Anne's Blog

BrusCHetta, Not “Brushetta,” Per Favore

Date: July 11, 2017 - categories: , , - 5 Comments

In the rural cuisine of Italy, the family bread, no longer fresh, won’t ever go to the chickens. Bread is sacred and will be used in a variety of tasty dishes. One is that summer salad, la panzanella, and of course, another is the universal favorite – served in many variations and eaten all year long – la bruschetta.

And if you’re ordering in a restaurant, wait staff will understand if you pronounce it “brooshetta,” but if you want to correctly say bruschetta in italiano, that “ch” makes a hard “c” sound…..as in “Chianti.”

You’ll probably toast your bruschetta bread in the oven under the broiler – as we do at U.S. cooking classes when a bruschetta is part of our menu set – but Peppa often toasts her bread on the woodstove during the colder months (as we do too, here in our Assisi farmhouse):

peppa-bruschetta

…and then, Peppa rubs the toasted bread with garlic, sprinkles on a bit of salt, drizzles generously her own olive oil:

woodstoves-for-bruschetta-making
peppa-proud-bruschetta

…and Peppa’s farm friend, Baldino, loves that Peppa bruschetta – but he can’t resist adding more olive oil:

baldino-with-bruschetta

Chiarina mostly toasts her bruschetta on the woodstove – but at times on a grill, over the coals – as Peppe and Gentile would do.

Chiarina’s bruschetta – of course, with the family olive oil and using the bread she bakes – wins over all

chiarina-prepares-bruschetta-with-her-olive-oil
chiarina-bruschetta

In the cellar, Peppe fills a bottle with the family olive oil, just back from the mill

peppe-with-new-olive-oil

Peppe, proud of his olive oil

peppe-shows-the-olive-oil-he'll-put-on-the-bruschetta

Peppe and his wife Gentile, will toast their bread in the fireplace for bruschetta

peppe-and-Gentile-about-to-toast-bread-for-bruschetta

peppe-toasts-bread-for-bruschetta

peppe-gentile-rural-bruscehtta

And the most classic bruschetta is simply of garlic-rubbed toasted bread, sprinkled with salt, drizzled with Extra-virgin (ONLY) olive oil (best if cold-pressed):

bruschetta-drenched-in-olive-oil-cheese-wine

olives-and-red-wine

bruschetta

olive-oil-bruschetta
bruschetta-with-newly-milled-olive-oil

bruschetta-and-bruschetta-with-tomato-on-colorful-plate

olive-oil-bruschetta-2

A springtime bruschetta winner? With a topping of fava bean puree’:

bevagna-fave-bruschetta

Summertime variations?

Bruschetta al pomodoro con basilico:

bruschetta-with-tomatos

Bruschetta al pomodoro con la rucola: (…and always a hit at my US cooking classes):

bruschetta-rugulu-tomatoes

smiling

what-bruschetta

cooking-together

bruschetta-time!

Bruschetta-with-arugula-and-tomatoes

…or after drizzling the bread with olive oil and vinegar, too, top the toasted slices with diced purple onion, cucumbers, very ripe tomatoes and chopped fresh basil (all sprinkled with salt), turning your bruschetta into a panzanella:

tomatos-bruscetta

At Trevi’s October “Black Celery” sagra (small, local food festival), bruschetta al sedano (with celery) could not be missing:

celery-bruschetta

….and as we head to the cooler months, bruschette are crowned with other ingredients. Try topping the garlic-rubbed toasted bread with steamed broccoli or cauliflower, sautéed in Extra virgin olive oil:

cauliflower-bruschetta

Preparing broccoli for bruschetta in a US cooking class

broccoli-bruschetta-coming-up!
broccoli-bruschetta-in-the-making

bruschetta-with-broccol

…or with Swiss chard or spinach or wild chicory, sautéed in olive oil and garlic:

