Jul 21

La Tagliata + Panzanella

I’ll begin this post with a small confession: we didn’t actually eat panzanella at La Tagliata or anywhere in Italy for that matter. I just felt like eating it for lunch yesterday and figured you might enjoy vicariously experiencing my summer cravings. I’ll share this summer salad recipe at the end of this post, but you’ll have to read through my La Tagliata review to get to it (I’m in a sassy mood today, what can I say?).

Dan and I ventured to La Tagliata (pronounced la tie-yah-ta) on the fourth night of our stay in Italy after the concierge at our hotel pretty much told us we would forever regret it if we didn’t incorporate the restaurant into our Positano experiences. He ensured us that there would be lots of food, wine, singing, and dancing (Tuesdays and Fridays only, party people). Knowing full and well that we were not about to miss out on an Italian dance party, we got ourselves a reservation for two and made our way to the restaurant nestled in the hills of Montepertuso.

Upon our arrival, we were directed down a flight of stairs (stairs are a necessary component of cities built on a mountainside) to this beautiful terrace overlooking the sea:

Photo retrieved from latagliata.com

Given that two other couples from our hotel had reservations at the same time, we decided we’d experience La Tagliata as a group and requested a table together. Before our napkins were on our laps, the owner of the restaurant was placing bottles of biancho and rosso vino on our table. The wine was not a lone star amongst our table for long; within five minutes, plate after plate after plate of antipasti were scattered on every bare nook and cranny of our table. If I had to give an exact number, I’d say we received 9 plates of overflowing antipasti goodness. From eggplant to peas to mozzarella and back again, this was a vegetarian’s safe haven in a lamb-loving countryside. The food wasn’t just great in numbers, it was rich in flavor and exemplified the art of simplicity that is so prominent in Italian cuisine. This could have been the only course, and I would have already eaten to my heart’s content. But, wait, there’s more…

Actually, before there was more, there was a dance party that involved live singing and swinging our napkins above our heads, and I couldn’t help but let these lyrics fill my mind: twist it ’round yo’ hand spin it like a helicopter

For the “first course” (didn’t we just have the first course?!), we were greeted by five overflowing plates of homemade pasta. There was gnocchi alla sorrentina, fusilli con funghi, ravioli, cannelloni, and one other the vino is still holding captive in my memory. I felt like a little kid in a candy store having homemade pasta and this much of it. Just the memory of this course warms my pasta-loving soul. But, wait, there’s more…

For our second course, we were greeted by 2 giant platters of meat. I’m talking beef, lamb, duck, chicken and in multiple forms; sausage, filet, t-bone, breast, thigh, wing. Given that we had just had about two meals worth of food within our antipasti and pasta courses, this was one time when I openly declared my vegetarianism. “I’m a vegetarian…and even if I wasn’t, I would toss my cookies if I took another bite.” I didn’t really say that last part at dinner because that wouldn’t be ladylike — you know I like to reserve my unladylike sayings for you. My meat-eating tablemates seemed to very much enjoy the offerings but, even so, they could barely clear a quarter of what was dished out to them. But, wait, there’s more…

Dessert time. At this point, I wanted to talk like. this. because. I. was. so. full. However, I grew up with the knowledge that no meal is complete without something sweet, so I knew I had to find the room for one last round of indulgence. And I did. I was able to taste a bit of all five delicious desserts which ranged from fresh cherries to decadent chocolatey cakes, and it was totally worth a twinge of discomfort. But wait, there’s more…

DANCING!

Overall, La Tagliata is a must-experience if you’re in Positano. For 35 Euros per person you get free-flowing house wine, an abundance of amazing food, live music, and a dance party. Really, what more could you ask for?

Panzanella (Serves 6)

For the croutons:

◊ 1 large Italian bread loaf, cut into 1-inch cubes

◊ 3 tbsp olive oil

◊ sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the tomato salad:

◊ 20 pearl tomatoes, quartered and halved

◊ 1/2 medium-size red onion, cut into thick slices

◊ 20 basil leaves, roughly chopped

◊ sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the dressing:

◊ 1 garlic clove, minced

◊ 3 tbsp red wine vinegar

◊ 4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

◊ 1 tbsp dijon mustard

◊ sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

To make the croutons, heat olive oil in large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Place bread cubes in skillet, season liberally with salt and pepper, and slowly toast until edges form a golden crust. Croutons should be crispy on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside. Set aside.

To make the salad, put the tomatoes, onion, and basil in a large bowl and season with salt and pepper.

To make the dressing, whisk all ingredients together until emulsified.

If you’re serving a large group, combine the croutons, tomato salad, and dressing in a large bowl and toss to coat. However, if you’re just serving yourself or a few people, place a handful of croutons in each serving bowl, top with tomato salad, and drizzle with dressing. Reserve the croutons, tomato salad, and dressing each in separate containers to enjoy later.

Comments

  1. Wow. Making Croutons = suddenly nearly top priority on my to-do list. Thanks for the idea!

  2. That panzanella looks perfect – light and delicious! A wonderful lunch for this time of the year, especially since the sun has finally come out here.

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