That Time I Went To Rome And Ate Panzanella.
One of the first things I ever ate in Italy was Panzanella, which is what inspired me to come up with a simplified Easy Peasy Panzenella. It was summer and we were staying in a tiny but beautiful flat in Trastevere, one of my favorite parts of Rome. We’d rented an AirBNB so that I could bring home fresh fruits and veggies from the market and cook them up in the closet sized kitchen. Anthony and I would wake up early, head out for a run along the Tiber to beat the heat (as much as we could), and meet back at the apartment to shower up and head to Campo de’ Fiori for latte de soya e cornetti vegani on the piazza before browsing the market.
Why I Love Campo De’ Fiori Even Though It Is Pretty Touristy.
Campo de’ Fiori literally translates into the Camp of Flowers, and you will see remnants of its namesake throughout the piazza. I actually picked out the flowers for my wedding at this historic tourist attraction with my aunt, who arranged my bouquet. The market is loud and bustling, but not in that annoying way where you can’t hear yourself think, but in that fun, cheerful way, where eating pizza out of a greasy sheaf of thin paper while counting all the different kinds of pomodori is the best thing in life.
I Wish I Could Take You To Rome With Me.
We had planned on going to Tuscany this summer but, as you might have imagined, those plans were discarded when COVID19 arrived on the scene. I’ve spent so many summers in Italy, now, it’s hard not to think of collecting all the jewels glinting off the river during my run, or the smells of yeast wafting out from La Ranella (hands down best pizza place) at 5:30 in the morning, or the sound of a lonely tenor trying to remember the name of his lost love in my blue-grey dreams of Trastevere. For those of you who’ve never been to Italy, I wish I could show you all of her in her full glory, because when she reveals herself to you in the way she did to me, you will fall head over heels in love. Not just with her food, but with her old, old soul.
Rome is actually not my most favorite place in all of Italy. That honor belongs to Sardegna, which is where we went for our honeymoon. I could literally talk forever about Sardegna, but I will save that for another blog post.
I Always Simplify Recipes To Make Them Easy.
Now, the Panzanella I had in Rome contained succulent zucchini and delicious eggplant. The thing with that, though, is that you have to salt them in order to remove the excess liquid, which, to put it bluntly, is a big pain in the butt. I wanted to whip together something that I could eat in like 15 minutes. So, I came up with this version of this “bread salad,” if you will, with whatever I had on hand. I’m pretty sure you’ll have all of these ingredients too, and with just a little prep work, before you know, you, too, will be sitting on the piazza, enjoying a smells and sounds of Italy.
Other recipes to try:
Easy Peasy Panzanella
- 4 cups day old bread cut into 1 inch chunks
- 1/2 red onion chopped
- 5-6 Roma tomatoes chopped
- 3 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 6-7 basil leaves
- Preheat oven to 475° F. In a large bowl, toss cubed bread with 1 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil, 1 pinch of salt, and a little black pepper.
- Place bread cubes on baking sheet in one layer, spread out (you may need to use two baking sheets). Place in the oven and toast until they start to brown (~7-8 mins).
- When bread is toasted, add to a large bowl, together tomatoes. Add 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, ½ tbsp balsamic vinegar, and another pinch of salt and black pepper. Tear basil into bowl as well, and then mix until all ingredients are well combined.