PREP TIME: 30 Minutes

I first discovered this old world delicacy while having lunch with Father John Lacari, a wonderful Italian priest, who brought this dish here from Italy. Although simple to produce, the flavors once incorporated are indescribable. Try it not only as an hors d'oeuvre, but as the perfect garnish to any Italian or Southwest dish.


  • 3 cups diced Creole tomatoes
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tbsps chopped fresh basil
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp chopped fresh thyme
  • 25 whole basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 25 French bread croutons, toasted
  • Salt and black pepper

In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients except whole basil leaves and croutons. Blend well, cover and refrigerate 1-2 hours. When ready to serve, place one whole basil leaf on top of a French bread crouton and serve one heaping tablespoon of the Pansanella on top. Eat as a cold hors d'oeuvre.

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