FOOD + WINE

Spearheading sping!

Few things evoke the advent of spring as clearly as bunches of fresh asparagus standing in formation in greengrocer's stalls, their brilliant green just the antidote for winter-weary cooks looking for fresh inspiration. Asparagus is a vegetable with a long history: the ancient cookbook by Apicius, which dates

FOOD + WINE

Pranzo di Pasqua

Easter in Italy is one of the most welcome holidays of the year. It's a hopeful holiday: Lent is over and spring is about to arrive, bringing with it many favorite fruits and vegetables that we haven't seen during the long winter season.   Traditionally, breakfast on Easter

FOOD + WINE

Cavolo nero

Italian cuisine relies heavily on seasonal vegetables and one of the stars that brightens up winter menus is cavolo nero (black cabbage).   There are a couple of myths that should be cleared up right away. First, it’s not black.  It’s really a very deep

FOOD + WINE

Potato tortelli with Tuscan pesto

Potato tortelli with Tuscan pesto   Tortello Prepare dough with  5 eggs 250 gr of semola flour 250 of flour 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil Let it sit for 30 minutes   Boil the potatoes, peel, and mash with a fork. Chop garlic into thin slices, add

FOOD + WINE

Cod with black cabbage and chickpeas

Cod with black cabbage and chickpeas 1 kg of cod 2 bunches of black cabbage 400 gr of chickpeas Olive oil and pepper     How to prepare: Flour the cod and put in oven pan Cook with oil in a pan until the cod is brown Boil the black

FOOD + WINE

Pannocchie pasta filled with lobster served in a light zucchini sauce with its flowers

Pannocchie pasta filled with lobster served in a light zucchini sauce with its flowers     Serves two 120 g of fresh hand made pasta cut into disks 120 g of boiled lobster pulp 20 g of zucchini flowers 45 g of zucchini 50 g of fresh ricotta cheese 60

FOOD + WINE

Filet of dried salted cod wrapped in radicchio with a saffron cream sauce

Filet of dried salted cod wrapped in radicchio with a saffron cream sauce   Serves four 1 800 gram filet of cod (unsalted) 1 basket of radicchio leaves 3dl of fish stock 25 grams of corn starch 1 teaspoon of saffron pistons from the Tuscan/Florentine hills Salt, pepper, extra

FOOD + WINE

Rosemary cod fillets in crust of potatoes with shaved Livorno tomatoes and spicy raisin sauce

Rosemary cod fillets in crust of potatoes with shaved Livorno tomatoes and spicy raisin sauce   Serves four 500 g softened dried cod 2 large potatoes Sprig of rosemary Extra-virgin olive oil 8 red tomatoes 1 small bundle of parsley 1 small bundle of chives 1 clove of garlic &

FOOD + WINE

Pasta with chickpeas

Pasta with chickpeas Serves four   ½ pound (200 g) dry chickpeas (or a 450 g can), soaked overnight 2 cloves of garlic 125 g of pasta (ditalini or similar) ½ medium onion Sprig of rosemary 2/5 cup (100 ml) olive oil ½ cup (6 tablespoons) chopped tomatoes Salt

FOOD + WINE

Nonnas medicine cabinet

Here comes the rainy, cold, damp weather that clings to Florence for most of the winter.  And with it comes the ever-present threat of colds and sore throats. There are many things you can do to ward off a cold or minimize the effects of one you already

FOOD + WINE

Over the river and through the woods

Few things are as uniquely American as the feast of Thanksgiving. Regardless of where Americans are that day, most cannot help but remember past meals. With memories comes the attempt to try and recreate Thanksgiving, despite the difficulty of finding the distinctive ingredients. Creating a Thanksgiving celebration in Florence requires

FOOD + WINE

Chestnuts… roasting on an open fire?

Although I love the song that made them famous in the USA, there’s a lot more to chestnuts than just roasting. Just ask any Tuscan cook. In fact, the old Italian saying, ‘polenta saved the north, fish saved the south, and chestnuts saved the center’, refers

FOOD + WINE

A morsel of perfection

I come from a Venetian family where the imperative of every meal was to create the perfect bite. For my mamma, it meant getting up at five in the morning, while my five siblings and I were still asleep, to make homemade tortellini filled with a minced paste of delicious

FOOD + WINE

Exacting the eggplant

Even though the lazy beach days of August are now behind us, there’s still a bit of summer left on our Tuscan tables. The last of the eggplant bounty will linger into September and it’s a wonderful way to gently bridge the gap between the lightness

FOOD + WINE

Please pass the flowers!

Summer is around the corner, and we can all feel it. Flowers are everywhere at this time of year, and I’m not speaking only of gardens or window boxes. In Italy, they grace tables as well.  At a recent dinner, after admiring the stunning roses, wisteria and

FOOD + WINE

Artichoke chat

My first memory of eating an artichoke is an image of my mother showingme how to bite down on the leaf and pull it through my front teeth.  I must have been very young, because myteeth marks were tiny compared to the others in that great heap of discardedleaves

FOOD + WINE

Homage to humble winter vegetables

For cooks, one of the true pleasures of life in Italy is the bounty of beautiful fruits and vegetables that are so readily available throughout the year. I am always fascinated by the artfully arranged displays set up by vendors, particularly those on street corners. My local ambulante di frutta

FOOD + WINE

Glad tidings from the kitchen

The holidays evoke an inevitable urge to cook, not that I ever need much to be inspired here in Florence. I am almost thankful that there is no Thanksgiving here in Italy, as the feasting rites of Christmas almost put me under the table. In this country, food always seems

FOOD + WINE

Guess what’s coming to dinner

When November approaches, umbrellas crop up all over Florence.  I asked Elena Galluzzi, a busy Florentine who runs a family hotel here, what she likes to cook this time of the year.  Her answer?  ‘Hearty bean soups and stews,’ she said, ‘a truly traditional

FOOD + WINE

Guess what’s coming to dinner

The beach house is closed for the season. The rientro is complete and everyone is back in the city where school and work schedules once again dictate the rhythm of daily life. What’s the first thing a Tuscan cook thinks about in autumn? That’s the question

FOOD + WINE

Take it without a pinch of salt

One story places all the blame on the Pisans. In fact, an old Tuscan proverb declares, Meglio un morto in casa che un pisano all’uscio, which roughly translated means ‘Better a death in the family than someone from Pisa on your doorstep’. This epitomises the rivalry

FOOD + WINE

Noble greens ar the Medici court

Cynara was a beautiful girl, with hair the color of ash (from the Latin word for ash Cinis-cineris), and Jupiter fell desperately in love with her. You know how Jupiter was. When he fell in love, he just wanted the girl and tried every trick to conquer her, despite

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