Tomato Bruschetta With Ricotta Cheese

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This shadow in this picture looks a little like a hungry monster is about to devour this piece of bread, and that's probably not far from the truth.  This little toast is another example of how the simplest dishes can be the best, especially when you use fresh, in season produce.  We ate way more bread than we should because of this bruschetta.

Bruschetta is nothing new.  It's like Italian chips and salsa, only instead of chips, you use little pieces of toast, and instead of a salsa containing onion and pepper, it's a mixture of tomatoes and olive oil.  YUM!

The addition of ricotta cheese is actually a little bit of a fluke.  I was making eggplant involtini, and had some leftover ricotta filling, which just happened to work perfectly slathered on the toasts and topped with the tomato mixture.  

With or without the ricotta, this is still one of the most simple and delicious things I've made all summer.

Tomato Bruschetta With Ricotta Cheese
Serves several as an appetizer

1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved or quartered, depending on size
1/4 c Extra Virgin Olive Oil
A few basil leaves, cut in chiffonade (about 1 Tb.)
Bread slices (baguette works well here)
Garlic clove
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
Salt and Pepper

Make your toast:  Preheat oven to 350.  Arrange bread on a baking sheet (I line mine with foil for easier cleanup) and drizzle both sides with olive oil.  Toast in oven, flipping halfway through, about 10 minutes.  You may need to adjust time for your own oven.  Remove and rub lightly with a garlic clove.

In a medium bowl, place your tomatoes, about 2 Tb olive oil, and your basil leaves.  Salt and pepper to taste.  I probably put in 1/2 tsp. salt and 4 grinds of the pepper mill.  Stir and allow to sit for a few minutes.

In a small bowl, stir together ricotta, lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste.  

When ready to serve, smear the ricotta cheese onto the toasts and top with the tomato mixture.  

Make Ahead:  The tomatoes are best when made not too long before serving, but you could toast the bread and make the ricotta mixture ahead of time.

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