Italian Regional Recipes Primi Piatti: Pasta, Rice, Soups

Tuscan Panzanella

What is Panzanella? Basically a summer salad based on stale bread.

Panzanella doesn’t need cooking since it consists in stale bread soaked in water and vinegar then combined with fresh veggies. That’s why is one of the most popular Tuscan summer dish and also fully appreciated since it’s a great way to save some old bread which it would be such a pity to throw away.

It’s a poor peasant origin recipe and represents one of the typical dish of Tuscany such as also other Regions of Central Italy like Umbria and Lazio. Tuscans use their bread which is known to be without salt, called ‘pane sciocco’ salt-free-tuscan-bread.


Serves 4, Preparation approx 15 to 20 minutes

  • Stale bread, to taste
  • 4 – 5  tomatoes, ripen
  • Some leaves of fresh basil
  • Optional, few mint leaves
  • Fresh cucumber, 1
  • Red onion, 1
  • White wine vinegar, half a glass
  • salt, to taste
  • EVOO – Extra Virgin Olive Oil, 4 tablespoons

Method

Peel and slice both the cucumber and the onion.

Soak the stale bread chunks in a bowl with cold water and vinegar until softens.

Squeeze the bread with your hands in order to get rid of the excess water, break it roughly, seasoning with EVOO, salt, squeeze tomatoes and add them to the bread along with cucumber and onion slices.

Mix everything, add some basil and chopped mint leaves, taste and seasoning again if necessary.

Store in the fridge for about an hour and pull out 10 minutes before serving.

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