Monday, June 28, 2010

Meatless Monday - Panzanella Salad

I adore the fresh taste of basil. So much so that I grow an abundance of basil on my back deck. I have so much, I usually end up freezing it or making pesto to use it up.  I grow many other herbs too, and end up only using a portion of each.  This year I vowed to be more creative with the plethora of herbs that I insist on growing.

This recipe is a good way to use some delicious basil and also day-old bread.  Not only that, but once any of my several tomato plants start producing ripe red gems and my shallots are ready to be pulled up, this recipe will be a perfect use of my container garden!

                                                                                                               Photo by Ryan Macchione

Panzanella Salad with Ricotta (serves 4-6)
  • Loaf of crusty Italian bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 4 medium sized tomatoes, seeds removed and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 red onion, sliced into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 2 T extra virgin olive oil, plus more for finishing
  • 3 T red-wine vinegar
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Large handful of basil leaves
  • 8 oz ricotta
Bake bread cubes on a baking sheet in a single layer at 375 degrees until just golden, resembling large croutons, about 18-20 minutes.

In the meantime, combine bell pepper, onion, tomatoes, vinegar and oil in a large bowl.  Season with salt and pepper.

Add basil and toasted bread cubes, stir to combine.  Allow bread to soak up the juices by sitting for 20 minutes.

Divide evenly among serving bowls.  Top with a large spoonful of ricotta.  Season with salt & pepper and finish with a drizzle of olive oil. 



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