Winter Panzanella Salad With Roasted Vegetables

veggie panzanella

A panzanella salad traditionally is made in summertime with fresh tomatoes and bread, but today I’m featuring a winter version of a panzanella salad. I promise you will love it and you’ll be surprised just how easy it is to make.

Go take a look inside your fridge and see what veggies you have in there, any combination would work, this is truly a freeform type of recipe.

Below is exactly what I had in my fridge.

uncooked veggies

I had a mix of broccoli, carrots, onion, peppers, brussel sprouts, sugar snap peas and cauliflower. If I had squash I would have added that, whatever you have will work.

Don’t be afraid to fill a whole sheet pan full of your favorite veggies like I did. Then drizzle them all over with olive oil, add salt and pepper and roast at 400 degrees until golden, with still a little bite. Make sure you don’t over cook them, you don’t want mushy vegetables here.

homemade croutons

Another important component to this salad is homemade croutons. I can’t stress enough how important it is to make your own, store bought ones do not compare.

I used a stale hunk of ciabatta for mine but any crusty bread would do. Just chunk it up, place on a baking sheet, drizzle and toss them with a generous amount of olive oil, pepper and I had a rosemary salt that I added.

You’re going to put those bread cubes into a 400 degree oven until they get golden and crispy, they don’t take too long so keep watching and tossing them.

vinagrette

Then the final important elements are a homemade vinaigrette and fresh bocconcini, ( fresh mozzarella). Again I stress homemade is best, so please don’t use a bottled dressing of any kind, making your own vinaigrette is easy to do and makes a world of difference to the taste and over all deliciousness of this salad.

I will add my vinaigrette recipe below at the end of the post.

roasted veggies

After the veggies have been roasted and cooled down and the croutons and vinaigrette is made, it’s time to put this winter panzanella together.

winter panzanella

Grab a pretty bowl, add the roasted veggies, torn basil and chopped fresh parsley. Toss in your croutons and bocconcini, use as much as you want and add in a few sliced cherry tomatoes for freshness. roasted veggies

All that’s left is to spoon that vinaigrette over the top and dig in! This could serve as a lunch, side dish or if you just feel like eating a bowl of goodness!

I hope you try this winter version of a panzanella salad.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Homemade Vinaigrette
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 1 part white balsamic vinegar
  • 3 parts olive oil
  • a dollop of dijon mustard
  • 1 small garlic clove, grated
  • a pinch of salt and pepper
  • a pinch of dried oregano
Instructions
  1. Place all the ingredients into a jar that has a lid.
  2. Shake well until it all emulsifies together.
  3. Store in the fridge when not using.

 

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Dark Chocolate Amaretto Tart with Amaretti Cookie Crust

chocolate tart

Calling all chocolate lovers! Here’s an easy dessert to make for upcoming Valentines Day, a special occasion or if you just have a wild craving for dark chocolate!

The best part about this dark chocolate tart with the almond flavor of Amaretto is that the only thing you’ll have to bake is the crust!

Speaking of the crust, it’s made with crushed amaretti cookies and butter, just like you would make a graham cracker crust but only better.

chopped chocolate

The filling is basically a mousse made of melted dark chocolate that’s folded into whipped cream and flavored with amaretto liquor. The liquor gives it a rich deep flavor, but if you want to substitute that with almond extract go ahead, you need to have that almond flavor.

amaretti cookie crust

As soon as you open up the bag of amaretti cookies that almond smell hits you right away, I promise you it will make the tart so much more amazing by using them for the crust.

dark chocolate

Grab some good quality dark chocolate to melt down and when it cools you’re going to fold it into some heavy whipped cream to create a wonderful silky mousse.

chocolate moussetart filling

Then it’s onto your baked amaretti crust and into the fridge for chilling, but the wait is worth it!

chocolate mousse tart

When chilled, garnish the top with some of the crushed amaretti cookies and toasted sliced almonds and then share a piece with someone you love!

chocolate tart slice

Enjoy!

Dark Chocolate and Amaretto Tart with Amaretti Cookie Crust
 
Satisfy your chocolate craving with this easy to make chocolate Amaretto tart.
Author:
Ingredients
  • Tart Crust
  • 1-7oz. package of amaretti cookies
  • 5 Tablespoons melted butter
  • Mousse Filling
  • 1¾ cup heavy cream
  • 2 Tablespoons Amaretto liquor or ½ to 1 teaspoon of almond extract
  • 5 oz. chopped dark chocolate, good quality
  • 2 Tablespoons powdered sugar
  • toasted sliced almonds for garnish
Instructions
  1. Pre heat the oven to 325F
  2. Melt butter then set aside.
  3. Pour 90% of the cookies into a food processor and process until fine crumbs, leaving the rest to crush by hand later for garnish.
  4. Pour the butter through the tube of processor until the crumbs look like wet sand.
  5. Press the crumbs into a 9" fluted tart pan.
  6. Bake the crust at 325F for 20 minutes until set, then cool completely.
  7. In a small saucepan add ¾ cup of heavy cream, when it starts to slightly simmer remove from the heat and stir in the chocolate and Amaretto. Stir til the chocolate is silky smooth, then let it cool to room temperature.
  8. In a medium size bowl add the remaining 1 cup of heavy cream and powdered sugar, whip til you get stiff peaks.
  9. Gently fold in the cooled down chocolate and mix until fully incorporated.
  10. Pour filling into cooled crust and refrigerate for a couple of hours before serving.
  11. Right before serving garnish with toasted almonds and some of the remaining crushed amaretti cookies.
  12. ***Recipe adapted from Everyday Food***

 

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Seafood Freeform Lasagna with Lemon Cream Sauce

seafood lasagna

If you’re looking for a special date night dinner, something a little fancy but not so hard to make try this seafood freeform lasagna, what makes it even more special is the subtle lemon cream sauce that’s spooned all over.

