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top view of marble board with baking sheet with sausage and bread crostini

My Favorite Tuscan Appetizer – Cheese and Sausage Crostini

Last updated on November 17th, 2023

Are you still dreaming of the cheese and sausage crostini you had while visiting Tuscany? 

Maybe you haven’t heard or tried them before but you are looking for a fun and easy Italian recipe to make on a weeknight? 

I have the recipe for you: an authentic Tuscan favorite tailored to overseas cooking! Cheese and sausage crostini are a snap to whip up, perfect for any occasion. 

After learning to make these from my Italian family, I soon found out that they were hard to replicate once I got back home to the USA but now that I live in Italy and have had enough opportunity to bake these I have found the best way to make them abroad as well. 

This is a great recipe to learn not only for pros but also for newbies in the kitchen. They are a great appetizer to prepare for a party, for just a couple of guests or as a simple dinner for when you don’t want to cook anything. 

You may have to head to a grocery store with a good cheese selection to get what you need but trust me, it’s worth it! 

Learn More: Study up on formaggio in our Complete Guide to Italian Cheese and read all about the Different Types of Italian Sausage.

Recipe Pronunciation

Crostini with sausage and cheese are called crostini con salsiccia e stracchino in Italian.

Crostini con salsiccia e stracchino is pronounced croh-STEE-nee cohn sahl-seech-CHAH eh strahk-KEE-noh in Italian.

Listen to the pronunciation of crostini con salsiccia e stracchino:

What is Cheese and Sausage Crostini?  

top view of baking sheet with crostini with sausage and stracchino

This is a typical appetizer served in Tuscany made from thin slices of bread that are speared with a soft cheese known as stracchino mixed with raw sausage and baked until the bread is crisp and the cheese and sausage mixture is melted and cooked through.

Most commonly they are small, picked up with one hand and eaten like a small square slice of pizza but sometimes they will also be called crostone meaning a large slice of bread prepared in the same way that needs to be cut into pieces before eating. 

Stracchino, sometimes called crescenza in Italian, is a cow’s milk cheese originally from the Northwest regions of Italy although it’s now commercially produced throughout the country. It’s a very soft, fresh cheese with a creamy texture. It has no rind, the flavor is mild and it’s most commonly shaped into a square block or rectangle. It spreads very easily, melts beautifully and is thus, the ideal cheese for crostini. 

hands holding a ciabatta in a white towel on a granite background

Traditionally, this recipe is made with Tuscan bread which is a salt less white bread. I don’t like this bread because of the fact that it doesn’t contain salt so I prefer to use something more flavorful like ciabatta or a baguette

The Stracchino Dilemma 

top view of marble countertop with a package of open stracchino cheese in white plastic container

The biggest problem with recreating this recipe outside of Italy is that it’s very hard to find stracchino. I am not sure I have ever seen it in supermarkets but perhaps you might get lucky at an Italian specialty grocery market. 

To solve this dilemma, I have tried various substitutions, determined to find the best way to make these outside of Italy (also because when asked for my favorite Italian recipes, this is always top of my list and I couldn’t share a recipe that was impossible to make).

The best substitution I have found is taleggio, a soft cheese from Northern Italy. Although the cheese does have a stronger aroma, the actual flavor is relatively mild. It’s more complex than stracchino because it’s aged longer. When using this cheese, you will need to remove the rind – this is very important! 

Taleggio isn’t always easy to find either but many specialty cheese shops, supermarkets like Whole Foods with a large cheese selection and well stocked gourmet food stores will carry it. 

To conclude, use stracchino if you can find it but if you can’t, taleggio will do just fine. 

Cheese and Sausage Crostini Ingredients

top view of marble board with bowl with sausage removed from casing
top view of small bowl on marble table filled with a mixture of sausage and stracchino cheese

Prep time 10 min. Cook time 15 min. Serves 4-6 as appetizer 

  • 7 ounces (200 g) sausage (about two, depending on the size of the sausages)
  • 5.3 oz (150 g) stracchino cheese
  • Fresh white bread such as ciabatta (not sandwich bread)
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Step-By-Step Instructions for Cheese and Sausage Crostini

top view of marble board with baking sheet with bread slices and bowl of cheese and sausage to be spread on bread
  1. Preheat the oven to 450°F (230°C).
  2. Remove the sausage skins by running a paring knife down the side of the sausage link and peeling off the skin. 
  3. In a medium bowl, mash the sausage with the stracchino and a very generous grind of black pepper with the back of a fork until it’s roughly mixed together. 
  4. Slice the bread into slices about ⅓ inch thick and spread them generously with the sausage cheese mixture.
  5. Arrange on a baking tray lined with parchment paper and bake in the middle of the oven until they’re golden brown, about 10-13 minutes.
  6. Serve immediately.

