Crostini e Bruschette

A few weeks ago I posted my last recipe in the series of making cheese at home, Italian Mozzarella. Within that post were photos of crostini & bruschette and, with the holidays quickly approaching, I thought this the perfect time to share both recipes. Besides, if you were successful and made a couple of pounds of mozzarella, eventually you’re going to tire of eating it “by the chunk” — and that’s when these recipes will come into play.

First a definition of terms. The word crostini means little toasts, whereas bruschetta has as its origin bruscare, to char or roast. They sound pretty similar to me. I’ve always thought the difference to be in the bread used. When I make crostini, I use a baguette, thinly sliced on the diagonal. For bruschette, I use a thicker slice taken from a loaf of Italian bread. I toast both before piling on the fixin’s and sometimes pop them back into the oven afterward. It really does depend on what’s being used to top each off. And speaking of the fixin’s, you can use pretty much anything you like.  Just stick with fresh ingredients and you won’t go wrong.

About a year ago, I posted a recipe for Gorgonzola and Honey Bruschette. At the time, I mentioned that I often use my toaster to toast the bread beforehand and store it in airtight containers until needed later that day. This is particularly helpful when entertaining. It’s just one less thing to worry about.  No matter when you toast the bread, though, try to serve these bruschette directly after preparation or they may become sodden.

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Mozzarella and Tomato Bruschette Recipe


  • ⅔ inch (1.7 cm) slices of Italian bread
  • plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • garlic, minced
  • a few tbsp of sweet onion, diced
  • fresh mozzarella, cut in 1/2 inch cubes
  • fresh basil leaves, hand torn
  • Italian seasoning
  • olive oil
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • dried oregano
  • salt & pepper


  1. Slice bread, brush with olive oil, and toast lightly
  2. Add a couple of tablespoons of olive oil to a frying pan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic, sautéing for about a minute. Do not let the garlic burn.
  3. Add the tomatoes, season with salt and pepper, and cook until heated through.
  4. Remove from heat, add the basil, Italian seasoning, balsamic, and olive oil. Mix well and taste before seasoning with salt and pepper. Set aside.
  5. Add the cubed mozzarella once the tomato mixture has cooled to room temperature.
  6. When ready to serve, spoon some of the tomato-mozzarella mixture on top of each toasted bread slice, season lightly with salt and cracked black pepper, and garnish with a light sprinkling of dried oregano.

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Crostini alla Caprese Recipe


  • ½ inch (1.2 cm) thick slices of baguette, cut on the diagonal
  • cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  • fresh mozzarella, cut in ¼ inch (.6 cm) slices
  • fresh basil leaves
  • olive oil
  • red wine vinegar
  • salt & pepper


  1. Slice bread, brush with olive oil, and toast lightly.
  2. Pre-heat oven to 400˚F (204˚ C).
  3. Place tomatoes in a bowl, season with salt & pepper, and drizzle with olive oil.
  4. Place tomatoes on a baking sheet and then into the oven to roast for about 15 to 20 minutes. Do not allow to roast so long that the tomatoes completely collapse.
  5. Meanwhile, place a slice of fresh mozzarella and then a few small basil leaves atop each piece of toast.
  6. Remove tomatoes from the oven and when cool enough to handle, place one tomato half, cut-side down, on each piece of the toast with mozzarella and basil. If you prefer, add a light drizzle of olive oil and a few drops of red wine vinegar.  Serve immediately.

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These antipasti should be made using fresh mozzarella. No, you needn’t make it yourself and you can find it now in most large grocery stores. Just to be clear, I’m not talking about the pre-shredded stuff used when making pizza. Fresh mozzarella is usually ball-shaped and is often packaged in water/whey. If you’re unsure, ask a person working at your store’s deli counter for assistance.

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It’s déjà vu all over again …

Since this post is somewhat party themed, I thought it best to resurrect a recipe that’s perfect when entertaining a large group. Cut into 3 inch squares, your guests will have no trouble munching on this bit of cheesecake while sipping on their cocktails, You can find the recipe for this Cherry Cheesecake Pizza by clicking HERE. If you need help deciding which cocktail(s) to serve, do what I do. Click HERE or HERE. While you’re there, be sure to take some time to check out both Greg’s and John’s blogs. You won’t be disappointed.

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Coming soon to a monitor near you …

The Ketchup That Came Down The Mountain

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The Proverbial Last Rose of Summer

“Sunset Celebration”

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130 thoughts on “Crostini e Bruschette

  1. Sunset celebration is a beautiful way to end the day. Just gorgeous
    And I will buy some fresh mozzarella and try to recreate your masterpieces! Your photos make me feel so hungry after a long evening. Awaiting good words from Chicago right now even though I have to get up in a few hours.

