Every Tuesday, Italian expat Emiko Davies is taking us on a grand tour of Italy, showing us how to make classic, fiercely regional dishes at home.
Today: Cook these dishes and pretend you’re under the Tuscan sun.
Tuscan food is characterized by two essential ingredients -- bread and olive oil -- and a down-to-earth philosophy of not wasting anything. It is guided by the seasons as much as traditions, and the result is dishes that are as old as some of Tuscany’s famous monuments. Today, dishes that peasants and farmers long ago welcomed to their tables are still some of the classics of Tuscan trattorias and homes.
Chicken liver pate is never missing from the table at a special occasion, family gathering, or restaurant antipasto. For those who love their greens, crostini with cavolo nero is a great option. Warming soups that make the most of inexpensive but nutritious ingredients go a long way and keep bellies full – dishes like a rustic and comforting pancotto (bread soup) and farro and bean soup. For something special like a Sunday meal or a gathering with friends and family, slow-roasted Tuscan roast pork is just the thing, perhaps with some potatoes roasted in the juices on the bottom of the pan. For sweet tooths, make a mattonella (semifreddo with pine nuts and chocolate). And there’s still in time to whip up a batch of fluffy, sugar-coated rice fritters, which are often eaten for Italian Father's Day on March 19.
Here are 7 dishes that will whisk you away to Tuscany: