Schiacciata all’uva (Tuscan Grape Focaccia)

Frankdessert, Fall, snack, Toscana39 Comments

Schiacciata all'uva

No one understands simplicity quite like the Tuscans. As Leonardo da Vinci famously said, “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication”.  This rustic Grape Focaccia, which the Tuscans call Schiacciata all’uva, is a case in point. Almost austere in its simplicity, the result is nevertheless both beautiful and—if your ingredients are topnotch—unfailingly delicious. … Read More

Ravioli nudi (Spinach and Ricotta Dumplings)

Frankgnocchi, Lombardia, primi piatti, Toscana32 Comments

Ravioli nudi

Ravioli nudi, or “nude ravioli”, also known as gnudi, malfatti, gnocchi verdi, or the more literal gnocchi di ricotta e spinaci—are dumplings made with the usual spinach and ricotta filling for regular ravioli without their usual pasta “clothing”. Often thought of as a speciality of Tuscany—they are also sometimes called strozzapreti toscani—they … Read More

Uova alla fiorentina, Bugialli’s Original Eggs Florentine

Franksecondi piatti, Toscana21 Comments

Eggs Florentine

Delicious as it may be, the dish known in most of the world as Eggs Florentine —eggs sitting on a bed of spinach braised in butter, topped with mornay sauce and shirred in a hot oven— is, in fact, not Italian but a French invention. Some say it was invented … Read More

Salsicce all’uva (Sausages and Grapes)

FrankFall, secondi piatti, Toscana, Umbria44 Comments

Sausages and Grapes

The use of fruits in savory dishes was once common place in Italian cooking, as it was in European cooking generally.  Giuliano Bugialli, for example, tells us that the original duck à l’orange was a Tuscan dish. But with some notable exceptions like mostarda for boiled meats and strawberry risotto, it’s become a … Read More

Crostini di fegatini (Tuscan Chicken Liver Crostini)

Frankantipasti, Fall, Toscana15 Comments

Crostini (Tuscan Chicken Liver Crostini)

Crostini di fegatini—bread slices topped with a savory chicken liver paste—are the iconic Tuscan antipasto. In this version from Giuliano Bugialli’s classic work, The Fine Art of Italian Cooking, the liver paste is flavored unusually with  juniper berries, a touch that Bugialli says evokes the autumn hunting season. Whether or not … Read More

Pollo in porchetta (Tuscan Spit Roasted Chicken)

Franksecondi piatti, Toscana20 Comments

Spit Roasted Chicken with Pancetta Stuffing

When I served this dish, several of my dinner guests were wondering what the ‘secret’ ingredient was that gave this Tuscan spit roasted chicken such a special flavor. Of course, rotisserie chicken is almost always wonderfully juicy and luscious, but pollo in porchetta—chicken prepared in the manner of roast suckling pig—is … Read More

Torta di porri (Tuscan Leek Pie)

Frankantipasti, snack, Toscana14 Comments

This recipe for Tuscan leek pie comes from the Florentine chef and food historian Giuliano Bugialli. He is one of my favorite Italian cookbook authors but is relatively little known, particularly as compared with his near contemporary Marcella Hazan. Bugialli produced a number of wonderful cookbooks, some beautifully illustrated, some … Read More

Frittatine in trippa (Frittata in Tomato Sauce)

FrankLazio, secondi piatti, Toscana15 Comments

Frittatine in trippa

Eggs and tomatoes were meant for each other. From the Neapolitan “Eggs in Purgatory” to the Mexican huevos rancheros to the Chinese Stir-Fried Eggs with Tomatoes, to the old-fashioned American scrambled eggs with ketchup, everyone seems to love this epic combination of flavors. Here’s another Italian take on the theme, … Read More