Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Panzanella Salad

I call this my cheerleader salad because whenever I make it my family cheers..."Panzanella!"..."Panzanella!"..."P-A-N-Z-E-L-L-A-FOR-ME, Panzanella!!!"
 
This is not only a great Italian salad because it is delicious but also because it is a great way to use up any bread you have left over from the day before!  I know, leftover bread is almost as funny and unheard of as leftover wine!
 
Ok, let's begin...

First, start by pouring 1 cup of red wine into a wine glass.  Sip throughout recipe.  This takes experience, but trust me, you will get good at this rather quickly.  While you do this, preheat oven to 400 degrees.
 
Ok, next cut up your bread into cubes about 1-2 inches thick.  Remember, this is Quanto Basta so make them as big or small as you like!  Place them on a cookie sheet in single even layer.
Pour a 2-3 count of olive oil over the bread cubes.  Sprinkle a small pinch of kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper over top.  With your hands, mix the cubes to coat and place in preheated oven.  Cook for about 8-10 minutes or until the cubes are golden brown and remove from oven.
In the meantime you are going to make the dressing for the salad.  I believe in dirtying as few items as possible so I do everything right in the bowl!  In large salad bowl, add 1/4 cup olive oil, the red wine vinegar, champagne vinegar, garlic, mustard, Italian seasoning, and salt and pepper.  Whisk until well combined.
Next, chop the tomatoes and pepper, slice the purple onions, and add on top of the dressing.  I usually use a yellow or orange pepper for the color but tonight I had red on hand so that's what I used!  Toss the veggies in the dressing.  Ideally, you want this to rest and marinate for several hours.  Tonight we were hungry so it sat for 15 minutes!  It was still delicious but if you can let it set for a few hours it's even better!
Add the toasted bread to your salad and quickly toss.
Chiffonade your basil, which is a fancy way of saying to cut your basil into thin strips.
Add the basil and shaved parmesan and toss thoroughly with a large spoon.  You want to make sure all the cubes of bread are thoroughly coated with the dressing.  Again, ideal if you can let it sit there for about 10 minutes or so to let it absorb a bit. 
This is quite a versatile side dish and is delicious with pasta, fish, chicken, pork, or as a light meal with a glass of wine!  I hope you enjoy it as much as the Keith familia does!  Mangia, Mangia!!!

PANZANELLA RECIPE:
1 loaf of ciabatta bread
2-3 count of Olive Oil
salt and pepper
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon champagne vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
3 medium vine ripe tomatoes, chopped
1/2 red onion, very thinly sliced
1 large yellow or orange pepper, cut into 1-2 inch cubes
3/4-1 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped chiffonade style
1/2 cup freshly shaved parmesan reggiano cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Cut up your bread into cubes about 1-2 inches thick.  Remember, this is Quanto Basta so make them as big or small as you like!  Place them on a cookie sheet in single even layer.  Pour a 2-3 count of olive oil over the bread cubes.  Sprinkle a small pinch of kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper over top.  With your hands, mix the cubes to coat and place in preheated oven.  Cook for about 8-10 minutes or until the cubes are golden brown and remove from oven.

 In large salad bowl, add 1/4 cup olive oil, the red wine vinegar, champagne vinegar, garlic, mustard, Italian seasoning, and salt and pepper.  Whisk until well combined.

 Chop the tomatoes and pepper, slice the purple onions, and add on top of the dressing.  Toss the veggies in the dressing.  Let veggies marinate for 2-3 hours (or less if you can't wait!). 

Add the toasted bread to your salad and quickly toss.  Add the basil and shaved parmesan and toss thoroughly with a large spoon.  You want to make sure all the cubes of bread are thoroughly coated with the dressing.  Again, ideal if you can let it sit there for about 10 minutes or so to let it absorb a bit.  Serve with your favorite pasta or protein dish!

Enjoy!!!








 














 


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