Appetizers and Snacks

Crostini Misti (Mixed Crostini)

Loreto February 20, 2017

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Crostini Misti (Mixed Crostini), an array of flavors from artichokes and cannellini puree, to salami and ricotta, vibrant flavors and beautiful presentation sure to tantalize your guests at your next gathering!

CROSTINI MISTI

Crostini Misti (Mixed Crostini), sure to liven up your party with elegant presentation, and a plethora of interesting flavor combinations.

 

 

Crostini, toasted rustic bread with topping of your choice makes for a great party appetizer. The crunchiness of the bread, creaminess of the cheeses, and fresh flavors are always a crowd pleaser. Add in the easiness of these morsels makes it so appealing. The fact that it would be pleasurable to vegan, vegetarian and omnivore makes it more appealing, ensuring all guests a pleasing experience.

Growing up Italian we were always surrounded by socialization, celebration and gathering with friends. As long as I could remember it used to start on a Friday night, and end with a family dinner on Sundays with nonna (my grandma). I remember at the age of six or seven and being excited because we were going to have company, which meant a lot of food, and of course cocktails and wine. It was a very happy time, lots of laughter, the smell of various appetizers such as a charcuterie platter, pizza, olives, pickled vegetables, and a good crusty rustic bread. I would sit and watch as they played Italian card games, sometimes witnessing elevated emotions as the stakes to the game became higher. Mothers in the kitchen helping one another preparing and bringing food to the table. I loved those times, so much happiness and laughter and conversations that had me listening intently as I was one that loved people watching, from body language, to voice tone and of course being Italian hand gestures. I call these the good old days, then time came upon us and life got busier. Those get together’s became far and few in between until non-existent people became strangers. I was quite saddened by this occurrence and one to this day do not understand.

When I got older I was determined to get this Italian interaction back, and soon found that I had a nack for entertaining. Meeting Nicoletta ignited that even more. When I went to Italy for the first time I realized that the true nature of an Italian was celebration, entertaining, and hospitality. Sitting in the countryside at a long table with friends and family, listening to the heated discussions of politics, soccer and most of all food. It took me back in time and brought many a smiles to my face and heart. Nicoletta and I cherish the friends we have and enjoy showing our love in the food we prepare and the gestures we give.

Well, we need to prepare some nice appetizers for a gathering and we decided on Crostini Misti. This is a very Italian dish. You have to know how important bread is to us Italians. There is not a meal on the table without some bread gracing the table cloth, and in the olden times sometimes it was all our ancestors could afford. Well I am grateful for that because there is nothing better than a good crusty rustic bread, toasted with some wonderful ingredients for it to hold. There was a time in my childhood when all I would eat was toast and butter. Today we are going to tantalize you with an array of flavored crostini that I know you will enjoy and savor. Here is out take on Crostini Misti (Mixed Crostini).

Gathering Ingredients for Crostini Misti (Mixed Crostini)!

When thinking about what type of crostini to make a list of veggies first came to mind. Artichokes, zucchini, mushrooms, and olives. A crostini just wouldn’t be elevated without some cheese so in comes the goat cheese, fresh mozzarella, and ricotta. On one we wanted to be daring and made a somewhat white cannellini puree. The bread to host all these goodies, a wonderful crusty rustic small loaf, and we are set to get started on these beauties. So here’s the line-up:

-Cannellini purée with steamed artichoke hearts, and niçoise olives.

-Goat cheese with sauteed zucchini, and balsamic crema.

-Fresh mozzarella, chestnut jam, with sauteed mushrooms and herbs.

-Ricotta with Genoa salami floret.

The key to a good crostini is a nice crusted bread. This ensures that the crostini won’t fall apart and get all soggy. We kept the vegetables pretty simple. The cannellini puree is just a combination of the beans, olive oil, salt, pepper, freshly cracked of course, and some cold water if needed to thin the puree a bit. The zucchini just sauteed in olive oil with some sea salt and cracked black pepper. The mushrooms also sauteed with olive oil, some seasoning of sea salt, and cracked black pepper. Wanting to elevate the mushroom just a touch called for some rosemary and white wine. The Genoa Salami required no cooking so now we are set to put these wonderful Crostini Misti together.

