You know how Olive Garden says "When you're here, you're family"? Well, I have a confession to make -- I really dislike that, because Olive Garden is a disgusting excuse for Italian food, but the slogan could not be more true for Italian families.
When you come over, we're going to throw you around a table and feed you until you think you can't eat any more and then declare that it's time for the main course.
Who else is nodding in agreement? Food is the cornerstone of Italian families. Well today, I'm bringing you one of my favorite recipes!
My mom has perfected her panzanella recipe over the years. It's a summer specialty, but thankfully fresh produce is always "in season" in Hawaii so we eat this pretty often, but it's never as good as it is at my parent's. What is panzanella? Traditionally, it's a Tuscan salad made of bread and tomatoes, dressed with olive oil and balsamic, sometimes mozz and basil is added. Some of the absolute best panzanella I've ever tasted was in culinary school and oh man...my mouth is watering just thinking of it. So, let's get to my family's recipe before I drool all over my keyboard.
You Will Need:
2 fresh tomatoes, seeds removed and diced
1 red onion, diced
1 zucchini, diced
1 yellow squash, sauteed
1 red pepper, sauteed
1 cup pepperoni, diced or cubed
day old load of bread turned into bread cubes
fresh mozzarella (how much you like cheese is dependent upon how much you'll need!)
*Chopped Bocconcini are the best to use, in my opinion, but pearls work, too!
2 cloves garlic, minced
quality olive oil & balsamic (I use
1. Heat 3-4 tbsp. olive oil in a large skillet with one clove garlic and saute bread cubes. Remove when browned and set aside.
2. In a large bowl, add tomatoes, onion, zucchini, yellow squash and pepper. Toss.
3. In a small bowl, whisk together oil, balsamic, 1 clove garlic, salt and pepper. I'll be honest and say I never measure this, but use your judgement to make enough to light coat your vegetables.
4. Pour mixture over veggies and toss.
5. Add in bread and mix well.
6. Now is the part where you can add (or not add) what you like. My mom always serves the pepperoni and mozzarella on the side, but if you don't have any picky eaters in your family, mix them right in!
7. Toss, serve and enjoy!
*P.S. All these photos were taken with my iPhone, because there was no way in hell my family was waiting to eat so I could photograph their dinner. #realtalk