Italian cooking | Chef Oli’s recipe twist on traditional bruschetta toppings

Preparing delicious authentic Italian food doesn’t always have to result in a messy kitchen. Enter bruschetta (pronounced /broos-keh-ta/) – fresh crusty bread topped with fresh ingredients, such as the classic chopped tomato and basil. It’s a favourite of Chef Oli, who loves to share the wonderful simplicity of bruschetta with guests on his Italian cookery holiday.

For as long as I have known, bruschetta has always kicked off any event – perfect for mingling at parties or as a simple starter to any meal. It’s unchallenging finger food quick to throw together for the masses or unannounced visitors.

The foundations of great bruschetta

Chef wearing apron in kitchen with blender

Chef Oli in the kitchen

Oli recommends a nice crusty loaf sliced up and rubbed with cloves of garlic, then toasted (I personally do mine under the grill) until firm enough to hold the goods. He then recommends keeping it simple, just top it with perfect combos and fresh ingredients, and the rest will take care of itself.

So onto Oli’s tried and tested flavour combinations…

Bruschetta toppings with a twist

Pumpkin & Soft Goat’s Cheese (just in time for autumn!)

– Cut the pumpkin into thick slices, sprinkle with salt, oil and thyme, and roast in a medium oven until the flesh is really soft
– Spoon the flesh into a bowl and mix well with Parmesan cheese and a few spoonfuls of soft goat’s cheese until you achieve a puree-type spread

Parmigiano Cheese & Honey

– Can be used with any salty cheese and any fancy honey for that matter (Oli goes for the truffle infused honey)
– Thinly slice the cheese and simply drizzle some honey on top to taste

Peach, Mozzarella & Prosciutto

– Slice the ingredients and layer
– To finish, drizzle with olive oil and a bit of fresh basil

Roasted Fennel & Orange

– Cut your fennel into wedges and roast in the oven with salt, sugar and balsamic vinegar until soft and sweet
– Mix with a few segments of orange & drizzle with some olive oil

Zucchini, Mint & Ricotta Cheese

– Cut the zucchini (courgette!) lengthwise and griddle (or put under the grill) until colour comes through and they’re soft
– Toss in a bowl with torn up fresh mint, salt, olive oil and white wine vinegar
– Put on your toasts and top with the ricotta

Seriously, this is delicious and easy! Don’t stop there – continue to use your favourite flavour combos and if you score a winning combo, drop us a line and share your secret. I can see a whole seasonal array of brushcettas coming out – from Halloween through to Christmas!

If you would like to know more about Oli’s Italian cookery holidays in Tuscany, just follow these links to read all about his Fresh Pasta & Gastronomy Break or his Italian Gastronomy & Cooking Holiday.

Or feel free to browse our full range of cooking holidays in Italy.