Artichoke and Cheese Crostini / Crostini di Carciofi e Formaggio
Never dismiss stale bread; clever Italian cooks give it new life as crostini (also called bruschetta). Crostini means “little toasts” because the bread is fried in a little olive oil, or grilled to toast it and then topped with an endless variety of savory spreads like artichoke and cheese. All crostini success depends on the quality of the bread; a country loaf is best with a tight crumb, or a baguette type is good too; just don’t use spongy, soft bread. This is an example of a new way to use traditional Italian ingredients. Paired with a crisp, dry Prosecco wine, this is the perfect addition for the buffet table.
- 4 garlic cloves , peeled
- 2 shallots, peeled and cut in half
- 1/2 pound Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, grated
- 8 Oneounce jar reduced-fat mayonnaise
- 6 Twoounce containers mascarpone cheese or oneounce block low fat cream cheese, at room temperature
- 2 Juice oflimes
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes or red pepper paste*
- 12 Twoounce boxes frozen artichoke hearts, thawed and drained
- Filippo Berio olive oil spray
- 4 day old baguettes, cut into 1/2-inch thick slices and browned in olive oil
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- Process the garlic and shallots in a food processor until finely chopped. Add 1/2 cup of the Parmigiano Reggiano, the mayonnaise, mascarpone or cream cheese, lime juice and red pepper flakes. Process until almost smooth, then add the artichoke hearts and pulse until coarsely chopped. Spoon the mixture into a 6 cup gratin dish lightly greased with olive oil. Sprinkle the top evenly with the remaining Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.
- Bake for 20 minutes or until bubbly and hot. Serve hot with the toasted baguette slices and let everyone top their own. We serve these crostini with a citrusy Carpene Malvolti Prosecco di Conegliano.
- *Our recipe for Hot Red Pepper Pesto is posted on our Recipes page.
- Note: In a pinch you could use jarred artichoke hearts in water that have been well drained.
This recipe was featured on Season 20 - Episode 2010.