Photo Credit: Small Kitchen College
Nowadays most dining halls have a selection of internationally inspired foods to choose from, but it seems that the most popular cultural cuisine -- both inside the dining hall and out -- is Italian. As I am studying abroad in Florence this semester, I couldn't wait to get here and start eating authentic Italian food. Fortunately, Italy's culinary qualities are living up to my expectations -- it's so good. While I am not eating in a dining hall here in Italy, I can't help think about how awesome it would be if the foods that are on every corner in Italy were also available in the dining hall at home. But the good news is, they can be! Something as simple and popular as the traditional bruschetta (pronounced bru-ske-ta) can be easily whipped up in the average dining hall in no time. So not to fret; while making the trip to Italy may not be presently in the cards, bringing Italy to you couldn't be easier.
While I recommend using country-style bread, you can use whatever type of bread is available in your dining hall. This could be any type of sandwich bread, dinner rolls, or even English muffins. If using a different type of bread, just be sure to slice it into a size that makes it easy finger food.
5 one-inch thick slices country-style bread, such as ciabatta
3 tomatoes, chopped
6 basil leaves, finely chopped or 2 tablespoons dried basil leaves
About 3 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons chopped parsley (optional)
Cut bread slices in half and toast until just brown. Place toasted bread slices on a platter.
Place the chopped tomatoes in a medium sized bowl. Add the basil, salt and pepper and about 1 tablespoon of the olive oil; toss together until combined. Spoon enough of the tomato mixture onto each piece of toasted bread so that the bread is covered, about 1-2 tablespoons depending on the size of the bread slices. Drizzle the bruschetta with the remaining olive oil and garnish with parsley if desired.
-- Sarah McAnaw for Small Kitchen College
Sarah McAnaw is a junior at American University where she's working towards getting a degree in International Studies and cooking for friends. She is studying in Florence, Italy this fall where she is immersing herself in art, culture and, of course, authentic Italian cooking.