Platter of Italian Bruschetta with bowl of tomato mixture in the background
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Settino’s Italian Bruschetta: A Family Favorite Appetizer

My family’s favorite bruschetta recipe, just the way my Italian father-in-law taught me to make it! This quick & easy appetizer recipe is always a hit!

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This recipe is near and dear to my heart. And to be completely honest, it’s a bit tough for me to write about it because it’s one that I used to make with my Italian father-in-law all the time.

Platter of Italian Bruschetta with bowl of tomato mixture in the background

A few months ago, an aggressive cancer took him from us. Aside from being an all-around awesome human, he was a phenomenal cook.

Settino was born in the city of Cosenza in Calabria, Italy. He went to trade school in Belgium to become a toolmaker worked as a machinist for much of his life after emigrating to New York.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Due to the nature of his work schedule, he found himself waking up to get to the machine shop before the sun was up. His workday would end and he’d get home in the afternoon with plenty of time on his hands before dinner.

He started cooking more and more at home to fill that time, and when I moved to New York and lived with my (now) in-laws, he and I would cook up a storm together (and drink a good deal of wine).

 

 
 
 
 
 
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One of the things that was so special about the way he cooked was that he did it by pure feel. He’d improvise and the results were always incredible.

I learned a lot about cooking from him, but of course, I wanted to be able to replicate the recipes he cooked up. If you asked him to make the dish he made last week, he’d be able to make something similar but it was never exactly the same. It was always delicious, but not something that could be exactly duplicated.

So I spent a lot of time cooking with him, learning from him, and watching how he prepared things. I took meticulous notes so I could replicate these dishes AND share them with you!

I have a few examples already here on Big Flavors. Another favorite appetizer recipe of his is Settino’s Italian Stuffed Mushrooms, a delicious comfort food dinner recipe that my husband grew up with is this Baked Chicken Thighs with Potatoes and Peas, one of our very favorite one-pan meals is his Sausage and Peppers, and his famous Calabrese Potato Salad.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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This Italian bruschetta recipe, though, is one of the things that we used to make together all.the.time. It’s such an easy recipe and it’s great for entertaining.

Pretty much any time we’d go over to my in-laws’ house, he would have an antipasto assortment of Italian meats and cheeses, and a bowl of this delicious bruschetta mixture next to a bunch of toasted baguette.

Tray of ingredients for making Italian bruschetta

Bruschetta is a perfect way to use up summer tomatoes. This recipe really showcases their freshness. But don’t worry – you can make this bruschetta recipe all year round!

You can use a mix of large and smaller tomatoes. I like a variety of colors and textures anyway – it makes it look more inviting!

In the off-season, I’d go for cherry/grape tomatoes or ones like Campari, which usually come in a plastic clamshell container and are consistently ripe and delicious.

Steps for making Italian bruschetta mixture

How to Properly Toast Crostini

The key to a good crostini is to have a sturdy base that can withstand the weight of the toppings. You want to get a nice, evenly toasted slice of baguette to act as the vessel to deliver whatever toppings you’ve chosen to your mouth, pronto!

Make sure you slice your baguette consistently so that all the pieces cook at the same rate. I like to drizzle lightly with olive oil, then rub the slices and flip them around in it to coat the bread evenly without oversaturating them. If they absorb too much oil, they won’t get nice and crispy.

Tray of toasted baguette with bowl of tomato bruschetta mixture in the background

You can grill or broil the bread to get it nice and toasty. I talk about grilling bread a bit in this post for Goat Cheese Toast with Honeyed Citrus Fruit. My go-to method for crostini is broiling.

Broil until the first side is golden, about 3-5 minutes, then flip the bread over and continue to broil for another minute or 2. Be sure to watch your bread so it doesn’t burn! The second side always cooks faster than the first, in my experience.

One of the keys to making a delicious bruschetta recipe is rubbing garlic onto the toasted baguette slices while they’re still warm. It really helps the garlic get into the bread, and brings this Italian bruschetta recipe to the next level.

Rubbing a garlic clove onto toasted baguette slices for bruschetta

Tips for Making Bruschetta in Advance

A few things are helpful to note when making this bruschetta recipe ahead of time.

Firstly, you can totally toast your baguette and rub it with garlic in advance! Just be sure to let it cool completely before storing it in an airtight container.

The last time I made this recipe, I put the leftover toasted baguette in one of these Stand-Up Stasher bags and left it on the counter. The next day I was able to open the bag a bit and put the whole bag right in the oven to heat the bread back up. It was awesome and saved me time that second day.

Toasted baguette stored in a stand-up stasher bag

One thing to note is that if the bread has been toasted a day or two in advance, you may need to let the bruschetta mixture sit on top of the bread for a few minutes to soften the bread up enough to be able to dig in.

We were surprised by how well it held up, and I love knowing that I can plan this in advance from now on!

As for the tomato mixture, it can be made in advance too! Just pop a lid on it and put it in the fridge. It should hold up well for a few days.

The day you go to use the bruschetta mixture, take it out of the fridge for at least 10 minutes before serving it. This will let any of the oils that have solidified get nice and liquidy again.

If you’re making this an hour or so before you plan to serve it you can just leave the bowl of tomato bruschetta mixture out on the counter. I’d recommend putting a lid on it, but it’s fine to sit at room temp for a bit.

How do you like to use your summer tomatoes? I’d love to hear about your favorites in the comments section below!

A hand holding a serving of Italian bruschetta

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Recipe for Settino’s Italian Bruschetta

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Platter of Italian Bruschetta with bowl of tomato mixture in the background

Settino’s Italian Bruschetta

  • Author: Big Flavors from a Tiny Kitchen - Settino & Ashley Covelli
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 32 crostini 1x
  • Category: Appetizer
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: Italian

Description

My family’s favorite bruschetta recipe, just the way my Italian father-in-law taught me to make it! This quick & easy appetizer recipe is always a hit!


Scale

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds tomatoes, diced small
  • 1/4 cup red onion, minced
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 baguette, sliced on the bias into 1/4-inch thick slices
  • 2 whole garlic cloves, peeled

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, mix together the tomatoes, red onion, basil, 1/4 cup olive oil, balsamic, salt, and pepper. Set aside.
  2. Preheat broiler to high.
  3. Place baguette slices on a baking sheet and drizzle lightly with olive oil, flipping slices and rubbing them around a bit to get oil on both sides. Broil until golden brown, about 3-5 minutes, then flip and broil for another minute or 2, until golden brown. You may need to do this in 2 batches if using a large baguette.
  4. While the bread is still warm, rub the cut side of a garlic clove all over one side of each piece of baguette.
  5. Transfer toasted baguette slices to a serving platter and top each with a few spoonfuls of the tomato mixture.

Notes

If making the tomato mixture in advance, cover the bowl and put it in the refrigerator. Take out at least 10 minutes before serving.

The crostini can be toasted and rubbed with garlic ahead of time. Let cool completely and store in an airtight container until ready to serve.

Leftover crostini may need to sit for a few minutes with the tomato mixture on top in order to soften up enough to enjoy.

The tomato mixture is also great on top of your favorite meat or fish.

Keywords: crostini, easy appetizer, tomato

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