What Is Panzanella?
Classic Panzanella has just a few fresh ingredients, plus a few Italian pantry staples. Here’s what you’ll need to make Panzanella:
- Stale, crusty bread, several days old, cut into 1-½” cubes/chunks: Use Ciabatta, French bread, or Sourdough. Texture is everything in this salad. You don’t want soggy bread, nor do you want bread that’s too crispy. If you don’t have day-old bread, toast it in the oven or in a skillet on the stovetop.
- Garden-fresh tomatoes: Cherry, Compari, or Roma
- Fresh basil: Basil makes this salad aromatic and delightful. Do NOT skip it and only use fresh basil
- Red onion: Traditional in Panzanella due to its crispness and pungent, sharp heat. Try not to use white or yellow onions.
- Extra Virgin Olive oil
- Red wine vinegar: Do not use Balsamic Vinegar which is too overpowering for this salad
- Garlic, salt, pepper: Panzanella could never be what it is without some of the best, quintessential Italian seasonings
Additions to Satisfy Your Taste Preferences
- Pancetta: Diced and Sautee’d. For a little protein and diversity in flavor and texture that doesn’t dominate the salad in any way
- Bell peppers: Add red, green, or yellow bell pepper for more crunch
- Zucchini or Yellow squash
- Cucumbers: Offer an additional layer of cool, refreshment. Mini (Persian) cucumbers or English cucumbers work nicely, standard cukes have seeds that you may want to remove
- Parmesan cheese: Big slivers are nice, but grated is fine too. Do not use the ‘green’ can variety. Use good quality, imported Parmigiana!
- Capers—Use about 2 tbsp. for a more tangy twist in flavor.
- Green olives: Sliced; Use Castelvetrano olives for more tang.
- Mozzarella: Diced or grated; offers a creamy element to the tangy salad. A ball of fresh mozzarella is preferred, torn into small bits, or another option is tiny mozzarella balls
- Parmesan: Freshly grated and sprinkled all over it adds another level of flavor
Tips for Outstanding Panzanella
- Toast day-old bread with garlic-infused oil for extra flavor
- Avoid large tomatoes that can be so soft and juicy that they completely break down when sprinkled with salt. You want Panzanella to be a little juicy, and at the same time have some body and firm texture; smaller tomatoes are the answer.
PIN FOR LATER!
- 2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 3 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly-cracked sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly-cracked black pepper
- 2 - 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 4 cups coarsely chopped vine-ripe, red tomatoes
- 1/2 cup sliced red onion
- ⅓ cup chopped fresh basil
- 6 pancetta slices (cut about 1/8th" thick), cooked and diced
- 1 (8-ounce) loaf day-old French bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
- Preheat the oven to 350°.
- Arrange bread cubes in a single layer on a baking sheet.
- Bake at 350° for 15 minutes or until toasted; cool.
- On a medium-high stove setting, saute' the diced pancetta until golden brown. Remove the cooked pancetta from the grease and pat dry with paper towels to remove any remaining grease. Cool.
- While the pancetta is sauteeing, combine the first 5 ingredients in a bowl; stir with a whisk.
- In a medium mixing bowl, add tomato, onion, and basil; toss well. Set aside.
- Add the cooled, diced pancetta.
- Add the ingredients (in Step #5) to the tomato/onion/basil/pancetta mixture.
- Toss the bread cubes into the tomato mixture; tossing gently to combine.
- Serve immediately.
- Mangia and Enjoy!
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 342Total Fat: 27gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 16gCholesterol: 31mgSodium: 385mgCarbohydrates: 18gFiber: 3gSugar: 6gProtein: 8g
Enjoy this Panzanella Salad with Pancetta!
Originally posted in 2011, Updated Post with More Information and Photos, 2022
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