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Roasted Root Vegetable Crostini with Basil Pesto

  • ACTIVE: 30 MIN
  • SERVINGS: 10

For a simple, sophisticated hors d'oeuvre, Fabio Trabocchi tops crisp toasts with a bright basil pesto, caramelized Jerusalem artichokes and parsnips and warm Fontina, a cow's-milk cheese from Italy's Valle d'Aosta region that melts beautifully.

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  1. 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons pine nuts
  2. 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  3. 3 tablespoons freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese
  4. 1 garlic clove, smashed, plus 1 head garlic, halved crosswise
  5. 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  6. 4 cups basil leaves
  7. Salt and freshly ground pepper
  8. 3/4 pound Jerusalem artichokes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
  9. 3/4 pound parsnips, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice (2 cups)
  10. 2 thyme sprigs
  11. 2 tablespoons aged balsamic vinegar
  12. Ten 1/2-inch-thick slices of rustic white bread
  13. 1/4 cup sliced almonds
  14. 1/2 pound imported Fontina cheese, thinly sliced
  1. Preheat the oven to 400°. In a food processor, combine the pine nuts with the Parmigiano-Reggiano, Pecorino Romano, smashed garlic clove and 3/4 cup of the olive oil and pulse until smooth. Add the basil and pulse until finely chopped. Season the pesto with salt and pepper.
  2. In a roasting pan, toss the Jerusalem artichokes with the parsnips, thyme sprigs, garlic head and the remaining 1/4 cup of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Roast the vegetables for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally, until tender and golden. Discard the garlic and thyme; stir in the vinegar.
  3. Meanwhile, arrange the bread slices on a large baking sheet and toast in the oven until lightly browned, about 8 minutes. Spread the almonds in a pie plate and toast until golden, about 5 minutes.
  4. Preheat the broiler and position a rack 6 inches from the heat. Spread each toast with a rounded tablespoon of the pesto. Top with the roasted vegetables and Fontina. Broil for about 1 minute, until the cheese is just melted. Sprinkle with the toasted almonds and serve right away.
Make Ahead
The roasted root vegetables and basil pesto can be refrigerated separately, covered, overnight.