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Appetizers Karista's Kitchen

Bruno’s Crostini

Bruno's Crostini of Herbed Ricotta and an Anchovy

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I can’t believe it’s been almost a year since my visit to Tuscany.  Strolling through acres of brilliantly colored vineyards with deep purple Sangiovese grapes, chocolate brown stems and bright green leaves.  The soil rich with various shades of red and brown, telling visitors the fruit will be lush with gorgeous intense flavor.

Bruno's Crostini of Herbed Ricotta and an Anchovy

I can still remember strolling through the fragrant vineyards (I should say, eating my way through the vineyards) in awe of the sweet, juicy Sangiovese grapes.  The flavors so ripe and so sweet with a texture of velvet.  I kept pinching myself while thinking…   I’m in Tuscany, visiting the Cantine Leonardo da Vinci and the growers as a 2013 DaVinci Wine StorytellerAn enchanting week I will always remember.

Visiting one of the DaVinci Wine Growers Vineyard and Home

Visiting Bruno Rossetti’s Vineyard and Home

I felt so welcome. Such lovely hospitality with the most gracious of hosts and hostesses.  And of course, some of the most delicious food that has ever passed my lips.

While dining at the table of one of the growers, Bruno Rossetti and his lovely wife, I asked Bruno “what is your favorite crostini?”.  He replied “simply ricotta on crostini with an anchovy”, and then he gave me a million dollar smile.  Which of course melted my heart.  I smiled back and told him how brilliant and delicious his favorite crostini sounded.

I started making Bruno’s crostini the minute I returned home.  I’ve adapted them a bit, depending on what I have in my kitchen.  Most often adding a tablespoon of fresh chopped oregano and Italian parsley to the ricotta cheese.   Spreading the ricotta, sometimes homemade, onto the garlic laced crostini and then topping with an anchovy or two.  The perfect before or after dinner nibble paired with a glass DaVinci Chianti.

Voting for your favorite four 2014 DaVinci Wine Storytellers is nearing the end.  Twelve finalists have been chosen and they are depending on all of us to vote for our favorite four Storytellers.  Be sure to click HERE, and go vote!  You can vote once per day until voting ends.

Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,


Bruno’s Crostini


1 cup of whole milk ricotta that has been drained

Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes

Pinch of dried basil or dried mixed Italian herbs // during the summer I use 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano and Italian Parsley

2 cans of anchovies

Olive oil

Crostini (baguette slices that have been toasted and rubbed with half a garlic clove)


Whisk together the ricotta, crushed red pepper flakes and dried or fresh herbs.  This tastes best if it sits for about 30 minutes so the red pepper and herbs can infuse the ricotta.

Spread the ricotta on each Crostini and top with an anchovy.  Arrange on a platter and drizzle with good quality olive oil.  Garnish with fresh chopped Italian parsley if desired.

Serve your Holiday Antipasti Platters with DaVinci Chianti, DaVinci Chianti Reserve, DaVinci Pinot Grigio and if you’re lucky enough to score a bottle, the DaVinci Brunello.  Although I’d probably keep that for myself.

Buon Appetito!



Grilling Kid Friendly Sauces, Salsas and More Seafood Swordfish

Grilled Fish Topped with a Garlic Lemon Sauce

In the interest of family harmony, I decided to bring this delicious but simple little recipe back to the dinner table tonight.

Ranger Craig has been a super good sport testing all my new recipes, however, he’s recently requested I prepare a few of my older recipes which happen to be his favorites.  Well, of course I couldn’t say no to my favorite recipe tester.

This is one of those perfect summer sauce recipes that compliments most grilled fish.  I really like this sauce over grilled swordfish or grilled tuna.  Similar to the Italian Bagna Cauda sauce used as a dip for crudite, this sauce includes fresh lemon, as it brightens the delicious flavors of the anchovy and garlic.   It’s so simple you almost feel as if you’re missing an ingredient.  It couldn’t be easier or more delicious.  Flavorful enough to serve to dinner guests, but simple enough for a weeknight meal.

It’s also versatile (would I have it any other way?).  If your family doesn’t care for fish, this sauce is delicious served over grilled, roasted or pan seared chicken breasts.  Add a variety of different chopped herbs such as oregano, thyme and a pinch of chopped fresh rosemary and you have one spectacular sauce.

Keep dinner simple… and enjoy the flavors of life!  Happy Cooking!

Serves 3-4


1 1/2 lbs swordfish or tuna

1 tablespoon Anchovy paste

3 cloves garlic

3 tablespoons lemon juice

1 cup good extra virgin olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

1 tablespoon chopped fresh Italian parsley


In a blender or food processor, add the anchovy paste, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil and a dash of salt and pepper.  Blend until smooth.  Taste for seasoning.

Drizzle about a third of the sauce over the fish and coat well.  Let the fish marinade for a few minutes while the grill pre-heats to about 375F.  Grill the fish on each side for about 3-5 minutes depending on thickness and preference.  I like my tuna and swordfish a little more well done, however, some prefer tuna just quickly seared.

When the fish is done transfer to a platter and drizzle with additional sauce and sprinkle with fresh herbs.  Garnish with lemon wedges.

I love this fish served with a salad of fresh greens or little sweet red tomatoes and baby arugula tossed in a bit of the garlic lemon sauce and seasoned to taste.   Also delicious with roasted broccolini or asparagus.