A common notion about Italian Food that I have observed among a number of Gujjus is that it is limited to Pizzas or if they’re a little more well-informed, Pasta! Funny isn’t it?
Well, Pizza and Pasta are popular only across southern part of Italy! There’s a lot to Italian cuisine that most people seem to know. If I could draw a comparison, the cuisine of Italy, a European peninsula where the initial chapters of the world’s renaissance were written, is as diverse as its art and culture.
The roots of Catholics and Christianity have been laid in Italy and it is a home to some of the world’s most beautiful heritage sites. If I correlate its cuisine to history, Italian cuisine indeed speaks volumes of the various historical influences the country and its populace has had by different cultures. You might find a plethora of flavours, while you travel across the different geographical regions of Italy.
The quaint little province will welcome you with a fresh taste, new ingredients and different seasonings. One such simple and healthy delicacy I came across is Panzanella Salad. It’s history traces back to the 16th century! Panzanella is a salad made mainly of bread and tomatoes and is usually consumed more in the summer. Apart from bread, the ingredients are also those that retain water: Cucumber, Bell Peppers, Onions, Tomatoes! It is popular across central Italy, mainly Tuscany!
Bread Slices – 2 medium sized
Bell Pepper – 1 medium
Onion – 1/2 of a small one
Cucumber – 1/2 of a medium one
Cherry Tomatoes – 4
Basil – 1 tsp
Olive Oil – 4 tbsp
Fine chop the cucumbers, onions and bell-peppers.
Slice the cherry tomatoes into half. If you don’t have cherry tomatoes, you may use regular tomatoes: one small sized finely chopped.
Cut the bread into 1/2 centimeter crumbs.
Mix the vegetables in the bowl and toss them well. Sprinkle the basil and toss them again.
Dress it with 2 tbsps of olive oil and toss again.
Add the bread crumbs and toss well. Dress with the remaining amount of oil, toss well and keep aside. Do not refrigerate. Just cover it and keep it on room temperature for about an hour.
It makes a good meal with pasta and soup. I choose some creamy soup – almond and cream and pasta arrabiata.
Image Courtesy: http://katie.cambriawines.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/Panzanella-Salad.jpg
1 tsp of Thousand Island dressing can be tossed with the salad and then serve it raw!