Cooking Channel star and chef David Rocco whips up a simple summer Italian meal:
• Tuscan Bread Salad (Panzanella)
8 slices stale Tuscan-style or dense country-style bread
10 cherry tomatoes, halved
1 red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup best-quality extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
4 fresh basil leaves
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Submerge the slices of stale bread in a bowl of water. Get your hands in there and play with your food. You want to mush it around for a minute or so. Panzanella is all about texture, so by using your hands, you can decide how mushy you want it to be and how moist you want your final result to be. The food will respond to your touch and will taste better. Once you're done, squeeze out the water and break up the bread into your serving bowl.
If you're making this in peak season, when the tomatoes are sweet, then use the juice, seeds and all. Otherwise, squeeze the water and seeds out of your halved cherry tomatoes; discard the seeds. Add the tomatoes and sliced red onions to the bowl. Add the olive oil and red wine vinegar. Tear up the basil and add it along with salt and pepper.
Give it a good toss and let it rest in the fridge for 30 minutes to give the flavors a chance to develop before serving.
Add radicchio or arugula for some bite and a bit of crunch and color. Add just before serving so the greens don't wilt in the salad.
• Lazy Man's Lemon Tiramisu
2 cups of mascarpone cheese
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup Limoncello
1/2 cup water
2 lemons for lemon zest
40 Italian lady fingers
1 package of blueberries
Dip lady fingers in bowl with half water and limoncello mixture. In another bowl, whisk and fluff mascarpone with sugar and little limo cello.
Add some lady fingers in the martini glass, add mascarpone mixture and top with blueberries and lemon zest.
— For more information visit: www.davidrocco.com