This is the perfect dinner to have on Valentines Day which is coming up soon and I’m quite sure many of us will be dining at home. This is meant for two people but you can certainly double the recipe for more to enjoy if need be.

I used a mix of scallops and shrimp in this easy freeform lasagna, which is highlighted with a touch of Limoncello for a smack of bright lemon flavor!

chopped shrimp and scallops

The prep work is all done in advance so when it’s time to eat all you have to do is pop your dish into the oven, warm it up and get that golden top.

You’ll be spending all your time with your date instead of cooking and cleaning in the kitchen all night, and that’s a good thing!

filling ramekins

The lemon sauce is very light, you can use half lemon juice and half Limoncello or just all lemon juice. I wouldn’t do all Limoncello because that would  be too sweet tasting and overpower the seafood.

If lemon is not your thing, you can make a nice white sauce to top it off like a béchamel, that would be equally as delicious and creamy to top it off.

Cut your lasagna noodles to fit into individual ramekins if using or if you end up using a bigger dish,  it doesn’t have to fit perfect.

seafood filled ramekins

Then you’re going to layer all that amazing seafood on top. It’s a delicious mix of chopped scallops, shrimp, garlic, shallots with a little ricotta and mascarpone for creaminess and to help bind it all.

shrimp and scallop lasagna

Save some whole shrimp for garnish it makes a striking presentation. This can be served along side a beautiful salad or if you really want to go all out, a steak for some surf and turf!

5.0 from 2 reviews
Seafood Freeform Lasagna with Lemon Cream Sauce
 
A date night or Valentines Day dinner for you and your special someone.
Author:
Ingredients
  • 1 lb. seafood, I used a combo of ½ lb. shrimp and ½ lb. scallops, you can also use all shrimp or any combo of your choice, peeled and deveined leaving a couple of whole shrimp or scallops for garnish
  • 6 lasagna sheets, pre-boiled
  • SEAFOOD MIXTURE INGREDIENTS
  • drizzle of olive oil
  • 1 large shallot, small dice
  • 2 large garlic, minced
  • 2 heaping tablespoons chopped parsley, extra for garnish
  • ¼ cup of ricotta
  • 1 heaping tablespoon mascarpone cream
  • 1 tablespoon, limoncello in the seafood mix or use 1 tablespoon, lemon juice
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • FOR THE LEMON CREAM SAUCE
  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter and extra to butter your ramekins
  • 2 Tablespoons, Limoncello ( or use all lemon juice to make up the 4 Tablespoons)
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 cup heavy cream
Instructions
  1. Pre boil your lasagne noodles, according to the time directions on the box, cool them down and set aside.
  2. Chop up your seafood into bite size pieces, making sure to clean your shrimp beforehand, and setting aside 1 or 2 for garnish.
  3. For the whole shrimp garnish, season them and stick into a 420F oven until cooked through, then set aside.
  4. Butter 2 -6 inch" ramekins or 1- 12 inch"
  5. Drizzle olive oil in the bottom of a sauté pan, add the shallot and garlic til soft then toss in the chopped seafood, tossing gently till cooked. Don't over cook!
  6. Add 1 Tablespoon of Limoncello to the mix or lemon juice as well as the parsley.
  7. Let the mixture cool down then add the ricotta and mascarpone, folding it in and mixing it til incorporated.
  8. Make your lemon cream sauce by placing both Limoncello, ( 2 tablespoons) and lemon juice( 2 tablespoons) in a small sauce pan together ( or use all lemon juice( 4 tablespoons).
  9. Once warm whisk in your butter.
  10. When the butter melts in add the heavy cream gently stirring on low heat until the cream thickens.
  11. NOW FOR ASSEMBLY
  12. Line the bottom of your ramekins with a few cooked lasagna noodles, cutting them if need be to fit.
  13. Spread a little of the lemon cream sauce on the noodles.
  14. Divide your seafood mix between the two ramekins and spread on top of the pasta.
  15. Use the remaining lasagna noodles to fit over the top of the seafood mixture.
  16. Spoon some of the lemon sauce all around.
  17. This all can be prepped ahead of time.
  18. When you’re ready to serve you can place the ramekins under your broiler to warm it up and get some golden color on top, but if you do you can't walk away!
  19. Stay near the oven broiler and keep checking to make sure it doesn’t burn,.
  20. You can also heat them in the oven at 375 just til heated through, ovens vary so keep checking, it won't take too long, and remember everything is cooked already.
  21. If you want a little more golden on top, stick it under the broiler for that, but again do not walk away!
  22. Spoon some of the lemon cream on top to finish, garnish with chopped parsley and top it off with the whole cooked shrimp.
  23. Enjoy!

 

 

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