Keeping with my theme of FRIENDS -- Pat Leslie is easily the best cook of all my foodie friends. She has been recovering all summer from a broken leg -- so I was surprised to learn that she was hosting her dinner club -- (a dozen of her best friends!) -- for an Italian Dinner.
~ ~ ~ Pat’s Italian Dinner: August 2013 ~ ~ ~
- Antipasto Relish Tray
- Olive Tapenade
- Steamed Mussels
- Herbed Bread
- Panzanilla Salad
- Summer Squash Gratin
- Chocolate Sin Pots
- Hazelnut Biscotti
Just READING about all that delicious Italian food made me hungry. And believe me -- Pat will make everything from scratch. She plans great menus, writes excellent directions -- and when she sends me a recipe, it TURNS OUT PERFECTLY.
The day this menu arrived (with recipes for every dish)-- I had a table FULL OF DELICIOUS RIPE TOMATOES. Perfect....
Panzanella (Italian Bread Salad)
4 cups tomatoes, cut into large chunks
4 cups day old crusty bread with crusts (Italian or French loaf), cut into chunks the same size as the tomatoes
1 cucumber, skinned and seeded, cut into large chunks
1/2 red onion, chopped
1 clove garlic
1 bunch fresh basil, torn into small pieces
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar or 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar, plus more as needed
1/4 to 1/2 cup good olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Mix all ingredients together and let marinate, covered, at room temperature for at least 30 minutes, up to 12 hours. (Do not refrigerate. Texture of tomatoes will be destroyed.) Serve at room temperature. Makes 6 to 8 servings.
My bread wasn't exactly stale -- so I decided to toast it under the broiler for a bit...
I left out the cucumbers (cuz I don't like 'em)....
WOW...THIS WAS SO DELICIOUS...
Thanks again, Pat. FOR EVERYTHING!! YOU ROCK...