Tuscan summer appetizer? Here you are.

One of the great gifts that a good summer can offer us is delicious fruits like figs.

There are good just as they are, sweet, soft and juicy, but you can try them in one of the many simple recipes that our ancient tradition in Tuscany can propose.

This following dish is easy to prepare, fulfilling and delicate to the palate. You can use it as a starter or just a snack with a good glass of tuscan wine.

Ingredients for 4 people:

4 slices of tuscan saltless bread

4 ripe medium figs

4 slices of pecorino toscano medium age

2 slices of tuscan ham

Acacia or chestnut honey

Cut bread in 2 cm thick slices, cover each with a slice of pecorino and place on top a quarter fig.

Place the prepared bread slices under hot oven’s broiler until the cheese starts to melt.

Meanwhile, cut in thin stripes the ham and put it in a hot non-stick pan and let it get a little crunchy, then set aside.

Once the cheese is melted, take the slices of out the oven and top them with the crunchy ham and a little honey.

Enjoy!

 

Tuscan summer vegetable soup

We have in the past proposed the classic recipe of Ribollita, the tuscan vegetable soup popular throughout Tuscany.
This is the summer version, where all ingredients are fresh with the full flavors of the seasonal herbs, plus the delicate aroma of the tuscan sheep cheese. Try and make it, the round full taste of tuscan summer will come alive with every spoon you have.

Ingredients for 4 people:

300 gr fresh borlotti beans
150 gr potatoes
200 gr zucchini
200 gr carrots
400 gr black kale
1 large onion
1 garlic clove
2 celery stalks
250 gr fresh tomatoes
250 gr. tuscan bread slices
5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
½ liter of vetable broth
aged tuscan pecorino cheese
thyme
parsley
basil
salt and pepper

In a saucepan, saute onion, celery and carrot in olive oil.

Add diced potatoes, garlic, coarsely chopped black kale, parsley, basil, fresh beans, salt and pepper, and saute gently a little more.

Add then the chopped tomatoes previously peeled, and vegetable broth.

Cook on medium heat for about 1 hour and until most of the liquid is reduced.

Toast the tuscan bread slices..

Put them in a large baking pan, sprinkle with olive oil, pepper and grated pecorino cheese.

Cover them completely with the vegetable stew, sprinkle on top a generous amount of grated pecorino cheese and cook in the oven under broiler until a good crust is formed.

Let it sit out of the oven for at least half hour. Best served lukewarm.

Seaside flavors of Tuscany

A tuscan recipe where you get a full round taste with the fish being softened by the greens of the chards,… proteins, fibers, vitamins, mineral salts, but most of all, the flavors of italian cuisine you expect to find in Tuscany.

seppiainzimino

                        photo andreagrecia

This recipe, popular on the tuscan coast, from Livorno to Carrara, and the neighboring Liguria, express its best when the fish, obviously fresh, comes from the mediterranean sea. The local name “Seppia in Zimino” means that the fish (Seppia) is flavored with greens (Zimino), a traditional way to season used in the fishermen’s kitchens.

Ingredients for 4 people:

900 gr cleaned squid cut into strips

900 gr washed and drained swiss chards (beets)

450 gr peeled fresh tomatoes

1 medium size onion

2 cloves garlic

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

1 glass of tuscan white wine (Colli di Luni or Vernaccia)

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

In a large frying pan heat the olive oil and add finely chopped garlic, onion and parsley.

Cook on medium high heat for a few minutes until tender, then add the squid and cook, always stirring, for 2 or 3 minutes more.

Add the glass of wine, let it evaporate, then add the tomatoes, salt, pepper (watch out for the amount of salt since the squid usually has some of its own) and cook for half an hour.

Add now the swiss chards cut into strips, cooking for about 20 minutes more, adding a little warm water if necessary.

Wait a few minutes before serving.

 

An easy and refined dish ? Sure success with White Truffles Tagliolini.

There are many varieties of truffles, the most common in Italy is the black truffle, while the white from San Miniato in Tuscany is one of the most precious and expensive.

One way to appreciate a good truffle is preparing a fragrant plate of tagliolini (narrow string egg noodles) with truffles.

tagliolini al tartufo

Photo by Vetrina Toscana

Tagliolini with truffles, are prepared with a few simple ingredients, just to enhance the flavor of truffles only, so you do not affect their pure subtle aroma.

Ingredients for 4 people:

350 gr of tagliolini

80 gr of butter

70 gr white truffle

50 gr Parmesan cheese

salt

black pepper

In a large pot bring to a boil enough salted water and cook the noodles “al dente”.

Meanwhile, clean the truffle with a brush to remove any residual dirt, then rub it with a dry cloth.

Melt the butter in a large pan, add half of truffle grated, a pinch of salt and a little black pepper.

Once the noodles are cooked, drain, pour into the pan with truffle butter and add a generous sprinkle of grated Parmesan cheese and let them cook shortly for a minute or so, stirring with a wooden spoon.

Transfer the noodles served on a platter and serve immediately, still hot, sprinkled with the remaining truffle thinly sliced with the appropriate tool.

With Arianna & Friends cooking classes you can learn directly great truffle recipes, or take a tour and enjoy a fun truffle hunt in Tuscany, Italy. If you’re a truffle lover coming to Italy don’t miss this opportunity.

 

Garmugia tuscan soup, all the nutrients you need in one plate

If you are looking for a dish that is nutritious, healthy and balanced the Garmugia is for you.

This soup is made mainly with spring vegetables, and we are not here to tell you all the good properties beneficial for your health that come from artichokes, broad beans, sweet peas and asparagus, but the combination is surely very tasty.

This is an ancient recipe that in Tuscany was once very popular in the farmer’s households of Lucca area, now you can taste it in many restaurants in the northern part of the region.

Here the recipe as we know it by our grandparents:

Ingredients (for 4 people):

200 gr of fresh sweet peas

200 gr of fresh broad beans

4 (good size) artichokes

200 gr of asparagus

3 spring onions

200 gr of minced meat

80 gr of pancetta (not smoked bacon)

1 Lt of vegetable or beef stock

4 slices of tuscan bread

3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil

Salt

Directions:

Wash and rinse all the vegetables. Slice finely the spring onions, discard the outer harder leaves of artichokes and slice them, cut broad beans in half, chop asparagus discarding the bottom harder part.

In a saucepan sautee spring onions with olive oil and pancetta on high for a couple of mins, then add the minced meat stirring for one more minute.

Now add all the vegetables, stir for 2 more mins and add the stock, salt to taste, let it simmer for about 45 mins checking density, if too thick add some boiling water. Toast the bread slices.

Let it rest for at least an hour (best if prepared half a day in advance).

Serve warm with the bread slice in the dish bottom, a good glass of tuscan red wine, and …Buon Appetito.