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
8 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion
1 carrot
200 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
2 bay leaves
½ glass of tuscan white wine (any dry wine like Vernaccia or Galestro)
Salt and pepper
Take the chicken, cut it in pieces retaining the skin. Chop vegetables, onion, celery, carrots, parsley, rosemary , garlic and add this mixture into a cold large pan, add olive oil and let sautee at low-medium temperature for a few minutes.
Add the chicken pieces and sautee for a few minutes more turning them on all sides. They must become golden. Add salt and pepper.
Add then the white wine, increase heat to evaporate it completely. Add the tomato and the whole bay leaves and cover the pan and cook on low heat for about half hour or until the chicken is tender. Add and olives and cook a minute more.
A good red tuscan wine is what we recommend to enjoy this meal at best.

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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!

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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.

 

Means ‘ugly shoe’ but it’s an amazing tuscan dish

From an old tradition of the northern coast of Tuscany, comes this surprising dish.

La Scarpaccia (means ugly shoe, because, once cooked it’s thick like a sole’s shoe) is shaped and soft like a focaccia, and the taste is so appealing to the palate that one could hardly tell it comes from a combination of a few basic ingredients.

scarpacciaIngredients:

500 gr of fresh small size zucchini
20 zucchini flowers
1 medium size white or golden onion
4 tablespoons of white flour
40 gr of extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper

Cut the zucchini into thin rings, chop finely the zucchini flowers and onion. Put everything in a bowl and add salt and freshly ground black pepper, let it to rest.
After three hours on the bottom of the bowl there will be some liquid needed to form the dough.
Add then in, the flour and olive oil, mix everything making sure that all the vegetables are coated with a light batter (if necessary add a little water to it).
Grease with some olive oil a baking tray, or use baking sheet, pour in the dough, it should be about 1 cm high, and bake at 200 °C for about 50 minutes to an hour until a golden crust is formed.

Buon appetito from Arianna and Friends!