Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Mushroom Pesto Crostini

A very easy to make and delicious appetizer recipe from Giada De Laurentiis. And I love trying different pesto recipes, so I had to give this one a try. You can actually make a dip out of it by adding extra olive oil.

Although the recipe uses 2 kinds of mushrooms, you can use just as many or as little kinds of mushrooms as you want. And sauteing them beforehand intensifies the taste wonderfully. You can also saute the walnuts a bit.

I like adding a little bit more garlic to this recipe. To me, it wasn't enough.

You can also add some chives or green onions that are chopped finely on top of the crostinis, because although the taste is great, the color is not all that appetizing. And it can turn darker as it waits around. I will try to add a couple of drops of lemon next time, that should help with the browning.

You can use the leftovers as a part of a sauce for a pasta dish. Just add some to cream and Parmesan, and then add to pasta.


MUSHROOM PESTO CROSTINI

Ingredients:

1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
8 ounces white button mushrooms, quartered
1/2 cup walnuts, toasted
2 garlic cloves
1 1/2 cups fresh Italian parsley leaves
3/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
36 slices (1/2-inch-thick) baguette bread

Directions:
Place the porcini mushrooms in a bowl of hot water; press to submerge. Let stand until the mushrooms are tender, about 15 minutes. Scoop out mushrooms, being carefully not to stir any dirt that may have sunk to the bottom of the water. Discard mushroom water.

Combine the porcini mushrooms, button mushrooms, walnuts, garlic, and parsley in a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. With the machine running, gradually add 1/2 cup of the oil, blending just until the mushrooms are finely chopped.

Transfer the mushroom mixture to a medium bowl. Stir in the Parmesan. Season the pesto with salt and pepper, to taste. If not using mushroom pesto right away, cover tightly with plastic wrap to prevent possible discoloration of mushrooms.

Preheat a grill pan to medium-high heat. Arrange the bread slices on pan, cut-side down. Brush the remaining 1/4 cup of oil over the bread slices. Cook until pale golden and crisp, about 5 minutes.

Alternatively, you can toast the bread in the oven. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Arrange the bread slices on 2 heavy large baking sheet. Brush the remaining 1/4 cup of oil over the bread slices. Bake until pale golden and crisp, about 15 minutes.

Spread the mushroom pesto over the crostini. Arrange the crostini on a platter and serve.

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