Spring/Summer

Crostoni with Sicilian tomato pesto

Crostoni with Sicilian tomato pesto are one of my favorite summer recipes. They are a delicious appetizer but also a hearty brunch on very hot summer days. A few simple ingredients but, precisely for this reason, they must be of first quality. Organic tomatoes, fresh basil and rustic bread are essential for the success of the dish.

There are several versions of Sicilian pesto and almost all have tomatoes as a key ingredient. Of course, summer is the season when tomatoes are juicy and ripe at the right point to give the right flavour to any recipe. You will never have the same result with off-season ingredients.

Pistacho and hazelnut are another important key factor for a great Sicilian pesto. Pistachio and hazelnuts release essential oils that make the pesto particularly creamy, enhancing its taste. Failing that, choose good nuts, such as whole almonds or natural cashew that will ensure a strong  flavour and will provide consistency with pesto.

Ricotta is ideal in recipes like this but, for a vegan recipe, you can replace fresh ricotta and Parmigiano with some soft vegan cheese or a spoonful of vegan natural yogurt.

Pesto is a very delicate condiment. Prepare it only a few minutes before serving.

 

Serves 2

Ingredients

12 cherry or date tomatoes

20 basil leaves

100 g (31/2 oz) fresh ricotta cheese

50 g (13/4 oz) pistachios

50 g (13/4 oz) roasted hazelnuts

100 g (3½ oz) Parmigiano cheese, grated

Pinch of sea salt

White pepper, to taste

150 ml (5 fl oz) extra virgin olive oil

4 crusty bread slices

 

Method:

  1. Cut the tomatoes in half and remove the insides.
  2. Using a food processor, process the tomatoes, basil, pistachio, hazelnuts, Parmigiano, salt and pepper.
  3. Add the olive oil and process until creamy.
  4. Spread the pesto sauce over bread and serve immediately.

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