Italian chefs always have a signature pasta dish, and this is one of Roberto Donna’s favorites. It’s delicious, gourmet enough to serve guests, but fuss-free for days when you’re too tired from holiday shopping to cook.
One of the most popular chefs in the Washington DC area, Donna actually hails from Italy, and aims to teach what “real” Italian food is (as opposed to the watered-down stuff they sell at steakhouses).
Serve this dish with a Pinet Noir, he suggests, and a bowl of light chicken broth.
1/2 loaf Italian bread, crust removed and sliced (preferably day old bread)
1 onion, very thinly sliced
6 celery ribs, thinly sliced
1 small cucumber, peeled, quartered, seeds removed, and thinly sliced
4 tomatoes, peeled, seeded, quartered
1 bunch basil, shredded
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup white wine vinegar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Soak the bread in cold water for 15 minutes. Then, in a separate container, soak the onion in water as well (place on paper towels when done).
Mix celery, cucumber, tomatoes, basil and onion. Throw in the the oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. Add the bread and toss well to combine.