What could be more summery than grilled peppers and squash heaped on toasted country bread that's slathered with fresh basil pesto? This versatile recipe works as a first course or even a whole meal.
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6 cups lightly packed basil leaves
6 garlic cloves
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
Freshly ground pepper
2 red bell peppers halved lengthwise
2 yellow bell pepper halved lengthwise
2 yellow squash halved lengthwise
2 zucchini halved lengthwise
1 large sweet onion, sliced 1/4 inch thick
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
freshly ground pepper
5 large ripe tomatoes, diced
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup chopped parsley
3 tablespoons sherry vinegar
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 tablespoon thyme
Ten 1-inch slices of country bread
4 ounces ricotta salata, thinly sliced, for garnish
How to Make It
Light a grill. In a food processor, mince the basil and garlic, then add the oil and process to a paste. Transfer to a bowl and fold in the grated cheese. Season the pesto with salt and pepper.
Brush the bell peppers, squash, zucchini and sweet onion with oil; season with salt and pepper. Grill the vegetables over moderately high heat, turning once, until charred and just tender. Discard the charred skin from the peppers. Cut the grilled vegetables into 1-inch squares and transfer to a large bowl. Add the tomatoes and red onion.
In a small bowl, whisk the 3/4 cup of oil with the lemon juice, parsley, vinegar, garlic and thyme. Season with salt and pepper, pour it over the vegetables and toss.
Brush the bread on both sides with oil. Grill over moderately high heat, turning once, until toasted, 2 minutes. Spread each toast with a rounded tablespoon of the pesto, then top with the grilled vegetables and the ricotta salata and serve.
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