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A Typical Tuscan Dish, Plus Gelato

Homemade Panzanella

Homemade Panzanella

Parla italiano?  (Do you speak Italian?)

No, parlo italiano un po….(No, I speak just a little.)

Well that is surely about to change as I will be taking a one month intensive language class at the Universita per Stranieri di Siena.  However, that’s not all.  I am living with an Italian roommate which will encourage my language learning even faster.

Especially when there is dinner to be made and dessert to be enjoyed.

My very kind room mate decided to cook me a typical Tuscan dish for dinner called, Panzanella.  I couldn’t have been more excited.  Despite the fact that I have been avoiding gluten for the last two years, it was time to experience bread again and what better dish to enjoy than a bread salad.

Dinner on the patio

Dinner on the patio

Panzanella’s claim to fame is it’s simple recipe and use of fresh, local ingredients.  Typically made between June and September, it consists of onion, tomato, cucumber, salt, extra virgin olive oil, basil and bread.  The only preparation that needs to be done is soaking of the bread, which can actually be completed while chopping the other ingredients.

Typical Tuscan Dish

Typical Tuscan Dish







Salt to taste


Loaf of bread, the staler the better!

1.  First, you will need to soak the bread in a bowl of water to soften it up.  It is best to use stale bread and a loaf purchased from the bakery.  Set the bowl aside as you prepare the vegetables.

2.  Chop up tomato, cucumber, onion and basil.  Combine in a bowl.

3.  Add EVOO and salt to the mixture.

4.  Then begin tearing the bread into pieces.  You can do this many ways – small, medium, or large chunks depending on your preference.

5.  Combine the bread and salad mixture, add more EVOO and salt to taste, and garnish with fresh basil leaves.

6.  Let rest in the refrigerator before serving.

Buon appetito!


Gelato alla panna

Wanting to contribute something to the meal, I decide on dessert.  At the local COOP, I purchase Viviverde panna gelato.  Viviverde is Italy’s brand of organic, natural and healthy choices.  But plain gelato would just not do.  I remembered a dessert that a friend had just recently served to me at a dinner party called, affogato.  A very simple recipe requiring only two ingredients, gelato and expresso.  Affogato, is gelato with a shot of expresso poured over top.  Motlo buono! I added a few cantucci for garnish!

Affogato, Gelato with Expresso

Affogato, Gelato with Expresso


Molto buono!

Molto buono!


 Have you ever had Panzanella or Affogato?  Will you try making either of these recipes? 





4 comments on “A Typical Tuscan Dish, Plus Gelato

  1. Joyce Yeager
    July 8, 2014

    Two recipe’s that I would definitely try!

    • Jessica
      July 8, 2014

      Molto buono!!!! And easy to make!!

  2. Robert Wood
    August 15, 2014

    We will be going to Cinque Terra in September. My favorite meal in the world is Spaghetti Fruiti de Mari (msp?) severed in Corniglia in the Piazza off the main street.
    I will have Sciacchetra wine after the meal but do you have a recommendation for a local wine with the meal?

    • Jessica
      August 15, 2014

      Hi Woody,
      The local wine is called Cinque Terre DOC and it is a white wine. This would be my choice and all you have to ask for is the local white wine. It is excellent paired with seafood. If you want to get even more specific, you might ask for a bottle of CHEO (my personal favorite – CHEO is the vineyard, located in Vernazza). I hope you enjoy yourself. What a beautiful time of year to visit Cinque Terre. Cheers!

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This entry was posted on July 5, 2014 by in Italian food, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , .
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