!
Thank you so much!
Perfect, perfect recipe! Yes, I agree with you. Sometimes simple is best and whilst I am enjoying the fact that I can be introduced to different ingredients simple via the internet, I too do not necessarily enjoy a “fish with eight different sauces”.
This looks really delicious Mimi. So simple yet so flavorful!
Thank you so much!
Beautiful photos! Sometimes simplicity really is best. This looks delicious.
Going backwards through all posts here. First your bagel and now this – I love them both. Good bread and good cheese are an unbeatable combination. Simplicity is my modus operandi in the kitchen and I’ll be making these before the week is out.
Somehow Mimi you had dropped off my following list, but you back now, hopefully. I strongly agree with everything you say about simplicity and over worked dishes and lengthy menus. Personally I think molecular gastronomy is all about wow factor and nothing to do with nourishment of the body or soul!
No, it’s all for show. But I personally don’t want to see it – especially when they put foam on the plate. Uck!