Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Tomato Bruschetta with Ricotta and Basil

Okay folks, I've found it: this is literally the best appetizer recipe you will ever find, and thus the only one you will ever need (slight exaggeration but not really).  If you like bruschetta (and who doesn't?), this is the greatest bruschetta ever (no exaggeration there).

Alright, I need to calm down, but that is how excited I am about this tomato bruschetta with ricotta and basil.  Easy to make, beautiful, and absolutely delicious: these little guys are honestly such a great accompaniment to any Italian meal.  I made a double batch of them one night when we had a bunch of aunts and uncles and my grandmother over to visit, along with some pasta and bread (recipes to follow!) and they were such a hit.  Betsy said she didn't remember the last time she ate something that good.  And every single one was devoured!

Really they're that good.  The thin layer of whipped ricotta just tastes so amazing and creamy, it's hard to believe it is only made from ricotta, salt, pepper, and olive oil.  The tomatoes are salty and fresh and juicy, but the ricotta prevents them from getting the bread soggy.  No one could believe that there was actually no garlic in them; they are so garlicky, but that's only because you rub each toast slice with a garlic clove!  Add the chopped basil on top and... well my mouth is watering.  Just make these, soon, and you won't be sorry.

One last note - I left out the red wine vinegar and the 3 tablespoons olive oil from the tomatoes, solely by accident, but I thought they were so perfect, I find it hard to imagine them tasting any better with the vinegar.


tomato bruschetta with ricotta and basil
yield 12 toasts

1 pint grape tomatoes, quartered
salt and pepper
1/4 teaspoon sugar
7 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 loaf ciabatta bread, sliced crosswise into 12 1/2-inch-thick pieces (I bought pre-sliced at Price Chopper!)
1 garlic clove, peeled and halved
1 1/2 cups whole milk ricotta cheese
3 tablespoons chopped basil

1) Combine tomatoes, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and sugar in a bowl and let sit for 30 minutes.  Transfer tomatoes to a fine mesh strainer and allow to drain.  Return tomatoes to bowl along with 3 tablespoons oil, vinegar, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; toss to combine.

2) Adjust oven rack to about 4 inches from heating element and heat broiler; broil bread slices until golden brown on both sides (or just pop them in the toaster if you're lazy like me!).  Brush both sides of each with oil (I didn't) and rub with garlic clove.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

3) In the food processor, puree ricotta, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper until smooth, about 1 minute.  With processor running, slowly add remaining 3 tablespoons oil until incorporated.  Spread ricotta mixture evenly on toast slices.  Top toasts with tomato mixture and sprinkle with basil.  Serve.

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