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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!



Appetizers Karista's Kitchen Pork Seafood vegetarian

Holiday Antipasti Platter



Antipasti platter with crostini, salumi, and cheese

Holiday Antipasti Platter with Assorted Cheese, Salumi and Crostini

While visiting Tuscany this past Autumn, almost every meal began with an antipasti; signifying the beginning of the meal.  It’s a first course served to create anticipation of the meal to come, as well as stimulate the appetite without filling the stomach. Much like the French hors d’oeuvres and Spanish tapas or the American appetizer, Antipasti sets the stage for the dinner meal.

In Tuscany, antipasti usually consists of assorted dry cured meats, olives, cheese, roasted peppers, Crostini, marinated artichokes and traditional Bruschetta.  For a special occasion or light lunch the traditional pappa al pomodoro, ribollita (a lovely cabbage and bread stew) and rosemary white beans might be served.

Antipasti is the perfect starter for holiday celebrations, special occasions, dinner parties or social events. Lovely nibbles to build excitement of the event.

Holiday Antipasti Platter

This my favorite assortment of antipasti, including two of my favorite crostini and a traditional bruschetta.  Many of these were served for lunch or before dinner while visiting Tuscany with the Storytellers.  A delicious combination that pairs beautifully with all the DaVinci wines.

I created this platter for DaVinci Wine and it can be found on their Facebook page. Just click HERE.

Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love!

Buon Appetito,


PS: Wishing everyone a very happy and safe New Years Eve!


Appetizers Karista's Kitchen vegetarian

Roasted Grape Crostini

Roasted Grape Crostini

Roasted Grape Crostini

(Just one little question, I’m required by law to ask… By clicking on this link,  you affirm that you are of legal drinking age in the country where the site is being accessed.)

DaVinci wine is created in a magical place. Tuscany is a treat for the eyes as well as the palate. The air smells of sweet sun ripened grapes and fresh herbs, muddled with the earthy scent of mineral rich soil.

The beauty of the Tuscan region mirrors the beauty of its people and its food.  A culture rich with history and laced with passion. A passion that transcends all boundaries and flows effortlessly onto the family table.


Cantine Leonardo da Vinci

A Villa with a View


Traveling to Tuscany this Autumn with DaVinci wine, I experienced the lovely Tuscan people who so graciously shared their love of food, wine, history and culture.

I couldn’t write fast enough.  Or snap enough pictures to capture the awe inspiring landscape on which my eyes were feasting.  I found myself quietly content, and somewhat absorbed, at my place at each table; savoring the flavor of every bite of mouthwatering food.

Fresh pastas that melted on the tongue like butter, complimented by fresh, local porcini mushrooms tasting earthy and woody and dreamy.  Rich slow cooked ragu’s of wild boar and rosemary, salt cured salumi and fresh ricotta on Crostini, Bistecca alla Fiorentina, the traditional grilled Florentine Porterhouse steak that never wore out its welcome on my plate.  All the flavors so beautifully balanced, clean and never overpowering.

As I savored and contemplated each bite of moan inducing food, I sipped the most delicious DaVinci Chianti’s.  Wine rich and bold on the palate, yet subtle like soft velvet while I sipped.  And sip I did.  Yes, lots of sipping.

The DaVinci Chianti has long been a favorite of mine, however, among the lovely list of DaVinci wines, I have a new love.  The DaVinci Brunello. Our captivating and gracious DaVinci Brand Ambassador, Giacomo Alari, calls the Brunello “a very polite wine.  Once the Brunello is on your palate it is master of your palate. Not in power, but in elegance like cashmere.  A great wine doesn’t have to be powerful to be exquisite.”

I heard once that every bottle of wine has a story to tell.  That couldn’t be more true for the DaVinci Chianti.

To celebrate this glorious week in Tuscany I’ve created eight lovely little dishes.  They will be unveiled throughout the next few months, beginning with the Roasted Grape Crostini.  Check out the DaVinci Wine Facebook page to download a copy of the recipes.

Recipes inspired by a few enchanting people, stunning landscape and scrumptious moments.  Bewitching my heart as well as my palate.

Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love!

Buon Appetito,