Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Easy Italian Appetizers

    Last weekend we had two other couples over for dinner.  I've mentioned before that my comfort zone is Italian food so that's exactly what I made for them.  Usually I am sort of frantic when I have people over because timing can be so difficult when cooking for a group, but this time I decided to serve appetizers that could be served cold or at room temperature so that I could prepare them ahead of time and relax.  They were all so delicious that I thought I'd share them with you.


Italian White Bean Hummus

1 (15 ounce) can of cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
2 cloves of garlic
Juice of 1 lemon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4-6 large basil leaves
1/4 cup olive oil, 3 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for drizzling on top
Handful of pine nuts, toasted

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Toasted pine nuts until just browned and fragrant.  Set aside.
Combine 1/4 cup olive oil with 3-4 large basil leaves in food processor and pulse until basil is chopped.  Salt to taste.  Set aside.
Combine beans, garlic, lemon juice, 2-3 basil leaves, salt and pepper in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse a couple of times until the mixture is combined. Add in the 3 tablespoons of olive oil while the machine is still running. Process until the mixture is smooth.
If the mixture appears to be too thick, add water or olive oil 1 teaspoon at a time until desired thickness is achieved. Top with toasted pine nuts and basil oil.

6 plum tomatoes, diced
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Pinch of red pepper flakes
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, sliced into ribbons
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

Add the tomatoes, garlic, extra-virgin olive oil, red pepper flakes, basil and balsamic vinegar to a bowl. Season with salt and pepper.  Let sit at room temperature or in refrigerator until ready to serve.  Spoon mixture onto toasted baguette slices. 


Easy Olive Oil Dip

1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup olive oil

Mix all dry ingredients, spoon onto shallow dish, and pour oil over mixture.  Serve with French or Italian bread.

Recipe (adapted from here)

This mixture is based on the herb oil that is served at Carrabba's Italian Grill.  It is a staple in my house.  I make it in bulk (about 2 tablespoons of each dry ingredient) and store it in an airtight container for months.  It makes serving this a snap because I just add oil and it's done!  I love to serve this with foccacia or ciabatta and wine.  It's perfect to serve my husband while he waits for me to finish making dinner or to munch on while I'm cooking!

Buon appetito! 

*Linking up today with Ashley and Jessica 


  1. Hey there! Here from the Blog Hop and am now following you via Bloglovin'! I hope you'll get a chance to check me out! You can find me here:


    - croppedstories@gmail.com

  2. Oh I love Italian! Especially bruschetta. Thanks for linking up at Foodie Friday

  3. I'm so glad you remembered to come to our party... I make very similar dishes and I really appreciate you sharing your wonderful Italian fare.. please come back again...loving that hummus.


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