A few days ago, The Mom mentioned bruschetta. Instantly, I thought of my trip to Italy. After a few days in Rome, the second leg of the trip took my friend and me to Sienna for a few days. During our stay in Sienna, we decided to visit Monteriggioni, a walled town on a hill surrounded by vineyards (this is Chianti country, kids!). I had read about Monteriggioni's historical significance before we left on our trip, and I was very intrigued, and we agreed to give it a shot. Since this post isn't a history lesson or travel guide, I'll leave it to you to read more about it on your own. :)

 This post is about bruschetta...a wonderfully simply dish I first experienced inside the walls of Monteriggioni - half the plate was made with tomatoes, and the other half was made with cannellini beans. (This was also the first time I had a sip of Chianti, and I've been hooked ever since! Talk about a great day!!) Since that day, every time I order bruschetta, it has to live up to what I ate so many years ago. I have yet to have anything off a restaurant menu that even comes close, so today, I finally decided to recreate it myself.

Today's lunch using yellow cherry tomatoes left from last week...so yummy!
For me, this dish is about simplicity and quality ingredients. Fresh tomatoes are of utmost importance here. I cannot stress that enough. I think commercially-grown tomatoes taste like wax, so I suggest buying locally-grown tomatoes since they will give you the best flavor. Also, fresh basil is a must! The dried stuff just doesn't pack the same flavor punch. You can find this in most grocery store produce departments, but it usually looks pretty sad, in my opinion. I strongly suggest going to the garden store and buying a plant you can grow and harvest yourself. It's not difficult to grow, and you can use it in a variety of dishes.

I've seen a lot of recipes floating around on the internet that use everything from various cheeses to balsamic vinegar. I, personally, don't think any of this is necessary. Let the tomatoes and basil shine...and trust me, with quality ingredients, they will!

So, at the Farmers' Market this morning, I found some glorious red and yellow cherry tomatoes and a lovely loaf of ciabatta bread.

Aren't they beautiful?!
At that point, I was on a mission! When I got home, I picked some fresh basil (my plants have recovered fairly well from their stint as a beetle buffet), and the rest is history.

I wish I could describe how amazing this smells!
Here's what I did:

Tomato Bruschetta
1 quart cherry tomatoes, washed and diced into 1/4" pieces
3-4 T fresh, chopped basil
olive oil
Kosher salt
black pepper, freshly ground

Naked diced tomatoes waiting to get get dressed in awesome-ness!
Combine the tomatoes and chopped basil in a medium bowl. Toss with enough olive oil to lightly coat the tomatoes, about 1-2 T. Add Kosher salt and pepper to taste (I like about 1 t Kosher salt and 5-6 turns of the pepper mill on a fine grind setting).

Serve on toasted slices of good Italian bread and drizzle with a bit more olive oil.

White Bean Bruschetta
1 can cannellini (white) beans, drained and rinsed
olive oil
Kosher salt
black pepper, freshly ground

In a small bowl, gently toss the beans in about 1 T olive oil. Add Kosher salt and pepper to taste (I like about 1 t Kosher salt and 5-6 turns of the pepper mill on a fine grind setting in this topping as well).
Serve on toasted slices of good Italian bread and drizzle with a bit more olive oil.

A few notes:

  • The longer these mixtures sit in the fridge, the better they taste!
  • I toast my sliced bread on my cast iron griddle. The goal is to get the bread pretty crunchy so it will hold up to the juice from the tomatoes and not collapse when you pick it up. You can do this in a dry skillet, the oven, or even the toaster...whatever is easiest.
  • Some people rub the freshly toasted bread with garlic cloves, but I'm a bit of a purist, and since that's not how I remember having it in Italy, that's not how I do it (though it can be a great addition to the dish).
Mangia Bene!


  1. The bruschetta that you whipped up for us ladies that one night was fabulous! Mmmm....now I'm craving it too. :) Yummmm...

    1. It's super simple! Cravings lead to making...did you try making it?

  2. Love it! Keep blogging, Sis!