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Bruschetta is one of those dishes I live for over the summer. Yet here we are in the middle of winter. I will say when you’re in the single digit temps freezing your butt off eating something that reminds you of warm sunshine is comforting. Now I call this winter bruschetta because, main ingredients in bruschetta are ones that are plentiful in the warmer months. I’m talking tomatoes and basil. I found a can of crushed tomatoes with basil that worked really well for a fresh tomato substitute. Then I did A LOT of research on pre-made pestos, there are a lot of options out there, and some are rather expensive. After said research, I decided on Amore Pesto Paste. The word paste was a little off putting but it turned out to be really delicious!
1 white baguette loaf
1/3 cup crushed tomatoes with basil
2 tablespoons minced red onion
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon pesto paste
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Fresh basil for topping, if available
Preheat oven to 350 degrees, line a baking sheet with foil. Cut baguette into 1 inch slices (the bakery section of some grocery stores has bags of pre cut baguette) and place on baking sheet. Mix together pesto paste and olive oil, then brush mixture on each baguette piece. Bake 5 minutes. While baking, mix together crushed tomatoes, onion and garlic. When 5 minutes are up put a pinch full (about a tablespoon) of shredded mozzarella on each baguette piece. Put back into oven 2 minutes to melt. Top each baguette piece with tomato mixture, drizzle with balsamic glaze and top with fresh basil if you can find any off season in the grocery store.
This is a crowd pleasing appetizer. I’ve already taken it to 2 events this winter. However, it doesn’t stay appealing to the eyes very long so my tip is if you’re bringing this somewhere wait to add the balsamic glaze until just before serving. It’s a rich brown color and once absorbed into the baguette it kind of gives the whole dish a brown color profile. However the balsamic glaze is so delicious and adds such a nice flavor to the bruschetta I doubt you’ll even notice the color.