With the bread cut into nice ovals, we drizzle a good quality organic cold pressed extra virgin olive oil. Wow, that’s a mouthful in its own right! Then into a nice hot 400° F oven they go to get golden and toasted. Take out of the oven when that is achieved.

A good rule is to put the cheese first, one it is a good backdrop for color, and two it serves as a good ingredient to hold things in place and together. So with that being said our first really doesn’t have a cheese, but it does have the cannellini puree which is so delicious a few spoonfuls to taste is required. First a lathering of cannellini purée onto the toasted bread. Place some artichoke heart halves on top of the puree, and finish with the niçoise olives. Second, spread some goat cheese onto the toasted bread slice. Place the sauteed zucchini, and finish with an artistic drizzle of balsamic cream. Third, spread some chestnut jam onto the bread, then add some sliced fresh mozzarella. Place some of the sauteed mushrooms on top, and finish with a few drops of white truffle oil. Last crostini, but not least, spoon a good amount of fresh ricotta onto the toasted oval. Roll the salami forming a kind of rose shape and sink into the center of the ricotta.

Only three will go into the oven, the artichoke, cannellini, olive. The goat cheese, zucchini, balsamic cream. Finally the fresh mozzarella, chestnut jam, mushroom, white truffle oil. Bake in the oven until well heated through or when cheese is melted.

A very important thing to remember when entertaining is presentation. If it looks beautiful, it will be beautiful and enticing to reach in and grab one. We served the Crostini Misti on a nice wood cutting board that we received as a gift from my brother Mauro and his family. They have come to good use in our kitchen and on our blog.

Now for the best part, let’s dig in and taste these puppies. I try the zucchini first, wow that acidity and creaminess from the goat cheese go so well with the crustiness and flavor of the bread. The zucchini, soft velvety with just a slight toothiness is music to my tongue. The balsamic cream awakening my taste buds for more deliciousness to come. Now for the cannellini puree, oh that is so good. The starchiness and wonderful earthiness of the bean, and bitterness of the olive oil, sparked by a bit of pepper and sea salt, absolutely delicious. The artichoke, luxurious and tender with its rich flavor, and just enough of a bump from the niçoise olive to give your mouth and taste buds a most pleasurable boost. Let’s try the mushroom. Okay, this is just ridiculous. The mozzarella melted and dripping into every pore in the bread, mingling with the sweet nuttiness of the chestnut jam, olive oil dripping onto the cheese. The mushroom plump and oh so earthy, caressed by the white wine and dazzled with the rosemary, so scrumptious. That white truffle oil sneaking up just to make its appearance known in a most nonobtrusive way, yum and yum again. Finally, the Genoa Salami, spicy, acidic, salty, soothed by the rich creaminess of the ricotta, putting your taste buds into a blissful trance, only to be awakened by that wonderful crunch of the rustic toasted bread. I love these crostini, the colors, the richness, textures, aromas, and flavors. Next time you are having trouble deciding what to make for a get together you are having, remember these Crostini Misti (Mixed Crostini). I know they will be a real crowd pleaser both visually and flavor-wise.

Enjoy!

Song of the day: “Lounge Beats” by Deep Jazzy House.

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Crostini

  • Author: Loreto and Nicoletta
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 55 minutes
  • Yield: 16 crostini 1x
  • Category: Appetizers

Description

Crostini Misti (Mixed Crostini), an array of flavors from artichokes and cannellini puree, to salami and ricotta, vibrant flavors and beautiful presentation sure to tantalize your guests at your next gathering!


Ingredients

Mixed Crostini:

Cannellini beans, artichocke hearts, nicoise olives

  • cannellini beans
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoon cold water
  • artichoke hearts, quartered
  • nicoise olives, pitted, halved

Goat cheese, zucchini, balsamic cream:

  • 1 zucchini, thinly sliced
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • goat cheese
  • balsamic reduction

Mozzarella, chestnut jam, portobellini mushroom

  • mozzarella
  • 1 portobellini mushroom
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • rosemary
  • splash of white wine
  • 1 teaspoon white truffle oil

Ricotta Genoa Salami

  • 2 Tbsp ricotta
  • 4 slices Genoa salami

Instructions

Bread:

  1. Take crusty small loaf and cut into 2 cm thick ovals.
  2. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet.
  3. Drizzle with some olive oil.
  4. Put into a pre-heated 400 F oven.
  5. Bake till golden about 10 minutes.
  6. Take out of oven and cool.

