Bertucci's Corporation, a casual-dining chain, owns a collection of full-service Italian restaurants that operate under the name "Bertucci's Brick Oven Pizzeria." During the early years of the 21st century there were roughly 80 Bertucci's restaurants scattered throughout the northeastern United States, each of which featured wood-fired brick ovens, which cook hotter than conventional pizza ovens, and served Tuscan-styled food, including gourmet pizzas, salads, soups, seafood, and pasta dishes. Founded in suburban Boston by Joseph Crugnale, Bertucci's expanded quickly during the 1980s and 1990s, growing from a single restaurant in 1981 to a sprawling restaurant chain by the mid-1990s. N.E. Restaurant Co. Inc., Bertucci's owner since 1998, adopted the Bertucci's name in 2001.

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Antipasto Misto


ANTIPASTO MISTO

Roasted peppers, zucchini, artichokes, olives, prosciutto, asparagus, 
broccoli, fresh mozzarella and grape tomatoes served 
with baby field greens and a balsamic vinaigrette.



To make your own vegetarian platter, have on hand the following seven ingredients: 


  • a good quality extra virgin olive oil for drizzling on vegetables
  • a good quality balsamic vinegar,
  • fresh lemon
  • fresh garlic
  • fresh herbs like oregano and basil
  • cheese
  • a "good crusty bread 


Obviously, if these ingredients don't appeal to you or if you're allergic to them, find substitutes that will enhance the flavors of your foods. The point is to create an Antipasto Misto to satisfy your personal taste.

The next step is to identify five or six vegetables that you like. Your objective is to assemble a platter with a variety of colors, shapes and textures. (See sidebar for roasting vegetables.)

When available, use leftovers. It will shorten your preparation time plus cooked vegetables can always be combined or seasoned to make them more interesting. Remember also that foods like olives, tomatoes and peppers serve double duty: They can be used on their own, graced simply with herbs, oils or lemon to enhance their flavor or they can be combined with other vegetables for added richness and complexity.

Now you're ready to decide whether you want a dish of warm vegetables, cold vegetables or a combination. If you're feeling brave, simply go for five easy ideas: assorted olives with or without chopped oregano; sliced tomato, sliced mozzarella and basil with an olive oil drizzle; carrots sauteed with garlic and mint or basil; fried eggplant or sauteed zucchini with tomato sauce; and bruschetta or garlic bread.

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