Appetizers & SnacksSide DishesUncategorized

Tricolor Crostini with Spinach, Ricotta & Cherry Tomatoes

A large platter of crostini or bruschetta, in my eyes, is essential to any summer BBQs in the backyard, or any friends and family gatherings throughout the year.

But they also work great as a special treat before lunch or dinner. While everyone’s waiting for a plate of pasta or meat on the grill there’s nothing better than poking your taste buds with a crunchy, garlic rubbed delight such as crostini.

Now you might be wondering, what makes this toasted bread with a topping called crostini and not bruschetta?

Without getting much into other details, here’s a little secret that will help you distinguish crostini and bruschetta.

Crostini more often than not have an kind of tapenade, or spread or soft cheese as a base ingredient.

Like with everything, of course there are exceptions.

But in our case, crostini are first layered with ricotta cheese, which serves a couple of things.

First, to let the rest of the ingredients hold better on a piece of bread and  second, it gives a light creamy texture to the whole crostino.

We are not using any kind of seasoning except for salt and a pinch of peperoncino in the spinach, which gives just a hint of its presence.

Combined with soft, creamy ricotta, sweet cherry tomatoes and light garlic rubbed bread it all turns into a beautiful story by the name Crostini with Spinach, Ricotta and Cherry Tomatoes.

Purposefully composed of green, white and red colors (Italian flag colors) they bring to the table color and style. Due to all delicate ingredients these crostini are also kids-friendly.

Do I have to mention all your vegetarian friends will be in a WOW? 🙂

But enough words. Let’s get down to the kitchen and knock off some beautiful, fragrant and yummy Italian crostini.

Yields: 18-20 pieces

Ingredients:

2 Baguette loaves

1 cup ricotta cheese

4 packed cups or 7-8 oz fresh spinach

12-15 cherry tomatoes

1 pinch peperoncino/chili flakes

1-2 garlic cloves

Extra virgin olive oil

Salt to taste

Preparation:

Preheat the oven to 350F.

Crostini with Spinach,Ricotta & Cherry Tomatoes - Ingredients

Step 1: Quarter cherry tomatoes and then cut in half again each quarter. Add some salt and set aside. Salt will help tomatoes release excessive liquid so that our crostini don’t become soggy.

For the same reason strain ricotta cheese.

Step 2: Slice the bread into ½ inch slices using a sharp or bread knife.

Crostini with Spinach,Ricotta & Cherry Tomatoes - Step1

Drizzle both sides with extra virgin olive oil. Place on a baking sheet or parchment paper and toast in the oven for about 5 minutes. Flip each piece of bread on the other side and toast for another 5 minutes or until light golden color.

Step 3: While bread is toasting in the oven, rinse spinach under the cold water thoroughly. Drain well and pat with a paper tower. Cut off the stems and shred leaves with a sharp knife.

Crostini with Spinach,Ricotta & Cherry Tomatoes - Step2

If you are using already pre-washed baby spinach you can completely skip this step.

Step 4: In a large skillet pan pour some olive oil and add a pinch of peperoncino/chili flakes.

Crostini with Spinach,Ricotta & Cherry Tomatoes - Step3

Add spinach and saute for 2-3 minutes until it’s soft and massively reduced in size. Only after that add a pinch of salt.

Transfer spinach to a bowl avoiding transferring any cooking liquid. Let it cool down while you are finishing preparing the bread.

Step 5: Rub one side of each toasted piece of bread with a garlic clove.

Crostini with Spinach,Ricotta & Cherry Tomatoes - Step4

Assemble crostini: spread thin layer of ricotta cheese, place spinach on the left, cherry tomatoes on the right. Now fill the center with a thicker layer of ricotta.

Enjoy crostini warm or cold. If you strained all ingredients according to the directions your crostini will remain crunchy and yummy even the next day. IF they last that long 🙂

You can also prepare them a few hours in advance before the special event.

Crostini with Spinach, Ricotta & Cherry Tomatoes

Tricolor Crostini with Spinach, Ricotta & Cherry Tomatoes

Combined with soft, creamy ricotta, sweet cherry tomatoes and light garlic rubbed bread it all turns into a beautiful story by the name Crostini with Spinach, Ricotta and Cherry Tomatoes.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Total Time25 mins
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: Italian

Ingredients

  • 2 Baguette loaves
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 4 packed cups or 7-8 oz fresh spinach
  • 12-15 cherry tomatoes
  • 1 pinch peperoncino/chili flakes
  • 1-2 garlic cloves
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt to taste

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350F.
  • Quarter cherry tomatoes and then cut in half again each quarter. Add some salt and set aside. Salt will help tomatoes release excessive liquid so that our crostini don’t become soggy. For the same reason strain ricotta cheese.
  • Slice the bread into ½ inch slices using a sharp or bread knife. Drizzle both sides with extra virgin olive oil. Place on a baking sheet or parchment paper and toast in the oven for about 5 minutes. Flip each piece of bread on the other side and toast for another 5 minutes or until light golden color.
  • While bread is toasting in the oven, rinse spinach under the cold water thoroughly. Drain well and pat with a paper tower. Cut off the stems and shred leaves with a sharp knife. If you are using already pre-washed baby spinach you can completely skip this step.
  • In a large skillet pan pour some olive oil and add a pinch of peperoncino/chili flakes. Add spinach and saute for 2-3 minutes until it’s soft and massively reduced in size. Only after that add a pinch of salt.
  • Transfer spinach to a bowl avoiding transferring any cooking liquid. Let it cool down while you are finishing preparing the bread.
  • Rub one side of each toasted piece of bread with a garlic clove.
  • Assemble crostini: spread thin layer of ricotta cheese, place spinach on the left, cherry tomatoes on the right. Now fill the center with a thicker layer of ricotta.

Notes

Enjoy crostini warm or cold. If you strained all ingredients according to the directions your crostini will remain crunchy and yummy even the next day. IF they last that long 🙂
You can also prepare them a few hours in advance before the special event.
Liked this recipe?Follow @italianrecipeb for more!
Now, your turn! How did you like my delicate twist on these tricolor spinach crostini?

Did they go as a starter, snack or took their place on a party food platter?

I’d love to hear it all 🙂

 

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