bruschetta-cicoria

For those mushroom-lovers, la bruschetta ai funghi trifolati is a winner (also at my wintertime U.S. cooking classes):

bruschetta-funghi

all-eager-fpr-bruschetta

bethesda-chef-prepares-mushroom-bruschetta

fred-ditty-charlie-john

funghi-trifolati-in-the-making

Bruschetta-con-funghi

Marybeth-and-STephanie-on-bruschetta

Shaved black truffles on bruschetta is quite simply a celestial culinary experience:

tartufo-1

tartufo-2

And don’t miss drowning a bruschetta in a savory lentil soup:

lentils-of-castelluccio

A cold-weather (and not only) Pino bruschetta favorite?
Topped with slabs of lardo di colonnata (a coveted delicacy of Colonnata near the marble quarry area of Carrara):

bruschetta-pino-lardo

pino-with-bruschetta-lardo

Ever tried bruschetta topped with puree’ of snails (another Pino favorite)? At the snail sagra of Cantalupo (near Bevagna), Pino’s antipasto starred bruschette with two different snail toppings (one with spicy tomato sauce, one with mountain herbs) – and farro:

antipasto

bruschetta-melanzane

At the springtime Wild Asparagus sagra of Eggi (near Spoleto), bruschetta agli asparagi entices many:

…..and so do the bruschetta topped with local grilled sausages:

sagra-eggi-bruschetta-patè

sagra-di-eggi

sagra-eggi-meaet-and-bread

…and at another sagra (local food festival), one bruschetta was spread with fave puree’, shaved pecorino cheese on top – and the other had grilled sausage and local guanciale (pork cheek):

various-bruschetta

At the array of sagre – all over Umbria from early spring to late fall – bruschetta often takes the stage in many an antipasto plate:

bruschetta-various-sagra

sagre-help

bruschetta-preparation
bruschetta-preparation-2
serving-bruschetta
antipasto-and-soup
serving-bruschetta-2
bruscette_bambini

serving-bruschetta-3

Ah, la bruschetta: whatever way you savor it, a noble highlight of central Italy’s cucina povera (“poor man’s cooking,” ie, humble cuisine):

peppe-gentile-in-dining-room

olive

bruschette

tasting-bruschetta

selling-olive-oil

Mo-and-Linda-prepare-the-tomatoarugula-bruschetta
bruschette-mix

selling-olive-oil-2

burschetta-fresca-pomodoro

tasting-bruschetta-2

what-bruschetta-2

Gentile-slices-bread-she-made-for-her-guests

Buonissima-bruschetta!

Read about cooking up the good flavors of Umbria
Click here for more on those delightful Umbrian food
Read more on Peppa!
Read about bruschetta alle fave  – and not only! – in Bevagna
Read more about the good flavors of the Mediterranean diet
Read more about rural friends and rural goodness
Read about a most special bruschetta in a favorite spot

5 Comments

  • Bev Oliveri says:

    I make this every summer with fresh tomatoes, garlic, basil, and cheese! I think I might try some different combinations for the cooler months! They all look soooo yummy!

  • Ann Krapf says:

    Beautiful pictures of such simple food and I hope the mushroom recipe is available on your website! The green color of the olive oil is amazing.

  • Rachel says:

    One of my favorite dinner parties EVER was one where I invited everyone to bring their favorite bruschetta toppings. This was in Texas, so it was wonderful to be able to toast the bread outside and not have to add any other heat to the indoors. And such creative toppings! Tomato basil, of course, and roasted peppers with eggplant and capers, and tuna fish with white beans and rosemary, and figs with ricotta salata drizzled with honey, and a hundred other great ideas.

    Thank you, Anne, for this wonderful vacation of a posting!

  • Anne Robichaud says:

    Ann, thanks for your note and can send you mushroom bruschetta recipe..will do!

  • Anne Robichaud says:

    Rachel, thanks for your note and for the bruschetta additions…mmmmmmm

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