The perfect spring appetizer, this crunchy pea bruschetta will become your go-to snack for the early al-fresco aperitivo season

OK guys, the weather might refuse going into spring mode at all. But you know what? I have decided I will no longer wait for warmer temperatures to properly kick-off this year’s al-fresco aperitivo season.

And with that, the weekend suddenly turned warmer and mostly sunny, and the air finally felt like the first real spring day had arrived. Even though only for a short time as the rain had returned quickly, arranging some nibbles on the patio to ring in Saturday evening with a proper aperitivo on the patio felt just so special.

A quintessentially Italian tradition dating back to the 18th century, opening your appetite with some delicious snacks and a glass of wine, prosecco, or cocktail is the most wonderful way to start your evening. And the best of all, most Italian appetizers are so easy to assemble yet they taste so delicious and authentic, you could substitute a full meal with them.

April is the months when the first fresh peas will appear at farmers markets. Loaded with protein, fibre, and high amounts of vitamin A, C, and B-6, fresh peas are one of the most versatile foods. It can be used aw, steamed, sauteed, stir-fried, mashed, and blended and works in as soup, salads, pasta, risotto, and of course alongside poultry, meat, and also fish.

Spring Aperitivo: Pea Bruschetta (Crostini)

Packed with fresh slightly sweet pea flavour and super nutritious, this pea bruschetta calls for few classic Italian ingredients and will be ready in a nutshell.

If you are not making this delicious pea crostini for your next spring aperitivo, you are clearly missing out on a wonderful, quick, and easy appetizer.

What to drink with pea bruschetta

Although no proper Italian aperitivo is complete without a delicious snack, of course the star here is a glass of something to be enjoyed while nibbling along at the food. 

Without making it too complicated – we are talking an aperitivo, not a tasting menu – serving pea bruschetta for your aperitivo there are a couple of drinks that will work particularly well.

The combination of the slightly sweet pea pesto, lemon and grated parmesan will work fantastic with a crisp white wine such as a Sauvignon Blanc or Grüner Veltliner.

If you ask me, however, the bast match will be a glass of prosecco or sparkling wine.

Spring Aperitivo: Pea Bruschetta (Crostini)

I had chosen the excellent Blanc de Blanc Ottella sparkling wine. It’s a method brut, meaning it was made according to the classic Charmat method. It blends Turbiana and Chardonnay grapes.

Cantina Ottella is located in the Lugana wine region close to Lake Garda in northern Italy and the winery makes an interesting range of dry and sparkling wines.

The grapes for the Blanc de Blanc Brut come from vineyards located in San Benedetto di Lugana. Grapes are carefully selected and harvested manually. Expressing great stylistic finesse and elegance, this sparkling wine is perfect for an aperitif.

In the glass, it’s crystal clear with occasional light yellow reflections.

On the nose, floral with aromas of white flowers.

On the palate, notes of citrus, bread crust, and mineral notes.

Recipe: Pea Bruschetta

Serves 4

250 g fresh peas
80 g ricotta cheese
2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice
2 sticks fresh mint, chopped
4 slices ciabatta
6 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper
freshly grated parmesan

Blanch the peas in boiling salted water for five minutes. Drain, quench, and let dry.

Set aside two tablespoons of the peas. Blend the remaining peas until obtaining a smooth paste. Season with salt and pepper then stir in lemon juice and ricotta.

Meanwhile, heat olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Toast the ciabatta from both sides until golden-brown and crunchy.

Transfer ciabatta to a plate, top with the pea-ricotta puree, the remaining peas and fresh mint. Drizzle with some freshly grated parmesan.

Serve while still warm.

Spring Aperitivo: Pea Bruschetta (Crostini)