    • Thank you, Ruth. I hope you enjoy these antipasti as much a I do.
      Yes, It’s going to be a late night. I’m waiting up until at least his acceptance speech. Luckily, I’ve nothing scheduled for the morning. Have a good night. Don’t stay up too late! :)

  2. John thank you for another great appetizer recipe for my upcoming gathering. I always make bruschetta with the usual tomatoes and herbs and such but for some reason I never thought to add in fresh mozzarella. This makes for one substantial appetizer. I will still have to make a million of them to fill up my hungry teenagers but none the less very substantial and tasty. Take Care, BAM

    • Glad to be of help, BAM. Your comments of your young men remind me of the Boys Upstairs. If I make a big pot of sauce or some pasta dish, I’ll send some upstairs for them. Well, they’re entering their teens now and I have to keep increasing the amount of food I send them or their Mom doesn’t get anything to eat! :)
      Have a great week!

      • I am laughing as I am reading your response. It is so true. We just finished dinner as a family and because o my hungry teenagers all I got was the scraps. I am still so hungry. I guess that helps keep my weight in check. Take care, BAM

    • Thank you! For me, the key to any appetizer is “easy.” I’m usually running around the kitchen, trying to get the dinner onto the table. An appetizer that’s easy to make and serve is just what’s needed.

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  7. This post arrived in the nick of time as I’m planning an Italian dinner party for Saturday! The Culinary Enthusiast and I were just talking last night about what to serve as the antipasto. I’m thinking of a platter of goodies, and the crostini would be a perfect addition to it! Thanks for sharing the last rose of summer, a glimpse of what we will be hoping for all through the winter ahead — the beautiful flowers of spring and summer.

    • The crostini are so easy to make, Mar, that they’re perfect when entertaining. I hope you like them.
      It was nice looking out into the yard and seeing this rose in bloom. A little bright spot before that white stuff covers everything. Brrr.

  8. May favorite appetizer!!! With these fresh ingredients, these surely wouldn’t last long! Ok ok, they wouldn’t last long because I would eat it all! I am so excited to try this and your gorgonzola and honey bruschette over the holidays!!!

    • Thanks, Tanya. I always make an extra one or two of these for the “chef.” It gets lonely in the kitchen, you know. :)
      I think you’ll like the gorgonzola bruschette. They seem to disappear whenever I serve them. It’s the salt and sweet combo that works every time!

  9. Both recipes are making me hungry and i just had breakfast. Particularly like the Mozzarella and Tomato Bruschette Recipe, the topping is very versatile.
    Thanks for sharing Sunset celebration, just waht is needed for today’s windy, cold and dreary weather.

    • Glad you like them, Norma, and thank you. I’ve a couple other roses in bloom but the cold weather has impacted the blooms. This one here is perfect for helping me to remember Summer during the cold days ahead,

  10. I remember the gorgonzolla and honey, and remember it well and have made it a few times :) Nothing better than fresh, thanks for the reminder to make some bruschette John.
    Aaahhhh of into the sunset celebrating :)

    • Glad you made and enjoyed the gorgonzola bruschette, Claire. They are good, aren’t they? These, too, are good, benefiting from the creaminess of the fresh mozzarella. Glad you enjoyed this final rose, too. Just wait until next year!

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  12. These look wonderful & there is nothing like fresh mozzarella. I just made my BLAT salad last night (tomato/avocado/bacon with a creamy dressing) and finally got to make your plum cobbler for dessert with whipped cream. It was wonderful & we all thank you for that delicious recipe.

  13. I’m just astonished that you still have a rose blooming on the vine!! Just spectacular and such a cheery sight for our brown prairie days ahead. (All the fairy snow has melted and left.. well, brown grass behind.) I could be completely contented with a baguette, sliced thick today, slathered in your mozzarella and tomato fixins’.. drizzled liberally with olive oil. Yes, then I would be utterly content. The flavors with homemade mozzarella must be phenomenal, sigh. I’m off to check out your pizza, that looks sparklingly pretty! I’ve just finished a swim and I’m famished, this is gonna be torture!! xx

    • Your swimming post still has me smiling, Barb. I really enjoyed it.
      There are a few other roses to bloom but the cold has affected them. I couldn’t believe this one bloomed so perfectly. One last hurrah before the snows.
      This is my favorite kind of appetizer, quick to prepare & tasty. I’m not the most organized of cooks, so, when I’ve got a houseful of hungry guests, easy appetizers keep them busy and let me focus on the keeping things from burning in the kitchen. :)

