Rapini and Ricotta Crostini

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The neighbors along our street get together twice a month for drinks and appetizers.  It’s BYO (bring your own) drinks and an appetizer to share – nothing elaborate.  We refer to it as the neighborhood powwow.  My mother came up with this recipe for me when she heard about our little get togethers.  To be honest with you, I told her I was running out of ideas on what to bring.  Her Sicilian culinary ingenuity was at work again!  This recipe requires three main ingredients – bread, rapini, and ricotta cheese. Add sundried tomatoes for contrast and added flavor.

You can make your own crostini toasts or purchase them from a grocery store to save on time.  Bear in mind that purchased crostini are smaller in size.

RAPINI AND RICOTTA CROSTINI
Crostini di Brocculi Rabe/Rapini e Ricotta

Difficulty Rating: Easy
Makes 10 servings.

10 (1/3-inch thick) French baguette slices cut diagonally or store-bought bread toasts
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 bunch rapini, washed
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons diced sundried tomatoes packed in olive oil (optional)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 pound good quality ricotta cheese (1 cup)

MAKE THE CROSTINI TOASTS:  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Lightly brush each side of the bread slices with 2 tablespoons of olive oil.  Toast approximately 10 minutes, until golden brown.  Set aside.

PREPARE THE RAPINI:  Cut the tips of the rapini 3 inches down from the stem.  Cut the tips in half (you should have about 8 cups) and discard the stem ends or reserve to use in a pasta or stir fry dish.

COOK THE RAPINI:  Using a large skillet with lid, heat 3 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat.  Add garlic and cook for 1 minute, until garlic starts to color slightly.  Add rapini and 3 tablespoons water.  Cover with lid and cook for 5 minutes.  Stir in tomatoes, salt, and black pepper.  Cover with lid, stir occasionally, and continue to cook 10 minutes longer until tender.

ASSEMBLE THE CROSTINI:  Spread a heaping tablespoon of ricotta cheese onto each bread toast and top with the rapini mixture.

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