Roasted Root Vegetable Crostini with Basil Pesto

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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  • Active:
  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 10
KEY: Fall, Winter, Roasting, Christmas, Cocktail Party, Holiday Open House, Italian, Appetizers/starters, Make Ahead, Vegetarian

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Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 3 tablespoons freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese
  • 1 garlic clove, smashed, plus 1 head garlic, halved crosswise
  • 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 cups basil leaves
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 3/4 pound Jerusalem artichokes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 3/4 pound parsnips, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice (2 cups)
  • 2 thyme sprigs
  • 2 tablespoons aged balsamic vinegar
  • Ten 1/2-inch-thick slices of rustic white bread
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/2 pound imported Fontina cheese, thinly sliced

How to make this recipe

  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.

Contributed By Published December 2008

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