I just got back from a four day trip to Rome, Italy where I ate, walked, ate, visited some historic sites, ate, shopped, did tons of work for my real job, and ate some more. I enjoyed every minute of Rome. For a full recap of my week in Rome with photos, videos and my own commentary, check out last week’s This Week on Instagram post.
Italians know how to live, and most importantly, they know how to eat. At restaurants, you never feel rushed. The waiters don’t stop by your table every five minutes to take your plates away and offer you the check. In Italy, mealtime is a laid back time with flowing table wine, a starter, main course, dessert and dessert drinks (at the very least). The waiters give you space to enjoy your meal and conversation. They check up on how your dish– likely one they recommended– tastes. They definitely don’t rush the check. Most of the time in Rome, we had to explicitly ask for the check. I loved the food in Rome. I ate my weight in pizza, pasta and gelato, and drank wine like it was water. I’m almost positive the wine was cheaper than water.
At most of my sit-down meals, I ordered a bruschetta starter. Bruschetta, pronounced broo-ske-tta, is made up of thick slices of grilled Italian bread, rubbed with garlic and topped with olive oil and salt. Popular to contrary belief, classic bruschetta doesn’t actually come with tomatoes. Tomatoes are an add-on. Other toppings could include veggies, cured meat or cheese. Another notable difference between our “Americanized” version of bruschetta and true Italian bruschetta is the use of grilled, thick, Italian bread, as opposed to small French bread rounds or even hardened baguette rounds.
Every single bruschetta I had in Rome was delectable. I always ordered mine with tomatoes — except that one time a group of us went to dinner and ordered “bruschetta classico.” After waiting 10 minutes or so for the missing tomatoes, our waiter explained that we had ordered “classico.” Classico does not include tomatoes, it’s basically grilled garlic bread with olive oil. Luckily for us, he was very kind, and brought us new Roma tomato-topped bruschetta. The tomatoes! The Roma Tomatoes! They’re the most delicious tomatoes I’ve ever had. Packed with flavor, and not too hard or too soft, they were so perfect. Since leaving Rome, I’ve been dreaming about those ripe tomatoes over grilled garlic bread. I had to make some at home. Of course, I don’t have access to the same Roma tomatoes like I did abroad, but I made due with Roma tomatoes from Wegmans . Pro tip: the bread tastes so much better if you can grill it on an outdoor grill.
Italian Inspired Garlic Olive Oil Bruschetta
- 6 Roma Tomatoes
- 1-2 tablespoons Olive Oil + 2 tablespoons for brushing
- 2-3 tablespoons Red Wine Vinegar
- Salt, to taste
- 4 cloves Garlic, minced
- 6 Slices Pane Italian Bread, sliced
- 1 whole Garlic clove, for rubbing the bread
- 1/2 cup Baby Arugula
- Prepare the tomatoes by cutting a small slit at one end of each tomato
- In a medium pot, bring water to a boil
- Meanwhile, prepare a large bowl with ice water for blanching
- Once the water boils, carefully place the whole tomatoes in the water. Cover and boil on high for 2 minutes then turn heat off.
- Using a slotted spoon, scoop out the tomatoes and place them in the ice water. Wait about 2 minutes, before removing the tomatoes from the ice water onto a paper-towel lined plate.
- You'll notice that the skin has started to peel. Peel the tomatoes, then cut into small cubes
- In a medium bowl, mix together minced garlic, olive oil and red wine vinegar then set aside
- Place a grill pan over high heat (or use an outdoor grill)
- Cut the Pane bread into 1 1/2 inch slices
- Place Italian bread slices on the grill, cooking each side for 5-7 minutes (until slightly charred), then flipping over to grill the other side for another 3-5 minutes. Watch the bread carefully, especially if using an outdoor grill.
- Remove bread from heat. While still warm, use the whole garlic clove to rub one side of each piece of bread, then brush liberally with olive oil.
- Top each bread slice with the tomatoes and baby arugula