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Italian Panzanella

Posted Jan 18 2013 2:52am

Thank you all so much for leaving the most beautiful, thoughtful comments under my last post. You guys make blogging so much more fun and I can’t thank you enough for reading, commenting and being part of my blog.

To thank you I have another delicious recipe to share. On my previous post a couple of you commented that the  panzanella looked really good. Let me tell you, not only does it look it, it tastes amazing. As mentioned in an earlier post I am trying to test as many Italian recipes now that I have a real Italian living in my flat. I made the panzanella last week after work but only made enough for myself

So over the weekend I made more and shared it with my flat mates.

I think I got a really good review from my Italian friend. As I was in my room editing pictures she knocked on my door and asked how much panzanella she could have. I said she could have as much as she wants. She asked “Can I have it all? It’s really good”. Score!!! She loved it! One of the greatest compliments you can get is to have a real Italian like your food. She may have been hungover after a long night out but she ate it all!

Generally, panzanella isn’t hard to make and I can guarantee that you’ll love it. It’s basically a combination of the best ingredients out there: bread drizzled with olive oil and toasted under crisp, oven-roasted garlic-scented tomatoes, soft mozzarella, basil, balsamic vinegar and olive oil. The only thing that’s a bit time-consuming is roasting the tomatoes which takes about 2-3 hours but that can be done the night before. Then just heat up the tomatoes for 20 minutes when you’re toasting the bread. It’s as simple as that but the flavor is incredible.

I know that this is a summer salad and Italians make it when they have stale bread that needs to be used up but it’s worth making using fresh ingredients also. And when we’re in the midst of a snow flurry it will bring summer back bite by bite, even if it’s just for the meal!

For a greater flavor variety you can style this dish up according to your taste with olives, anchovies, peppers and onions.

Italian Panzanella

inspired by and adapted from Katie’s Panzanella

serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 600g tomatoes
  • 3-4 garlic cloves
  • a few tbsp. of olive oil
  • 250 mozzarella, excess water drained
  • 2 medium-sized loafs Italian bread {or one large loaf}
  • a few basil leaves
  • 1 tbsp. capers
  • a few tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • salt + pepper

Instructions:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 170°C. Wash your tomatoes and cut them in half. Lay them onto a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Crush the garlic cloves and scatter them onto the baking sheet in between the tomatoes. Drizzle with olive oil, add a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Bake for 2.5 hours.
  2. About 20 minutes before the tomatoes have fully roasted add the bread onto the baking sheet. Tear the two loafs into bite-size bits and drizzle with a few drops of olive oil. Bake for 20 minutes.
  3. In the meantime you can gather the mozzarella. Either cut it into 1-cm slices and then quarter the slice or for a more rustic look tear bits off by hand.
  4. When the bread and tomatoes have finished roasting assemble everything on a plate or serving tray. Add the basil leaves and capers before adding a sprinkle of crushed pepper and salt and drizzling with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

P.S. The bread that’s leftover makes a great snack. It doesn’t get any better than this!

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