Cannellini beans, artichoke hearsts, nicoise olives:

  1. In a food processor place beans, olive oil, salt, pepper. Pulse till it becomes smooth.
  2. Add some cold water if it is too thick, use your own discretion.
  3. Take a toasted bread oval and spread a spoonful of cannellini puree onto bread.
  4. Place the steamed artichoke halves onto the puree, and top with olives.

Goat cheese, zucchini, balsamic reduction:

  1. In a saute pan heat up olive oil.
  2. Toss in sliced zucchini rounds.
  3. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Cook for about 10 minutes on medium to high heat, or until soft.
  5. Take a toasted bread oval, spread goat cheese onto oval.
  6. Place some of the sauteed zucchini.
  7. Finish with a drizzle of balsamic cream

Mozzarella, chestnut jam, portobellini mushrooms:

  1. Heat up olive oil in a saute pan at medium to high heat.
  2. Toss in chopped mushroom.
  3. Season with salt, pepper, and rosemary.
  4. As they start to soften add a splash of white wine, and saute till wine has evaporated.
  5. Take off heat. Cook time about 10-15 minutes.
  6. Take a toasted bread oval.
  7. Spread some chestnut jam on.
  8. Place some cut up mozzarella
  9. Layer on some sauteed mushroom.
  10. Finish with a few drops of white truffle oil.

Ricotta Genoa Salami:

  1. Take a toasted bread oval
  2. Place a good spoonful of ricotta on.
  3. Roll Genoa salami round into a rosette.
  4. Sink rosette into ricotta.

Baking:

  1. In a 400 degree F oven place the artichoke crostini, mushroom crostini, and zucchini crostini on a parchment lined baking sheet.
  2. Bake for 10 minutes or until cheese starts to melt and crostini are heated through.

Plating:

  1. On a nice long wood cutting board or platter of your choice, arrange the crostini, and serve.
  2. Enjoy!

Notes

The ricotta salami crostini is not baked after it is put together. Best served fresh.


Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 4 servings
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Instead of crostini, if you like it bigger and bolder, we have this recipe for you:

GRILLED ASPARAGUS AND ONION CROSTONI WITH CANNELLINI HUMMUS

Grilled Asparagus and Onion Crostoni with Cannellini Hummus

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4 Comments

  • Avatar
    Reply Balvinder February 21, 2017 at 9:58 am

    With so many delicious toppings, It is easy to fall in love with this Italian appetizer. I love your presentation, a very neat idea!

  • Avatar
    Reply loveofitaliancooking February 23, 2017 at 7:12 am

    Ciao Loreto! What a wonderful post!! I have the same memories of huge family gatherings, lots of food on the table, heated conversations, and of course, the hand gestures. Our house was always full of guests, but that too, became less and less. It’s wonderful that you and Nicoletta brought it back into your lives. I truly enjoy reading your stories. Thanks for sharing!!

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto February 23, 2017 at 10:24 am

      I think being Italian has its advantages, such social creatures. We must not let that die out. Nicoletta and I cherish that quality and work diligently to revive it. I love watching cooking shows where chefs travel to Italy and hit the small towns cooking with the Moms and Nonna’s. That spark that is ignited in their eyes, and that strength that they exude is an amazing thing to watch and experience. Not to mention the pride in ingredients and health that is a fire in its own right.
      Thanks Rosa for your lovely comment.
      Happy Cooking!
      Ciao
      Loreto

      • Avatar
        Reply loveofitaliancooking February 24, 2017 at 12:34 am

        I absolutely agree! Italian style family entertainment should never die. I honestly wish I could do more, but for now, I share that love with my boys. I want them to understand that food is a celebration. The door is always open (a lot of their friends eat over), but adult parties are rare at the moment except for holidays. Then the big meals come out! From time to time, I also catch German shows where a celebrity chefs travel through Italy and find rare recipes in small towns that no one has ever heard of. It’s amazing when they take that first bite of something they never have tried before, and their faces light up with excitement. I love reading your posts!! Thanks for always sharing your wonderful stories and recipes, and allowing me to reminisce. 🙂

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