When I think back on adolescence, I vividly remember my awkward growth-phenomenon that started veeeery prematurely. After each newly purchased pair of flared jeans I’d sprout two inches unexpectedly, leaving me with forever bare ankles and wrists. Those were the same days I could actually consume an entire box of frosted mini wheats in one afternoon, and never look back. (Ha, sounds AWESOME.) My appetite was so aggressive, homemade dinner was totally not my initiative.
But there was a specific afternoon after school, when the infamous Puttanesca dish occurred – an unforeseen venture in my culinary world. It all went down in Hannah’s kitchen. Next to their oven was a parade of dried herbs I couldn’t pronounce and a tin of never-before-seen kitchen tools. It started innocent, and ended with pot after bowl after can after spoon dressing every countertop. It was essentially a perfect nightmare for her parent’s 5:00 p.m. return to home. I probably had tomato in my hair and between my toes.
We spent hours deep in our recipe. But when it was over, we didn’t know the difference, and were so proud. After a couple Puttanesca repeats, we declared it our signature dish.. Probably not knowing it was Italian.
Ironically, nothing has changed about my ways in the kitchen – many would attest that it is ALWAYS a hot mess scene when I get cooking. I have this special ability to make a one-pan-dish into ten (dishes..), and practically use every knife in the drawer. But it wouldn’t taste as good if not, riiiiight??
This bruschetta is a simple sampling of that very first Puttanesca dish, with a few ingredients left behind. It’s easy to put together – especially if you think of roasting ahead for later. The best part is – no silver ware necessary – the key to conquering the dish washer blues!
roasted tomato & garlic bruschetta
a full head of garlic
herbs de provence
parmesan cheese, flaked
a bundle of basil
a small handful of capers
Heat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius, or 350 Fahrenheit.
Chop the top off the head of garlic, so that all the cloves are exposed. Do not peel off it’s outer, paper-like skin. Drizzle olive oil over it, with salt and pepper. Wrap it into tin foil, as a small bundle.
Halve tomatoes if large or do not chop at all. Drizzle olive oil generously over them and sprinkle herbs de provence.
Cook for roughly 30 minutes, or until the tops of tomatoes are splitting and sizzling – and maybe get slightly blackened (it’s up to you!). The garlic can stay in for 45 minutes.
Cut italian bread into small halves – making them easy to pick up as finger food. When the garlic is done, take the cloves out of their skin, and mush them together in a small bowl with a fork. Spread the garlic over the italian bread.
For the tomatoes, take them off your roasting pan, and put them in a mixing bowl. Gently cut them with your fork – but not a lot! You want them to be chunky with the skin on. Throw some capers into your tomato mix. They are salty, so use sparingly.
Meanwhile, toast the garlic bread lightly, so they are still soft but have a crunch on the crust.
Now you’re ready to assemble – put the tomato and caper mix onto the garlic bread. Throw on a basil leaf, and a piece of flaked parmesan.