Two Kinds of Crostini: Cannellini and Radicchio

Crostini (plural of: ‘crostino’, from bread crust) are rustic appetizers where toasted bread slices are used as a base for various toppings. In a way, a ‘bruschetta‘ can be considered a kind of crostino, but it’s generally not seen that way because of its stronger identity. Crostini may be also served as a snack or to accompany an aperitivo.

Most crostini share the same kind of base: a toasted bread slice, with fresh garlic and extra virgin olive oil. Countless toppings can then be added to this already delicious support. Here you will find the recipes for two of the most traditional ones: cannellini spread and stewed radicchio, both of which can be served either cold or warm.

Cannellini spread
The first topping is based on cannellini, a kind of white beans with a very thin skin, delicate flavor and a starchy texture. Cannellini are also used to thicken soups and in the famous Pasta e Fagioli.

Stewed Radicchio
The second topping is based on radicchio, an Italian vegetable that belongs to the same family of chicory, escarole, and Belgian endive, and with which it shares a bitter flavor. To counter the bitterness, radicchio is often generously salted and/or paired up with salty cheese (especially Parmigiano).

Two Kinds of Crostini: Cannellini and Radicchio

Yield: 8-10 crostini

Total Time: 30 minutes

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Two Kinds of Crostini: Cannellini and Radicchio


     Base ingredients

    • 8-10 slices of ciabatta or baguette, toasted
    • 1 garlic clove, pealed
    • Some extra virgin olive oil

     Cannellini spread

    • 1 Tbsp olive oil
    • 1 garlic clove, mashed
    • 1 sprig of rosemary, finely sliced
    • 1 can of cannellini (~400g), drained
    • salt and pepper
    • 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

     Stewed radicchio

    • 1 Tbsp olive oil
    • 1 big shallot, thinly sliced
    • 1 radicchio, sliced
    • 2 Tbsp red wine
    • salt and pepper
    • 1 Tbsp of Parmigiano, coarsely grated or slivered


       Base preparation

      1. Toast or char-grill the bread making sure it doesn't dry out completely.
      2. Rub each slice with the garlic (the roughness of the toasted bread will act as a scraper).
      3. Drizzle with the olive oil.

       Cannellini spread

      1. Roast the garlic in the olive oil until golden.
      2. Add the rosemary and the cannellini.
      3. Cook for 5-10 minutes.
      4. Mash the beans coarsely by using a fork.
      5. Adjust salt and pepper.
      6. Spread on the crostini and then drizzle with balsamic vinegar.

       Stewed radicchio

      1. Roast the shallot in olive oil for a couple of minutes.
      2. Add the radicchio and keep roasting for 2 more minutes.
      3. Add the wine and allow it to evaporate.
      4. Lower the heat and cook for 5-10 minutes or until the radicchio softens.
      5. Adjust salt and pepper.
      6. Place on the crostini and then sprinkle with Parmigiano.


      12 thoughts on “Two Kinds of Crostini: Cannellini and Radicchio”

      1. The radicchio option looks very nice. I often make a bean spread for crostini (adding roasted cherry tomatoes when they are in season).

      2. Both of these toppings are fabulous. Definitely going to make the radicchio I've never had that before and it sounds really goood.

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