Artichoke and cheese crostini
Never dismiss stale bread; clever Italian cooks give it new life as crostini (also called bruschetta). The Italian word crostini means little toasts because the bread is fried in a little olive oil, or grilled to toast it and then topped with an endless variety of savory spreads like artichoke and cheese. Crostini success depends on the quality of the bread; a country style loaf with a tight crumb is best, or a baguette is good, too; just don’t use spongy, soft bread. This makes enough for a crowd.
Portions: Serves 12
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Process the garlic and shallots in a food processor until finely
chopped. Add ½ cup of the Parmigiano Reggiano, the mayonnaise, mascarpone or cream cheese, lime juice, and red pepper flakes. Process until almost smooth, then add the artichoke hearts and pulse until coarsely chopped. Spoon the mixture into a 6-cup gratin dish, lightly greased with olive oil. Sprinkle the top evenly with the remaining Parmigiano Reggiano cheese. Bake for 20 minutes, or until bubbly. Serve hot with the toasted baguette slices and let everyone top their own. Jarred artichoke hearts in water can be used as a substitute for fresh. Be sure to drain them well.