La cucina Toscana 2

Tuscany is well-known for its breathtaking scenery, wine and food. When talking about Tuscan food, there are plenty of mouthwatering dishes. However we need to know the most famous ones. Today Professor Francesco taught us to cook Crostini de fegatini,Crostini lard e rosmarino, Crostini al pomodoro, Zuppa di faro della Garfagnana, Pappa al pomodoro, Stinco di vitello arrosto e gremolada and Cantuccini di Prato.

It must have been my lucky day. Today we got to taste the Ovoli mushrooms as Professor Francesco found them in the market. These mushroom is rare to find as their season lasts only 3 days. So once you find them, you must buy them immediately.

The price of Truffles are about 28 Euro per kilo. However, the price of the Ovoli mushroom is around 30-40 Euro per kilo.

They are even more expensive than the Truffles!

Professor Francesco said they must be eaten uncooked only. And they taste just delicious with Grana cheese.

Well…after I tasted them with Grana cheese and simple olive oil dressing, I agreed with him 200%.

Their specific taste is the main key, in my opinion. The Grana and olive oils dressing are just the right compliments that highlight the taste of the Ovoli mushrooms even better.

And the fact that we only have a rare chance to eat them makes this dish even more precious.

Allora, let’s talk about our lesson.

Crostini is a type of Tuscan appetizer. They are good to have with the aperitif in the evening too. One of the well-known Crostini from the Tuscany region is the Crostini de fegatini or “Toast with Tuscan chicken pate.  In Florence, you can get fegatini but if you go to Siena , you might come across Crostini de fegatini and other organs pate.  

We use 2 different types of bread for the Crostini. 

For the Crostini al pomodoro or Bruschetta , we used Floncino “tipo 0”bread.

And for Crostini lardo e rosmarino and Crostini de fegatini we used Filone, pane “tipo 00”. 

Do you still remember I mentioned the 2 types of flours when we make pasta from the previous lesson?

Before toasting the sliced breads on the grill, Professor Francesco peeled the brown skin of the bread off then cut it into half and cut them again into thin slices.

Crostini de fegatini

Crostini lardo e rosmarino

Crostini al pomodoro

Zuppa di farro della Garfagnana

Sfumato oil is my favorite ingredient from the kitchen and it’s one of the Italian’s most love aromatic oil.  It’s olive oil with spices and herbs. The one I often saw my Italian friends used is the one with dry chills for their pizzas. You can make Sfumato oil from Truffles too.

Pappa al pomodoro
Pappa al pomodoro is one of the famous soup from Tuscany.

It’s a soup that we eat with fork because the texture is thick enough to scoop up with a fork.

In the old day, when there is a lot of tomato and few days bread, the Toscana mama mixed their bread with tomato soup in order not to waste the food.

Stinco di vitello arrosto e gremolada
Tuscan people can turn any parts of meats into a wonderful dishes.

There is a history behind this talent. In the old days, the best parts of meat would be sent to the rich people and left the poor farmers with  the rest like organs or the shanks.

Thanks to the challenging conditions of that era. Today we get to enjoy the delicious Tuscan food created out of real skills and creativity. And the most important of all, the respective will power to live well no matter under what conditions.

This slow-cooked beef shank has been well-cooked that the collagen inside melted with the aromatic herbs and the tenderness of the meat. This dish surely goes very well with the Chianti classico red wine.

Cantuccini di Prato
I love Cantuccini. It’s a kind of Tuscan biscuits which can be made with different ingredients. You would see they come with almonds a lot. However, there are ones with Hazelnuts, Figs, Chocolates or even green tea. Some people may say they are a bit too hard. That’s because they are traditionally served with a shot of Vin Santo sweet wine.

Once you dip the Cantuccini inside the Vin Santo, they won’t be so hard and they surprisingly compliment each other very well.

Once they are ready, you need to cut them quickly into a smaller pieces. Otherwise,they will be too hard and you would end up with a big rectangle biscuit.

In the old day,people use only Olive oil to make Cantuccini but nowadays , they have replaced it with butter instead.

Now it;s time to get a bottle of Vin Santo and enjoy your freshly baked Cantuccini.