It will come as no surprise that, in the heartland of Chianti wine, wine itself also features as an ingredient in many recipes, either simmering along with the main ingredient or waiting to saturate a final course.
Stracotto means ‘over-cooked’ and the beef cooked very slowly in Chianti wine results in a tender piece of meat that could almost be eaten with a spoon.
- Heat 3 Tablespoons of olive oil in a casserole, add a 1.5 kg. de-boned shoulder of beef trimmed of fat and sear on all sides, seasoning with salt and pepper.
- Add 2 onions, 1 stalk of celery and 3 carrots, all peeled and chopped and a sprig of fresh sage around the meat and cook until they are softened.
- Add ½ liter of good Chianti red wine along with 1 Cup of water and 1 Tablespoon of tomato concentrate. Lower the heat and cook covered for about 3 hrs, adding water when necessary.
- Transfer meat to a cutting board; roughly purée the vegetables and add them back to the sauce.
- Cut the meat into thick slices and serve warm with the vegetable sauce spooned over it.
An appreciated white meat, the beautifully plumed guinea fowl has leaner drier meat than chicken. With its slightly gamey flavor enhanced with grapes, chestnuts, bacon or mushrooms and becomes a dish you will be happy to have ordered.
Literally ‘bread with the saints’, this autumn treat, studded with raisins, walnuts and a delicious peppery aftertaste, appears in pastry shops around All Saints’ Day (Nov. 1st). Buy your own loaf and enjoy it for breakfast or after dinner with a glass of new wine or Vin Santo.
Native to the Mediterranean and prized by the ancient Romans for its vision, respiratory and weight loss benefits, the aromatic fennel finds its way into a variety of Tuscan dishes. While the bulb is cooked as a vegetable, the anise-flavored seeds give finocchiona salami its distinctive taste, and flowers and feather leaves are dried to flavor meat and potato dishes.
For as many grandmothers as there are in Tuscany, so are there versions of this delicious custard cream tart with its sprinkling of pine nuts. When the Mediterranean umbrella pine tree drops its cones, it’s not uncommon to see a grandmother out collecting the hard nuts whose toasted contents will crown her ‘Grandmother’s tart’