Bruschetta – and other finger food?
If you are ever invited to an eat-with-your-fingers party, go for it! Just take lots of napkins… seriously, napkins, towelettes, wet wash cloths… something! uh-hmm, against everything you have ever been taught, or taught your children, you may be asked to eat salad and drippy cheesy saucy pasta shells… with no utensils.
Only my girl Starla would be brave enough to choose foods that are not typically finger foods for this event. Three cheese stuffed pasta shells with a beautiful green salad. Yum! To follow are pictures to show you how she did it – with a little help. Thanks Tora!
Lacking Starla’s courage, I chose a safer route. What would go better with Starla’s delicious Italian dishes than a simple summertime Tomato Bruschetta? The added advantage is that I get to cheat… this is already a finger food. 🙂 And so simple! Bake up a sheet tray full of toast points, throw in a selection of toppings, add a bowl of tomatoes and basil, and you are golden! Vibrant color, layers of flavor… and… ahem… minimal mess.
Super simple recipes for bruschetta and special diet notes to follow.
First, Starla boiled her pasta, leaving it a bit al dente. Then she combined hamburger meat (cooked, of course) with three cheeses – ricotta, mozzarella, and cottage, and added fresh chopped parsley and basil.
Next, the shells get stuffed to the brim with the cheesy filling.
Line them up in a pan.
Cover with Starla’s secret marinara sauce (sorry, can’t share that part, but I am sure yours is just as wonderful) and bake til its done. And voila! Food that IS NOT finger food, but we had to eat it that way. I did take pictures, but decided against posting them. Not pretty. Fun! But not pretty.
Oh! And don’t forget to add a green salad filled with fresh summer vegetables! I could have eaten this salad all day!
Now, here is the recipe I can share with you. 🙂
- 1 pint grape tomatoes, red and/or yellow
- 2 t balsamic vinegar
- 1-2 cloves garlic, minced (if not using garlic-infused oil)
- 2 T extra virgin olive oil (or garlic-infused olive oil)
- 2-4 leaves fresh basil
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 1/2 onion
- One loaf Italian bread
- garlic cloves, peeled
- olive oil (or eliminate cloves and use garlic-infused olive oil)
To make topping, halve grape tomatoes. (my store had only red today). In a separate bowl whisk together balsamic vinegar, garlic and oil (or garlic infused olive oil) and salt and pepper. Chiffonade (roll up leaves and slice to created little strips) fresh basil leaves. Combine tomatoes, oil-vinegar, basil, and onions. Set aside.
To make toast points, slice Italian bread loaf into diagonal slices. Cut slices into triangles. Place in one layer on a sheet pan and bake at 350° until toasted. If using garlic-infused olive oil, brush oil onto each toast point. If using cloves and oil, rub each toast point on one side with raw garlic cloves. Then drizzle or brush with olive oil.
At service, pile toast points on a plate, next to a bowl of tomato-basil topping. If desired, offer additional accompaniments, such as prepared pesto, artichoke and black olive toppings. Allow guests to top toast points any way they like!
Special diet notes:
If there are concerns with garlic and onion, such as for a LowFODMAP diet for IBS, leave onions out of tomato topping. Put them in a separate bowl, also dressed with a bit of balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Do not use fresh or chopped garlic; opt for garlic-infused oil. Also, use a gluten-free bread for toast points.
And as if all that is not enough – and trust me, it is! – add chocolate truffles. More about that another day.