Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Waste not, want not…Italian style

The name of this delicious, easy to make Summer salad is panzanella. 
Said with an Italian accent it sounds almost romantic - go ahead say it in your best 
Italian accent, it's adorable.
 When you see it being made, the bowl of wet bread couldn't be more unappetizing!
Panzanella actually comes from the word pantanella meaning 'little swap'.
In the picturesque hills of Tuscany, leftover bread is used in many dishes such as 
bruschetta, crostini and the wonderful ribollita soup I enjoy making in Winter.
Panzanella salad is one of the mainstays of the long and languid Summer 
luncheon, or supper under the pergola in the flower-filled garden.
The quality of the ingredients are what make it delicious. 

Panzanella (Tomato & Bread Salad)

1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
8 oz stale white Italian bread cut into 2" chunks
About 6 cups of cold water
3-4 medium size ripe tomatoes, chopped
1 small red onion sliced thinly
1 cup fresh basil leaves torn into bite-sized pieces

Cook to Cook:  Use only sturdy crumbed white Italian bread such as 
ciabatta or foccacia - not fine crumb wheat or whole grain style breads.
You can remove the crusts - I leave mine on.

Pour vinegar into a small bowl and whisk in the oil
Place bread in a large bowl, add water to cover, and soak for 5 mins. 
Drain well in a colander then squeeze bread to remove as much water as possible
Coarsely crumble bread back into large bowl
Add tomatoes, onion and basil, toss gently with enough vinaigrette to coat 
Add salt and pepper to taste

Salad can be made ahead - cover and refrigerate. Let 
stand at least one hour at room temperature before serving.
Leftover panzanella is good for another day or so.


The finished salad - we enjoyed it last evening with penne Gorgonzola - leftovers 
will make a quick, tasty lunch today.


  1. Still on my break, but had to see your recipe for this wonderful salad. Your penne sounds great too. Is that a magazine or book in your pictures? It looks like something I would love to read!

  2. Oh, that does looks simple and tasty. Patrick, Richard, and I had a delicious panzanella dish at a little brewery/restaurant near Patrick's home in DC called Right Proper Brewing Company. Not one of us had ever tried panzanella before, so we ordered it to share (among other various starters like a plate of pickled local veggies, fried onion strings, and AMAZING blueberry and (wait for it...) jalapeño corn muffins with freshly whipped butter. I NEED to recreate those muffins.

    Will definitely be making this when I have some bread to use up!

    xo Cassie

  3. Panzanella is one of my all time favorites. I've only made it a few times , but it is a delicious way to use summer's tomatoes and fresh basil. Yum! Hugs, B

  4. I'm giggling at the thought of how many of us are having a go at the pronunciation of panzanella. It certainly does add some flair to the ordinary salad, doesn't it?
    Years and years ago I tried a new salad recipe which called for cubes of bread. At the time I thought that was so odd. I now think it looks downright delish! I must get some Italian bread and try this.

  5. I love panzanella although I eat it rarely in an effort to limit refined carbs. So delicious looking.

  6. It looks so very good. It is not one I have made, but thought of making several times.
    So pretty too!

  7. I don't love bread mixed like this because I have on of those old childhood phobias about wet bread. If it is mushy or soggy , my gag reflex goes into overdrive.
    But I do love it crisp and toasted and tasty eaten with the salad ... I know .. someday I will eat like a grownup.


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