  14. I could almost reach through the monitor and grab one of those delectable looking bruchettas…they look beautiful and delicious!! And being the avid gardener that I am…Loved that last photo of the last rose of summer…Gorgeous…it reminds me of the Peace rose!!
    I looked at the recipe for the cherry cheesecake and…this is going to be a dumb question…but do you layer the two pastries on top of one another, or side by side to fit the pan?? Duh!! :)

    • Yes, This one does look like a Peace Rose, which happened to be my Mom’s favorite rose. How she babied hers!
      I should have been more clear when I wrote the cheesecake recipe. When I use a rectangular sheet, I lay them sid by side so that they’ll cover the entier sheet. When Mom used a round pizza pie pan, she put one atop the other and used a rolling pin to roll them out to fit the pan. I hope this cleared things up for you.

    • Thanks, Geni. I’ll try anything I can do to save me some time when I’m serving guests. It’s either that or get better organized — like that will ever happen! :)

  15. Your recipes and photos instantly make my mouth water, John. I can almost taste those wonderful ingredients soaking up into the wonderfully toasted bread. And thanks for the tip on the toaster; we generally fire up the BBQ and toast en mass. But then again, I’ve toasted a few slices on the gas of my stove too! The photo of the Crostini alla Caprese Recipe looks like you have roses on top of the mozzarella…I had to look twice.
    This might just be the inspiration I needed for the hors d’œuvres for a dinner party next weekend. Thanks John.

    • Thanks, Eva, for being so complimentary. I’ve tried using the barbecue for toasting the bread but it requires monitoring and something always seems to distract me. On the other hand, I can put 4 slices or bread into my toaster and forget about it until they pop up. The odds of my burning anything are greatly reduced.
      Good luck with your dinner party — though I doubt you’ll need it. :)

  16. Gosh, such great appetizers! Anything with tomato and mozzarella always gets my attention, and both your bruschette and crostini look terrific. I haven’t done these for awhile, and need to remedy that, and soon! Great photos, too. Such a nice post. Thanks for that, and also thanks for the link! I really appreciate that.

    • Thanks, John. It’s a happy circumstance to be successful making mozzarella and have to use it. Because the cheese isn’t at all cooked or even heated, it retains that fresh taste, making these antipasti really good. The fact that they’re so easy to make is an added bonus.
      You’ve a great collection of cocktails on your site and I enjoy that you give a history for each. I could have used the info when I was working behind the bar. :)

  17. I LOVE bruschette (even though the Italians are always correcting my pronunciation of it! :))! Both your versions look mouthwatering, John! I’m about to have a non-cheese version for breakfast – a couple of slices of ciabatta toasted, topped with a tiny bit of chilli oil and oven roasted tomatoes. :)

    • That is my kind of breakfast — or lunch, for that matter. What is it about roasted tomatoes on bread? I’ve enjoyed the combination since i was a boy and I know Summer is here when I can roast tomatoes from my own garden. Next time, though, I’ll try a touch of chili oil, Thanks for the inspiration. :)

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  19. Um. I’m not tired of eating chunks of that Italian Mozzarella yet. Should I worry? ;)

    I love this recipe, John. And you’ve pointed out something that’s been bugging me about our own attempts at good bruschetta – the bread. We use baguettes, and that stops now. I wish I would have thought to use the loaf Italian bread before now. It seems so simple when I read it up there. Ugh. Bear with me, I really am learning…promise :)

    I really appreciate having this recipe. Thank you. What is it about Italian food that is so perfect for this time of year? It just makes me happy – cooking it and eating it.

    Sunset Celebration is breathtaking!!!

    • Oh! So, you caught the chunk comment did you? I thought you might, hehehe
      My brushetta toppings tend to be more moist than what I use on crostini. A slice of Italian bread just seems to work better. And if the slice is too large, I just cut it in half, like many restaurants do.
      Your comments, Sarah, always leave me smiling. Thank you.

  20. This is our youngest son’s favorite food. He absolutely loves bruschette. When we would go out to eat Italian, he always got his own appetizer of bruschette because he doesn’t like to share. :o I think I will send him a link to this just to make him homesick. :D

    • Thanks, Richard. When I was still living in Detroit, when Mom thought it had been too long between my visits, she would let slip her plans for Sunday dinner. It worked every time. I’d arrive and there’d be a place already set for me at the table. :)

  21. This is example of perfect food: simple, good ingredients, heathy, beautiful… and then I went over to Gorgonzola and Honey Bruschette… beyond perfect :) And, entertaining.

