food and wine

The best panzanella recipe: Winner of the Panzanella Cook Off at Fattoria dei Barbi

In late July, on the occasion of the Feast of the Blessed John Colombini (one of the ancestors of the current generation of the Cinelli Colombini family, owners of the Fattoria dei Barbi), the estate held a Panzanella Cook Off and challenge in which contestants competed for the “Best Panzanella” title.

The winner was Susanna Piìì (in the photo above, right).

Her winning recipe follows. In case you don’t know panzanella, it’s a classic Tuscan summer dish created with stale Tuscan bread and summer produce. A favorite “rustic” recipe that some believe was invented by the Blessed John Colombini himself.

Congratulations, Susanna, on your delicious entry!

Salimbecca (Panzanella)

By Susanna Piìì
(winner of the 2017 Panzanella Cook Off at Fattoria dei Barbi)

Note that Salimbecca is an alternate name for Panzanella in Montalcino dialect.


Tuscan bread (at least one-day old)
celery, peeled and chopped
red onion, sliced in rounds
lettuce, washed
cucumbers, peeled and sliced in rounds
tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and sliced into wedges
basil, roughly chopped
extra-virgin olive oil
wine vinegar
kosher salt
freshly cracked pepper

Soak the bread for at least two days until it becomes soft. Squeeze it of its water using your hands and then crumble. In a large bowl, combine the bread, celery, onion, lettuce (just a few leaves), cucumbers, tomatoes, and basil. Dress with olive oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper to taste.

Serve with a glass of Rosso di Montalcino (the traditional pairing).

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