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I have long been a fan of Panzanella salads – the crusty bread gently softened with olive oil and vinegars, and combined with crispy vegetables – a wonderful combination.
I loved the Tuscan Panzanella the very first time I made it, and I have loved it every time since.
I was so excited when I found this recipe that included pumpkin – the addition of one of my very favorite foods to a favorite salad, was irresistible – and so perfect for this time of year.

ROASTED PUMPKIN PANZANELLA WITH CHILI CROUTONS

1/4 cup butter
3 cups day old bread, cut into 1 inch cubes
1/2 teaspoon red chili powder (I didn’t have this on hand, so I used chile powder)
salt
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup sherry vinegar
4 cups of pumpkin of your choice (sugar, crown), peeled, seeded and cut in 1 inch chunks
1/2 cup olive oil, divided use
salad greens
4 plum tomatoes, cored and chopped
1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese
salt and pepper

MAKE CROUTONS
Heat oven to 400F.
In a skillet, melt butter over medium heat and cook until it foams. Immediately add bread and chili powder and toss well to coat. Transfer to baking sheet and sprinkle with salt. Bake croutons until crisp and lightly brown, about 8 to 10 minutes, stirring once. Set aside and cool.
MAKE SALAD
Increase oven to 450F.
Placed sliced onions and vinegar in a bowl, add a pinch of salt and set aside.
In a large roasting pan, toss pumpkin with 1/4 cup olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Spread pumpkin in a single layer and bake until pumpkin is tender, about 25 minutes.
MAKE DRESSING
Whisk 1/4 cup oil into bowl of vinegar and onions. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
ASSEMBLE COMPONENTS
In a large bowl, combine roasted pumpkin, and croutons. Add dressing, salad greens and tomatoes and toss to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the goat cheese on top.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from The Wall Street Journal, November 2011
www.wallstreetjournal.com/

TUSCAN PANZANELLA

4 plum tomatoes
12 yellow cherry tomatoes
2 garlic cloves, sliced into slivers
4 thick slices chewy, day old bread, cut into cubes
1 small cucumber, seeded and diced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar
handful basil leaves, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup capers, drained
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Heat oven to 350F.
Quarter the plum tomatoes. Make a small cut in the top of the cherry tomatoes and push a sliver of garlic into them, then arrange tomatoes, and bread pieces on a baking sheet. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes.
Put cucumber and  parsley into a salad bowl, add the tomatoes and bread, sprinkle with olive oil and vinegars and season to taste with salt and pepper, toss well. Set aside for 20 minutes to let the flavors develop. Just before serving add basil leaves and capers.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from The Morning News, July 2002

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