A taste of Tuscany with Chicken Cacciatora

A classic from the old tradition, a favorite in any tuscan home for a special day or just any day to enjoy.
Try this easy recipe and all the tuscan flavors will make you dream of a sunny day on our gentle hills.

chicken-cacciatora1
Ingredients:
1 free-range chicken possibly organic
5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion
1 carrot
250 grams of fresh peeled diced tomatoes (or canned tomato puree)
A handful of black olives
1 small bunch of parsley
1 sprig of rosemary
1 celery stalk
3 cloves of garlic
1 bay leaf
½ glass of tuscan white wine (like Vernaccia or Galestro)
Salt and pepper
Wash and dry the chicken, cut it in pieces retaining the skin. Put a pan with olive oil on the cooker medium heat, add chopped vegetables, onion, celery, carrots, parsley, rosemary and sautee for a few minutes.
Add the chicken pieces with salt and pepper and sautee for a few minutes more turning them on all sides. They must become golden. Add the bay leaf and olives and cook a minute more.
Add then the white wine, stir, increase heat to evaporate it completely. Add the tomato, cover the pan and cook on low heat for about half hour or until the chicken is tender.
A good red tuscan wine is what we recommend to enjoy this meal at best.

 

Celebrate Tuscany with a slice of Panforte.

From the culinary tradition of Siena, the Panforte cake has sweetened the palate of tuscans for many centuries and it is still a hit among italians, be it because of its very enticing flavor and unique texture or because it’s an entirely vegetable rich cake, it’s always ‘festa’ when you have a slice of it!

panforte1
Here our recipe:

Ingredients
– 200 gr icing sugar
– 150 gr chestnut or acacia honey
– 150 gr white flour
– 250 gr almonds
– 100 gr candied orange skin
– 100 gr candied citron skin
– 2 teaspoons powdered cinnamon
– 1 teaspoon ground coriander seeds
– 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
– 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
– 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
– A sheet of rice paper
Toast almonds in the oven at 180 °C for about 6 minutes then chop them coarsely and put them in a large bowl with chopped candied fruits, flour and spices.
Over low fire in a small saucepan mix honey and 150 gr of sugar and cook for a few minutes until you get a golden syrup.
Pour the syrup in the bowl with the rest of the ingredients and mix well.
Line the inside of a round baking tray (20-22 cm) with the rice paper and scoop in the mix, flatten the top and sprinkle with half of the remaining icing sugar.
Bake in pre-heated oven at 160 °C for 30 minutes, once out of the oven remove from the tray when it’s still a little warm, let it cool completely, give it a final sprinkle of icing sugar, slice it and enjoy!

 

Chickpea soup, a must from the tuscan culinary art.

The tuscan chickpea soup comes form the culinary tradition of our farmers whose meals mainly came from the products of their land, and this is a perfect full meal dish nourishing and balanced, a hearty plate to comfort you any time. Try our recipe and let us know if you liked it.

zuppa-ceci-toscana

Ingredients for 4 persons:
200 gr dry chick peas
200 gr tagliolini or tagliatelle
2 garlic cloves
1 rosemary sprig
2 sage leaves
2 tablespoons tomato puree
5 tablespoons of extravirgin olive oil
Salt & pepper

Directions:
Soak the chickpeas for 24 hours in cold water, make sure to change the water several times a day. Then rinse them well and put them to cook in a pan with water to cover them by 4 cm adding 1 garlic clove and the sage leaves. Cook on low, after 2 hours they should be cooked (add necessary salt only 15 mins before turning off). Then put about a third in separate container and mash them with a blender.
Meanwhile, put in a pot olive oil, garlic, and rosemary and saute, when the garlic gets golden add the tomato paste, the chickpeas with the cooking water and the mashed ones, salt and pepper, one glass of water. Cook on medium for 20 minutes.
Raise the heat adding enough water to cook in the pasta, at boiling point add the tagliolini and let them cook for the required time.
Serve hot with a drizzle of olive oil and enjoy.
PS If you really want to experience this recipe at its best, use freshly made pasta, you’ll see what I mean!

 

Drunken tofu stew the old tuscan way

Nowadays we are all concerned about what we eat, so we have revisited a traditional recipe making a vegetarian stew, tasty and nutritious, that we can have with all the pleasure of an old style savoury tuscan dish.

tofu-stew
Ingredients for 4 people:
400 gr of fresh tofu
500 gr of fresh peeled tomatoes
300 cl of Chianti (or red dry wine)
4 garlic cloves
1 medium size red onion
2 celery stalks
50 gr of dry tomatoes
1 small bunch of parsley
1 tablespoon of minced rosemary leaves
2 carrots
A few basil leaves
Half a teaspoon of black pepper
Half a teaspoon thyme
A quarter teaspoon of marjoram
2 bay leaves
5 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon of sugar
Salt to taste

Directions
Chop finely by hand, or with help of a food processor, carrots , celery, parsley, onion, dry tomatoes and garlic. In a saucepan heat olive oil and toss in the chopped vegetables with rosemary, basil, thyme, black pepper and marjoran and sautee for 2 or 3 minutes.
Chop in little cubes the tofu, toss in the pan with sautee vegetables keeping on gas mark medium, meanwhile chop the tomatoes and put in the pan with the wine, sugar, salt and bay leaves.
Let it cook for 1 hour, checking, and if needed adding some hot water, the final consistency should be of a thick chunky stew.
Serve warm with some tuscan saltless bread slices and good glass of robust Chianti.

 

Red skin potatoes and remember tastes of long ago

From the Casentino valley in Tuscany, a traditional recipe where the main ingredient is the red potato of Cetica, an old variety of potato with a red skin and white inside, that has its own taste and texture and produces delicious special dishes.

Here our version of the red potatoes’ tortelli as we have always made them.

tortelloni
Ingredients:
400 gr of durum wheat flour
5 eggs
700 gr of red skin tuscan potatoes
2 small tuscan sauges
100 gr of dry beef (like beef jerky)
2 tablespoons of finely chopped parsley
3 garlic cloves
3 tablespoons of tomato paste
50 gr of butter
a few sage leaves
extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper

patata rossa di Cetica

Prepare the dough mixing flour with 4 eggs and kneading well until smooth and even (you can you use a bread or pasta machine for the purpose), let it rest covered with a cloth or food plastic foil for half hour.
Wash and boil the potatoes in enough salted water, once cooked drain water, peel and mash them before they get cold. In a small pan sauté the finely chopped dry meat and sausage with a drizzle of olive oil.
Sauté in another pan with some oil the whole garlic cloves just hand crushed, add in the sausage and after a minute or so parsley, tomato paste, salt and pepper, sauté briefly and turn off heat.
Mix the sauce with mashed potatoes, adding one egg to the mixture and discarding the garlic. Finely roll the dough, make pasta stripes of 5-6 cm wide and pack the tortelli with half a spoon of potatoes mash for each one using a second pasta stripe on top and then cutting to close the tortello.
They should be cooked for 4 – 5 minutes in boiling salted water, gently drained and poured in a pan, where previously had lightly sautéed butter with sage. Stir for a minute and serve with grated tuscan pecorino cheese on top. Enjoy your meal!