BrusCHetta, Not “Brushetta,” Per Favore
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):
…and then, Peppa rubs the toasted bread with garlic, sprinkles on a bit of salt, drizzles generously her own olive oil:
…and Peppa’s farm friend, Baldino, loves that Peppa bruschetta – but he can’t resist adding more olive oil:
Chiarina mostly toasts her bruschetta on the woodstove – but at times on a grill, over the coals – as Peppe and Gentile would do.
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):
A springtime bruschetta winner? With a topping of fava bean puree’:
Bruschetta al pomodoro con basilico:
Bruschetta al pomodoro con la rucola: (…and always a hit at my US cooking classes):
…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:
At Trevi’s October “Black Celery” sagra (small, local food festival), bruschetta al sedano (with celery) could not be missing:
….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:
…or with Swiss chard or spinach or wild chicory, sautéed in olive oil and garlic:
For those mushroom-lovers, la bruschetta ai funghi trifolati is a winner (also at my wintertime U.S. cooking classes):
Shaved black truffles on bruschetta is quite simply a celestial culinary experience:
And don’t miss drowning a bruschetta in a savory lentil soup:
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):
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:
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:
…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):
At the array of sagre – all over Umbria from early spring to late fall – bruschetta often takes the stage in many an antipasto plate:
Ah, la bruschetta: whatever way you savor it, a noble highlight of central Italy’s cucina povera (“poor man’s cooking,” ie, humble cuisine):
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