Nonna Margherita Dottorelli in her kitchen, 1905

Some excellent Tuscan recipes from her granddaughter, Marta, who refuses to be just a character in a novel made up by that writer


This will be nice, very typical, to start your meal if you are cooking for your friends and family – or if you are, perhaps, “dining out” in Tuscany.

But first I must ask you to say it right.

About this woman who thinks she has me kept silent in her story except when “she” makes me speak – I do not many things good to say. But there is one person in her story – incrediblemente an American archaeologist! – who is very much upset when other strangers to my country make the wrong pronunciation of our words.
       For this I like him (though I do not like that he comes here to dig up our Etruscan treasures!).

So for this man – and also for you, so that you will not be laughed at by waiters in our restaurants – I will ask you to look hard at this word, bruschetta, and understand that there is nowhere in it anything that makes the sound of shhhhhh! (as if you would like to keep someone silent, as, for example, “she” would like me to be!).

Instead the pronunciation is very hard, with in the middle a K sound. Say it now. BrusKKetta.

Bene. Grazie. Very good.

Bruschetta bread on a plate with a loaf of french breach & bottle of olive oil on a table.

First the most “traditional” one

Take as many thick slices of our Tuscan bread as you will want — and then maybe a few more. Put these to grill over a good olive-wood fire, or in your oven. When they are crisp on the outside but inside still a little soft, rub each slice with a clove of garlic, and then brush them each with a little of the very best olive oil that you have. (Do not make them wet.) Then sprinkle on a little sea salt. This is all. This will be the best “pre-meal” bite that you can have.

But of course, if you are one of those stranieri (foreigners) like “that woman” who writes the story where she thinks I will keep silent – well then, you will want more.
This I will tell you about, perhaps tomorrow.