I wasn't the biggest fan of Rome,
although I do want to give it a second, slightly longer, chance, but I was a huge fan of some of the food we had there. And by the food, I mean, more specially, the epic bruschetta we had at Ristorante Pastarella. When I had asked my friend MK for Italy recommendations, she raved on and on about this Roman restaurant's bruschetta that was crazy good and how it was basically just bread piled with cheese and marinated veggies and all kinds of other amazing stuff. I was sold at the "bread piled with cheese" part and I knew it was a must-stop when we were in Rome. I'm typically skeptical of places located right by major tourist attractions (this restaurant is around the corner from the Vatican) but, if it's good enough for popes, then it has to be good enough for me, right?! Right, would be the answer you're looking for, because this bruschetta was seriously out-of-this-world epic! I had it nearly 8 months ago and the cravings for it and dreams of it haven't ceased since. What? You mean you don't dream about bread and cheese, too?! Well, then clearly you haven't had this bruschetta!
Since we have no plans to go back to Rome in the immediate future, I decided the next best thing was to create my own version of this incredible dish. The keys to replicating this recipe at home are toasting/grilling the thick slices of bread, ridiculous amounts of olive oil and no holding back when it comes to adding on the toppings (the more the merrier). The toppings for this recipe are easily adaptable based on what you have on hand or is in season, it's super easy to make (I'm pretty sure a 5-year-old could master this non-recipe recipe!),this recipe can easily be tripled or quadrupled (aka it's perfect for entertaining and summer gatherings), it's shareable enough for an appetizer but filling enough if you want to serve it as a main course and it comes together in a snap (meaning you'll be eating dinner or serving guests in no time). Basically, this gem, and a bottle of wine (and probably a lot of napkins), is all you need to you have yourself one epic summer.
Whether you have a chance to visit Rome and try the restaurant version, or you make this bruschetta recipe, I promise they will both change your life.
Salt & pepper
Fresh Mozzarella or Burrata
Arugula or other salad greens
Fresh tomatoes, cubed
Other things you could use- olives, marinated mushrooms, roasted red peppers, fresh spinach
Thickly slice the bread. Generously (and I do mean generously) drizzle the slices with olive oil, then toast until golden brown. You can do this by putting the bread on the grill for a few minutes, cooking it in a grill pan set on a medium heat burner, or laying it out in a single layer on a baking sheet and baking at 400 degrees for about 5-10 minutes, per side.
Lay the bread out on a serving dish. Sprinkle with your toppings. I like to do lots of arugula and shredded basil first, then sprinkle on the radicchio, tomatoes and artichokes. Lastly, I rip off pieces of the mozzarella and place those all over the dish.
Finish with another generous drizzling of olive oil as well as one of balsamic vinegar, a good sprinkle of salt and pepper and a little bit more basil. Serve immediately, with lots of wine.