Panzanella #1

Panzanella may be very popular in restaurants today, but this summer dish is actually very simple and humble. It is day-old bread moistened and flavored with ingredients from the garden.

This recipe is from Italian Cooking at Home with The Culinary Institute of America.



Makes 4 Servings

  • 1 loaf day-old Tuscan bread (about 1 pound)
  • 1 small red onion
  • 1 seedless cucumber
  • 4 ripe tomatoes (about 12 ounces)
  • 1/2 cup basil leaves, plus more for garnish
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, as needed
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar


  1. Put the bread, in one large piece, into a bowl that can hold it comfortably. Add enough cold water to cover the bread almost completely. Let it soak until the bread is very moist. Drain away the water and squeeze the bread and break it up with your fingertips. It should look like a very thick soup.
  2. Slice the onion and cucumber very thinly and add them to the bread. Cut the tomatoes into small wedges and add them to the bread, reserving a few to top the salad when serving it. Tear the basil in small pieces directly into the bowl. Season the salad with salt and pepper and dress it with the olive oil, tossing gently to blend. Keep the salad at room temperature if you will be serving it within an hour or two; otherwise, cover the salad and store it in the refrigerator.
  3. Just before serving the panzanella, add the vinegar and blend it into the salad. Serve the panzanella with additional fresh basil and the reserved tomato wedges on top.

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