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.

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!

 

A tuscan dessert you have to taste… and taste..

A typical dessert of traditional nothern Tuscan cuisine, mainly the Lucca and Pistoia mountains, the Necci are basically made from chestnut’s flour and ricotta cheese. They look like pancakes and they were traditionally cooked between two hot iron plates.

necci and ricotta

photo courtesy intoscana.it

Here follows our recipe.

Ingredients:
500 gr of chestnuts flour
200 gr of sheep ricotta cheese
75 gr of white sugar
50 ml of extra virgin olive oil
50 ml of dry white wine
Salt
20 ml of dark rhum
40 gr of icing sugar

Directions
In a bowl beat the ricotta with the sugar until frothy. In another bowl, whisk chestnut’s flour, wine, a little trickle of oil, sugar and a pinch of salt.
When the mixture becomes homogeneous, warm up on the stove a non stick pan with a few drop of oil and grease through with a paper towel. When hot enough, pour in a small ladle of the compound, shaking the pan to have the compoud well distributed and cook.
When the top side whitens, flip over the neccio and cook until it gets golden. Repeat the procedure for each crepe starting from greasing the pan.

With all the necci in a tray, stuff each of them with the ricotta cream, roll them up on themselves and sprinkle on top a few drops of dark rum and some icing sugar.

Best served warm. Enjoy!

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.

 

The traveler is coming to town

Join the “ Albergo diffuso” a widespread hotel or scattered hotel, from the concept of “a village as your hotel”, alternative to the typical hotel in one single building.

panoramapeccioli

 

More than holiday apartments, the widespread hotel allows to be part of a village life benefiting of fundamental functions of a hotel like a reception, centralized booking, assistance, services like bars and restaurants. It’s a way in to the traditional way of life of the place where the traveler stays absorbing local cultures and traditions.

The apartments scattered throughout a small town or village, in old palaces, buildings or single unit houses are part of a centralized network supervised by a single organized entity that ensures the guest a reference for any information or issue may occur.

Due to the unique authenticity, this type of accomodations offer, along with privacy and relax, the chance to experience new places not only visiting but being part of a local community, sharing the vicinity and evaluating a different way of living.

chianni

Two examples of widespread hotels in Tuscany are “The medieval village of Peccioli” and “ The medieval village of Chianni”. Both villages in the Valdera area of the Pisa district are of ancient origins, with a lively community of residents and placed in an enchanting tuscan landscape of sweet hills with olive groves and vineyards.

If you are an independent traveler seeking a true experience, take a chance and come and stay in an Albergo Diffuso in Italy, you’ll see the difference.