    • Thanks, EllaDee. When entertaining, my appetizers have to be simple and easy to prepare so that I can keep all of my attention for the main course. Of course, no matter how easy they are to make, setting them on fire can upset things a bit. :)

  22. Oh my why did I open this while I am hungry? My mouth is watering over these perfect pictures. I must try this. Glad to see the flower return at the end of your post.


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  24. Good to know the difference between crostini and bruschetta….I’ll check with Liz to make sure she concurs. I don’t want to “offend” the wife. ;-) And no I still haven’t made the cheese yet…hoping to squeeze it in this weekend.

  25. John, well I definitely need to do this for Thanksgiving. In our restaurant we did two bruschettas, white bean and tomato basil and then once a week usually on Friday it was “Chef’s Choice”. Our chef was imported from the east coast, Maine specifically. He did some really interesting combinations, most absolutely awesome. We could have used you in the kitchen. Looks fabulous.

    • That’s the thing about bruschetta, Susie. The possibilities are endless. Coming from Maine, I bet your chef had some amazing seafood-based ones.
      I don’t know but I think you’d rather I had been seated at a table in your restaurant than in the kitchen. At least I’d have paid for all that I ate while seated at a table. :)

  26. Alas, I will still have to buy my fresh mozzarello as I’ve still have not attempted cheese making on my own!! I love these appetizers and they are always on my go to list. I will roast my tomatoes now too. I like that it makes for a warmer appetizer too now that its chilly out. And look at me, talking about chilly weather! This is a first!!

    • I read “chilly” and thought it odd and then you wrote pretty much the same thing. Too funny!
      Like you, bruschette are my go to appetizers. They’re quick and easy to prepare and perfect for entertaining. And these will be fine with store-bought mozzarella, just so long as it’s fresh. That bagged, grated stuff just won’t do! :)

  27. I completely agree with you on the “appetizer = easy” – I think one of the major mistakes I made in my “youth” (he, he, he, that sounds funny) was to try to come up with too elaborate appetizers and then dinner. Silly. Appetizers should not make the cook feel like he/she ran a marathon ;-)

    loved this post, but I haven’t met a post of yours I didn’t like… :-)..

    • Wow, Sally, That’s a nice thing to say. Thank you.
      We’re of the same mind. The only way my dinner guests will get complicated appetizers is if they can be made a day ahead or one of the guest brings them. :)

  28. I, too\, am waiting for the ketchup post. I got some Stonewall Kitchen Country Ketchup a few weeks ago and am crazy about it. So, I’ve been wanting to try to duplicate it. FWIW, your pic looks just like their ketchup. I have hopes!
    The trouble with appetizers like these is that the topping never gets to the toasts. All that chopped up tomato and mozz just calls to me, and I eat it right out of the bowl. ;) Thank goodness I have a healthy party pantry with plenty of topping options. And my guests will never know what they missed! Unless they read your blog. Hmmm.

    • Oh, Ruthie, Your commets brought a smile. I’m forever “having a taste” when I’m getting things ready to be served. By the time I sit to have dinner with my friends, I’m stuffed.
      The ketchup is very good, unlike any I’ve had before. All of my friends, my tasters, love it. I hope you’ll agree.

  29. Oh John! Both recipes sound delicious. I can’t decide, so now I have to try them both. I’ll have to invite some friends over just for that ;) I gather that they are served at room temperature, or may I pop them in the oven after garnished. I ask you because the basil leaves may wilt with the heat.
    Thanks for sharing :)

    • Thank you, Giovanna. Yes, these would be perfect to serve your friends with a liittle bit of wine. :)
      I serve them both at room temperature, although the cherry tomatoes may be a little warm yet from the oven. They can easily be warmed in the oven, if that’s your preference. If you’re worried about the basil, add a little more just before serving, or, don’t include it until after you remove everything from the oven. EIther way will be fine. :)

  30. I didn´t get a notification of your post :( but I thought I´d pop over to check and you haven´t disappointed! These are a firm favourite in our house but it´s good to be reminded that something so simple made with the best ingredients can be soooo good :)

    • So glad you made it, Tanya. If anyone would be making these, it would be you. :) They are good, aren’t they? Just perfect for entertaining.
      Next week’s post about the “Ketchup that Came Down the Mountain” is pretty much your ketchup recipe — and the post says so. I hope you don’t mind.

