Authentic Italian Bruschetta with Basil-Infused Olive Oil

Yes, bruschetta is toasted bread with garlic and olive oil on it, but it’s also so much more than that. It’s an antipasto that highlights many of the best qualities of Italian cooking: simplicity, flavor, and use of local, seasonal produce and savory spices. The name bruschetta comes from the Italian word brusce meaning “to roast over coals.” A tip from the chef: You can also toast the bread on a grill on a gentle heat, and if you go this route, skip the parmesan. Combine it with Anna Franklin’s basil-infused olive oil for an extra bit of flavor in the bruschetta, or as a dip for the bread.

What is Antipasto?

Let’s clear up a question you may have been afraid to ask: antipasto does not mean “against pasta.” It comes from the Latin word ante meaning before, and pastus, meaning meal. An antipasto is just an appetizer. Hence, you eat bruschetta before a meal as an antipasto. So, next time you plan a picnic, don’t just say “I’ll bring an app.” Make it an antipasto.

Authentic Italian Bruschetta with Basil-Infused Olive Oil Recipe

Ingredients for the Basil-Infused Olive Oil 

  • 1 cup fresh basil (or herb of your choice) leaves
  • 1 ½ cups high-quality extra-virgin olive oil (we recommend Partanna)

Basil-Infused Olive Oil Instructions

  1. Add basil leaves and oil to a blender and blend until completely smooth.
  2. Strain into a bowl through a fine-mesh strainer or chinois without pushing down on the mixture.
  3. Strain again through a paper coffee filter into a medium-sized bowl. Let the filtered oil settle for a few hours, then pour off the dark liquid in the bottom of the bowl, if there is any.

Ingredients for the Bruschetta 

  • 6 Roma tomatoes, diced
  • 1/3 cup basil leaves, chopped
  • 5 garlic cloves
  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Balsamic glaze for garnish

Ingredients for the Toast

  • 1 baguette
  • 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup shredded parmesan cheese


  1. Core and dice tomatoes. Drain any excess juice and transfer tomatoes to a medium bowl.
  2. Stack basil leaves and roll them into a tube. Using a sharp knife, thinly slice the basil into ribbons and transfer to the bowl with tomatoes.
  3. Finely mince 5 garlic cloves. Mix 1 teaspoon of minced garlic into 3 tablespoons of olive oil and set aside. Add remaining minced garlic to the mixing bowl with tomatoes.
  4. Season tomatoes with 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar, and season with salt and black pepper. Add basil and stir gently to combine and set aside to marinate for 15-30 minutes.
  5. Preheat oven to 400 degrees with a rack in the center of the oven. Place toasts on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Cut toasts into ½-inch thick slices, slicing diagonally.
  6. Arrange toasts on the prepared baking sheet and brush the garlic-infused olive oil on both sides of toasts. Sprinkle tops with parmesan cheese (optional) and bake at 400 degrees for 5 minutes then broil on high heat for 1-2 minutes or until the edges are golden brown.*
  7. Top each piece of toast with the tomato mixture and drizzle with balsamic glaze before serving. Eat while the bread is still warm.

More Italian Picnic Treats…

Recipe and Styling by Anna Franklin / Story by Emma Riva / Photography by Dave Bryce

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