Lunch today.

And yesterday, as a matter of fact.

Panzanella, mmmmmmm.
I didn’t just discover this lovely culinary gem, but somehow never got around to making it myself.
Until a few months ago that is.
And once I did, well I just about kicked myself for not doing it sooner.

There are plenty of variations out there, for sure.
I think that’s the fun of it.

Initially I used a recipe from an old Cook’s Country magazine and was extremely pleased with the results.
Yesterday, I found myself without some of the ingredients but decided to make a go of it anyway.
And today, with an addition, a substitution, and an omission and I’m still happy with the results.

panzanella.jpg

The original recipe:

Loaf of crusty French bread, cut into cubes, drizzled with olive oil and a bit of kosher salt (pepper optional), tossed onto a cookie sheet and baked at 350 for 10-13 minutes.

1/2 cup classic basil pesto (I used store bought.)
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 small shallot, minced
1 medium cucumber, seeded and cubed
1 pint cherry tomatoes, quartered (I used on the vine, they tend to be sweeter.)
1 can cannelloni beans, drained and rinsed
1 T chopped fresh basil
salt/pepper to taste

Whisk pesto and vinegar together in glass bowl.
Add veggies and beans.
Toss everything together, so veggies and beans are nicely coated.
Wrap with plastic wrap and pop in the fridge for 2 hours or longer.

When you’re ready to eat, just mix toasted bread in with veggie mix, then scoop to serve.
Delicious.

My recent variations:

I didn’t have beans.
I didn’t have fresh basil. (Which, the basil is almost redundant anyways, with the pesto and all.)
I substituted the shallot for finely chopped Vidalia onion, which is all I had on hand.
I only left the veggie mixture to marinate in the fridge for like 1/2 hour. (I was hungry for lunch!)
I added some small-diced mozzarella, which made it even lovelier and hardier. (Especially because it was sans beans.)

Salad with bread! Amazing!
:p

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