Traditional Tuscan Recipes – The Appetizers

The Restaurant at the Fattoria del Colle Estate, bears the name of its owner. Donatella Cinelli Colombini. Each dish is prepared with the freshest ingredients the Estate has to offer.

To achieve consistency in the look and taste, time management is essential from the kitchen to the table. And this is why I’ve carefully timed  each course.

Insalata di soppressata, rucola e salsa di aceto balsamico – Soppressata salad with arugula and balsamic vinegar

The term “soppressata” indicates several cold meats which have in common the procedure of being pressed plus they are made with pigskin, trotters, and other poor and fatty parts of the pig. In Toscana the most famous is the Sienese one which has a different cooking method. The soppressata in balsamic vinegar sauce is a starter created by Donatella Cinelli Colombini.

Preparation time: 20 min

Ingredients for 6-8 people:
500 g of soppressata, 250g of rucola; extra virgin olive oil; balsamic vinegar; pinch of salt and pepper. Dice the soppressata, and lightly chop the rucola . Put the two together and add oil, salt, pepper, and balsamic vinegar. Mix carefully and serve at room temperature.

Picchio Pacchio

This recipe originates from Sicily. Brought to Trequanda and the Val d’Orcia half way through the 18th century by Lorena Asburgo, who, after having reigned in Sicily was knighted with the Grand duchy of Tuscany, where many farmers from the isle followed them as they were experts of arid land.
The original Sicilian recipe does not have bread in it, but… “when there is little bread on the table put plenty in the plate” so says a Tuscan proverb.

Preparation time: 30 min

Ingredients for 6 – 8 people:
20cl of extra virgin olive oil, an onion, a stick of celery, a carrot, one peperoncino, 800 g of thinned tomatoes, salt to taste, 4 fresh eggs and 6 – 8 slices of fresh bread.

Method: sauteé the chili pepper, the onion, the carrot and the roughly chopped celery. Pour the white wine in the pan, and leave it to evaporate, then add the tinned tomatoes and a pinch of salt. In each dish place a slice of fresh bread. When the sauce gets dense, sieve it and then put it back on the cooker. When the sauce is well dry, beat the eggs and add them to the sauce. Pour over the bread and serve hot.

Baccalà alla fratina – Codfish Monk Style

A long time ago there were nuns and monks who went begging. They came from far away, on foot and always in pairs. Their baskets were filled by the farmers with tomatoes and onions, flour and plaits of garlic, oil and wine. In the evenings they often stopped to sleep on farms. But, among the beggars unfortunately there were also pretending to be monks and nuns, dressed up as such to get into the kitchens and polish off the food. The use of this trick did not go unnoticed by the farmers, housewives and landowners: for this reason, at Fattoria del Colle the only room with railing at the windows is called “Monache-which means nuns.

Preparation time: (1 day) + 30 min

Ingredients for 6-8 people:
1 baccala/codfish with bones, 100g of flour, 20 cl of extra virgin olive oil, 3 onions, 1 glass of dry white wine, 750g of fresh tomatoes or tinned, salt.

Method: Keep a baccala/codfish soaking in water for a whole day, changing the water often so as to get rid of the saltiness. The second day clean it, cut it into rectangles of about 10 cm in length and cover in flour. In a wide pan heat the extra virgin olive oil and cook the codfish for a few minutes. Once golden remove from the pan and use the oil to fry the finely chopped onion, carrot and celery. When these are golden add the white wine, and when this has evaporated add the tomatoes. When the sauce is ready add the codfish and cook over a low flame for a few more minutes. Add salt and serve hot.

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