Tomoson Review: Bella Sun Luci Sun Dried Tomato Bruschetta


The Bella Sun Luci product line is owned by Mooney Farms, a family-owned company in Northern California.  Mooney Farms is the largest producer of sun dried tomatoes in the U.S., and their bruschetta originates from an authentic family recipe that combines sun ripened tomatoes, fresh basil, premium olive oil, and Italian herbs.
The company sent me a jar of Sun Dried Tomato Halves with Italian Herbs and Sun Dried Tomato Bruschetta with Italian Basil.

Most of us are familiar with the traditional use of bruschetta, toasting your bread and spreading the tomato mixture on top for a simple and delicious appetizer. So, I started off this way: toasted some sourdough and spread a little bit of each product on top. But the bread was too stale, so I just wasn't loving it.  I decided to mix it up the next time around...
Bella Sun Luci's bruschetta is very versatile and can be used in a number of dishes.  In fact, their website features a number of different recipes you can peruse.  I was getting very hungry just browsing but eventually I narrowed it down to the Sun Dried Tomato Artichoke Dip, which was their winning recipe in 2012, and the Macaroni and Sun Dried Tomato Gratin with Sharp Cheddar.

Introducing the Bella Sun Luci products to these relatively simple dishes really enhanced the dishes while showcasing the flavor of the sun dried tomatoes. These products were high quality and they can really bring something new to your kitchen. I will include the full recipes below for the two that we tried.

The dip recipe serves 8, but I pared it down to two individual serving sizes. Here is the full recipe:

SUN DRIED TOMATO ARTICHOKE DIP

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 3 large garlic cloves, pressed or diced
  • 1 cup canned artichoke hearts, diced
  • 6 Bella Sun Luci Sun Dried Tomato Halves in Oil, diced
  • 1/3 cup fresh shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1 ½ Tablespoon fresh basil leaves, diced
  • ½ teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
  • ¼-1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  • In a glass 9-inch pie pan or baking plate mix cream cheese, garlic, and artichoke hearts. Using a large fork, blend together.  
  •  Add the Bella Sun Luci Sun Dried Tomatoes, parmesan cheese and basil. Stir together until well blended.
Diced tomato halves getting mixed in
  •  Flatten dip with fork or spatula so dip is an even layer in pan.
  • Sprinkle top with the Italian seasoning, and cayenne pepper to taste. 

  • Bake at 375ยบ degrees for 16-18 minutes.
  • Dip should be golden brown on top. Remove from the oven, let cool for 5 minutes. 

  • Serve with sea salt bagel chips or your favorite cracker.
This recipe was delicious! Very simple and quick to pull together and the sun dried tomato halves really enhanced the flavor and complemented the artichokes. I can definitely see why this was a winning recipe!

We also tried a recipe for Macaroni and Sun Dried Tomato Gratin with Sharp Cheddar. This is another one that we pared down; the recipe serves 15, and we cut it down to 1/4. However, we used gluten-free pasta, and the measurements might be a little different depending on what type of pasta you're using because we ended up with decidedly more sauce than pasta.Which is perfectly fine by me since that's the important part! :)

MACARONI AND SUN DRIED TOMATO GRATIN WITH SHARP CHEDDAR

Ingredients

  • 1 16 oz macaroni (or other pasta shape)
  • 1 qt plus 1 cup (5 cups total) heavy cream
  • 1 16 oz sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 12 oz grated parmesan (8oz for sauce; 4 oz for topping)
  • 2 8.5 oz jars Bella Sun Luci Bruschetta
  • 2 cups panko (or other) bread crumbs
  • 2 tb dry oregano
  • 3 tb Bella Sun Luci extra virgin olive oil
  • 16 whole sprigs parsley plus the same amount, de-stemmed and chopped

Instructions

  • Pre-heat the oven to 450
  • In a large (4qt) heavy bottom sauce pot, heat the cream on high until it simmers then turn to low. Watch carefully. If it starts to rise, quickly turn off and remove from burner so it doesn't boil over.
Be careful with your cream! I am a pro at burning it and having to soak the pan for a few days. :-P
  • When the cream has come to a simmer, add the cheddar and 8 oz parmesan. Stir to incorporate and to keep from sticking to the bottom of the pot. 

  • In a large (8qt) pot with abundant (6qts) water and salt, bring the water to a rolling boil. Add the pasta and cook the indicated time on the package (in this case 7 minutes).
  • Drain the pasta very well, return to its pot then pour the cream sauce mixture over the pasta. Stir well.
  • Turn this pasta-cream-cheese mixture into one or two (or three) casserole dishes. 

  • Cover each with an equal amount of the bruschetta. 

  • Mix together the breadcrumbs, oregano and the 4 oz remaining parmesan and spread this evenly over the bruschetta topped pasta. 

  • Drizzle the olive oil evenly over the bread crumb mixture.
  • Bake 10 min at 450, turn oven to 350 and bake 10 more minutes (20 minutes total). 

  • Serve individual operations in bowls, sprinkle the chopped parsley over each bowl and finish with a whole sprig of parsley.

Another tasty dish with heightened flavor thanks to the addition of the bruschetta!

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

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