Cheese and Sausage Crostini Substitutions

top view of marble board with baking sheet topped with bread slices and cheese and sausage mixture spread on bread
  • Use a baguette which makes for easy prep and a nice presentation of identically small rounds of bread. 
  • Use whole wheat bread.
  • Cut bread slices in half after slicing for small servings, better for cocktail parties and aperitivo.
  • Use a fennel flavored sausage.

What to Serve With Crostini Con Salsiccia e Stracchino

rucola with parmesan cheese and pine nuts
Arugula and parmesan salad makes the perfect accompaniment to these crostini

This is always an appetizer at restaurants in Tuscany but in some Italian homes, including my own, we use this as a Sunday night dinner option – basically when I am tired of cooking all week and we all want something easy yet satisfying. It’s a snap to whip together and with a side salad we have a meal ready in 25 minutes. This is actually something I make a lot when my husband isn’t home and it’s just me and the kids. Here are a couple of my favorite pairings to make a light dinner out of these crostini.

Try This: It’s also a great accompaniment to a light vegetable soup or vellutata – a pureed vegetable soup. 

Cheese and Sausage Crostini Notes and Tips

top view of marble board with crostini with sausage and cheese on a baking sheet
  • The proportions of cheese to sausage is an estimate. If you have slightly more cheese or sausage, add it into the mix instead of tossing it. 
  • Use an oven thermometer to ensure you are baking at the correct temperature.
  • Use good, fresh bread, not pre-packed bread or sandwich bread.
  • These cook quickly and can burn easily so don’t step out of the kitchen!
  • Don’t cut the bread too thick. 
  • Play with how much sausage and cheese mixture you personally like on your crostini. Do you prefer slightly less? Or do you prefer a thick layer?
  • Add ⅓ cup sliced cooked mushrooms to the mix before spreading on the bread.
top view of marble board with baking sheet with sausage and bread crostini

Cheese and Sausage Crostini Recipe (Crostini con Salsiccia e Stracchino)

An easy-to-make and delicious recipe for classic Tuscan crostini with sausage and stracchino cheese.
No ratings yet
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Course Appetizer
Cuisine Italian
Servings 4 people

Ingredients
  

  • 7 oz sausage 200 g; about two, depending on the size of the sausages
  • 5.3 oz stracchino cheese 150 g
  • fresh white bread such as ciabatta (not sandwich bread)
  • freshly ground black pepper

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 450°F (230°C).
  • Remove the sausage skins by running a paring knife down the side of the sausage link and peeling off the skin.
  • In a medium bowl, mash the sausage with the stracchino and a very generous grind of black pepper with the back of a fork until it’s roughly mixed together.
  • Slice the bread into slices about ⅓ inch thick and spread them generously with the sausage cheese mixture.
  • Arrange on a baking tray lined with parchment paper and bake in the middle of the oven until they're golden brown, about 10-13 minutes.
  • Serve immediately.

Notes

  • The proportions of cheese to sausage is an estimate. If you have slightly more cheese or sausage, add it into the mix instead of tossing it. 
  • Use an oven thermometer to ensure you are baking at the correct temperature.
  • Use good, fresh bread, not pre-packed bread or sandwich bread.
  • These cook quickly and can burn easily so don’t step out of the kitchen!
  • Don’t cut the bread too thick. 
  • Play with how much sausage and cheese mixture you personally like on your crostini. Do you prefer slightly less? Or do you prefer a thick layer?
  • Add ⅓ cup sliced cooked mushrooms to the mix before spreading on the bread
Keyword authentic, easy
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Crostini con Salsiccia e Stracchino FAQ

How can I reheat leftover crostini?

I suggest you use a toaster oven or oven at 350°F (180°C). If you attempt to microwave them they will get soggy.

Can I eat these at room temperature?

Sure! I actually pack these for my kids’ lunches if we have leftovers and they love them. 

What if I don’t use all the cheese in the package?

Once opened, stracchino will go bad pretty quickly so try and eat it within three days or so. My favorite way to use it is to stir it into risotto or you can add it to a sandwich. 

Where can I eat really good crostini in Florence?

Here are a few of my favorites:
Fuori Porta (restaurant with large wine selection)
Santino (wine war)
Le Volpi e l’Uva (wine bar)

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