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  32. This really is one of my favorite “tastes” to be sure! I love the combination of Italian bread, olive oil, basil, mozzarella and tomatoes…it’s never too much, and always just enough. I wouldn’t have thought of the vinegar, but that makes sense. So often crostini is served in restaurants as a starter, but I honestly think of it as a perfect meal. I must remember this for some of the holiday entertaining that is coming up. And I’m curious to see what your recipe for ketchup looks like, John. I’m posting in a couple of days about ketchup–no recipe and nothing at all about something delicious. You have undoubtedly elevated ketchup to something I’d really enjoy! From the bottle, I’m not much of a fan! :-)

    • I enjoy these flavors, as well, Debra. I’ll add a bit of red wine vinegar because I like the little ‘zing’ that it brings to these crostini.
      The ketchup recipe will be posted on Wednesday. Tanya (Chica Andaluza) posted it last year and I’ve been making it ever since, though mine is a bit less spicy. It is unlike any ketchup I’ve ever tasted and each of my friends would agree. I hope you will, too.

  33. It’s clearly time for a party! (That crostini ala Caprese is most definitely on the list! We find these little tomatoes packed with flavor all year round, so this is a great use for them!) Really like your idea of toasting ahead of time too! I’ve got to pin this post!

    • I agree, Spree, that the cherry tomatoes are pretty good year round and far better than their larger cousins are in Winter. For me, it’s either cherry tomatoes or sun dried. We just cannot get good tasting tomatoes this far North in the late Fall and Winter months and I quit buying them years ago. Thanks, Spree. I’m honored that you’d pin one of my recipes.

  34. I usually make my crostini, with a sprinkle of olive oil, by the hundred in the oven until they are quite crunchy then store them in a jar. Making them quickly in the toaster is a great idea if you have an unexpected craving~! Gorgeous toppings too.. i shall be making these when I get to NZ.. surprise them all with something really different! and tasty,. c

    • Ya know, Celi, I never would have thought to toast so many slices ahead of time but it makes total sense, especially with the holidays approaching. I’ll just have to set the timer for each batch because I’ll surely get distracted and forget about them until I smell something burning — or the smoke alarm goes off. Sad but true.
      If you do make these for the gang back West, I hope they like them. :)

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    • And I did. The day I photographed these, I started snacking on the “rejects” and, well, after I finished the shots, I finished all of the mozzarella. It’s tough being a blogger. :)

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  38. Hi John, I am so happy to “see” you again… :) Your posts are very unique and close to my heart, and I missed being here. I often buy a baguette to make crostini just to find out few hours later that teenager ate all baguette! :) Unless I cut and put slices in the oven like the very same moment I come home, my crostini are only a dream… :) There is nothing better than crostini and bruschette, love-love it!

    • Good to “see” you, too, Marina. Thank you for your kind words and I share your love for these antipasti.
      You sound like my Mom when we were in our teens. She’d try to hide things from us. It never worked. :)

  39. Anything with tomatoes and mozzarella is typically one of my favorites. I love a good salad, crostini (or bruschette). It just tastes so fresh and has all of the right texture sensations for me too. I have to remember your tip about using the toaster too. That will be very helpful. Miss A would be all over this as well (if I switch the tomatoes to strawberries that is). :)

    • Thank you so much. THe great thing about these 2 is how easy they are to assemble. You can get these served and spend the time you save socializing rather than checking on appetizers.

  40. Ah, this post makes me miss the fresh garden basil and tomatoes already. In my opinion, Bruschette is heavenly noshing with crisp bread, peak of ripeness fresh toppings. It could only be better if I were sitting in the midst of Sunset Celebration roses on the patio. :)

    • Me, too, Judy. Still, cherry tomatoes do taste pretty good in the Winter months and both of these can be made using them. Even so, we’re a long way from picking a tomato from a backyard vine and eating it on the spot.

  41. HOLY MOLY this looks incredible. I love bruschetta, but mine would never be as delicious as yours because it wouldn’t have homemade cheese (well, unless I get the courage/time to try and make some). Ah, is it lunch time yet?!

  42. Oh my, I missed this post last week on my way out of town. I love, love, love bruschetta…to the point of I could make a meal off of them. And these two combos of tomato and mozzarella are faves of mine! :) Can’t believe you have such a spectacular rose blooming this time of year and in the temps you guys have had. What a beauty!

    • I’m with you about the bruschetta, Betsy. THey are so tasty for such an easy appetizer to prepare. Once I got my pictures taken that afternoon, I had a mini-feast. It was a good day! :)

  43. Pingback: Easy Italian Food - Using Authentic Homemade Italian Bread | Italian Food

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