CLASS SAMPLE MENUS ... and a few RECIPES!
A walk through the market will tingle your taste buds, and part of what makes us different from other cooking classes is that we let our senses guide us! Our classes are not a cookie cutter, one size fits all approach. We prefer to focus on the seasonal offerings, what looks delicious to you, and tailor your class to what we discover at the market together. Of course if your heart is set on a wild boar papardelle, consider it on the menu! Here are just a small sampling of dishes our clients have found inspiring.
Artichoke frittata, Fried mozarella filled zucchini blossoms, Leek timbale with pecorino fondue, Mixed Tuscan crostini, Fettunta, Tuscan garlic bread with kale and EVOO, Panzanella salad, Pappa Pomodoro, Farro salad with vegetables and pecorino, braseola stuffed with gorgonzola.
Gnudi ricotta + spinach dumplings with pomarola, Pappardelle with Tuscan ragu, Risotto all Ortolana, Frantoiana soup, Polenta with mushrooms, Chicken Involtini with mushrooms, white wine + pancetta, Veal scaloppine with artichokes, Herb crusted pork roast with sage potatoes.
Torta della Nonna (Grandmothers Cake) with lemon custard and pine nuts, Ricotta and Mascarpone sweet tart with sour cherries, Tuscan Almond Biscotti, Tiramisu, Heritage Lucchese Sweet Vegetable Tart, Pannacotta with Forest Berries, Zuppa Inglese with fresh strawberries.
Ingredients: 8 slices of lean veal either a central loin cut or rump , previously sliced by the butcher and pounded ( approx. 1,5 oz each piece) ,
8 slices of Parma cured ham
8 sage leaves,
4 tbs of extra virgin olive oil,
2 tbs of butter,
1 oz of dry white wine
2 oz of light vegetable broth
fresh ground white pepper
1oz of all purpose flour
Utensils : a large no- stick pan for searing , tongs, strainer
Place the veal on a clean working surface, pepper the meat and start placing one leaf of sage on each slice , then place the slice of ham , press gently. Lightly flour the meat and heat the oil in the pan .
First sear the side with the ham for 30 seconds, filling all the space in the pan, then turn and cook on the other side for another 30 seconds. Add the remaining oil in the pan and repeat the steps with the other pieces.
At the end, drain any residue of oil and deglaze with the wine. let it evaporate, add the broth and reduce the sauce with the meat in it , strain if necessary. Add the fresh butter and stir gently . Serve.
BUCCELATTO & LEMON CUSTARD
Buccellato is one of Lucca’s heritage sweet breads which would hardly be called a cake as it was created by the Taddeucci family back in 1881, adding few simple ingredients to a basic bread dough : sugar, raisins and anise seeds . Totally fat- free , this bread has been triggered in me the idea to add a light custard and fresh strawberries for a summer dessert , ideal for complementing a tuscan meal in Lucca. 6 cups
3 medium egg yolks
1/4 cup of granulated sugar
2 Tblsp rice starch
Whisk until pale and fluffy.
2 cups of whole milk, ½ organic lemon peel , 2 tsp of liquid vanilla or half vanilla pod, a tiny pinch of salt.
Bring milk mixture to a simmer. Strain & whisk well into the egg mixture. Place back on cooktop and stirring with a spatula and whisk to thicken. Texture must be smooth. Once thickened, remove and place pan on an ice bath to cool, stirring from time to time. Keep Refrigerated.
Slice and toast the Buccellato. Serve the custard with fresh sliced strawberries and toasted Buccellato on the side.
SUMMER RECIPES not in the COOK BOOK
RISOTTO with LEEKS, WHITE TRUFFLE BUTTER
6 oz Carnaroli Rice
1 C Leeks
1.2 Finely Chopped shallot
1 oz Truffle Butter
4 Tbl EVOO
1 oz Dry White Wine
6-7 Cups Low Salt Vegetable broth
1 oz Parmigiano Reggiano
In a pot, heat 2 Tbsp EVOO and cook the leeks until clear. Season with salt and pepper.
In a double bottom casserole, heat 2 Tbsp EVOO< cook the shallots, stirring for a few seconds. Then add the rice and toast for one minute, tossing the grains until hot. Pour in the wine and cook until evaporated.
Add ladles of the hot broth to the rice and stir only a few times, making sure that the broth always covers the rice while it simmers for the next 16 minutes. Stir occasionally, keeping the risotto at a simmer. Add the leeks and cook 2 more minutes to bring about a thicker texture.
Turn off the heat. Add butter, parmigiano and stir vigorously to obtain a creamy texture.
ITALIAN ZUCCHINI TIMBALE
Here we go ..These are the ingredients based on my intuitive cooking at the time of the morning market visit !
1 small baby light green zucchini ( max 3 oz) with blossom , 1 whole egg and half white, 2 Tbs of extra virgin olive oil , 2 Tbs grated Parmigiano Reggiano, 1 tbs of minced shallot, 1/2 tbs of minced garlic, 1 Tbs of mixed chopped herbs ( basil, parsley, chive, thyme),
Sea salt and white pepper to taste.
line the blossoms into ramekin molds , saute the finely cut zucchini in extra virgin olive oil and shallot/garlic until tender .
Season with salt and pepper . mix the cooked zucchini with all the ingredients in a bowl .
fill the molds completely and cover with the over hanging flowers
bake for 15' in the oven at 350F.
Serve with baby salads, red radishes , cherry tomatoes tossed in an Italian balsamic vinaigrette ( 1 part of vinegar and 2 parts of extra virgin olive oil)
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PANACOTTA with SUMMER BERRIES
3 cups of heavy cream
1 cup of whole milk
1/2 cup of sugar
2 teasp of vanilla extract or a vanilla pod cut lengthwise with seeds scraped
4 sheets of unflavored gelatin
2Tbs of rum .
Use individual ramekins, or a set of silicon molds .
Heat the heavy cream and milk in a saucepan with the sugar until it's dissolved . Turn off the burner and add the vanilla extract . (If using a vanilla bean, scrape the seeds from the bean into the cream and add the bean pod. Cover, and let infuse for 30 minutes).
Wet the molds with cold water.
Soak the gelatin in a bowl with cold water for about 5 minutes, then squeeze. Add gelatin and rum to the mixture cream/milk and stir well .
Pour into the individual molds, let it cool at room temperature for 1 hour.
Transfer to the fridge and refrigerate for about 4 hours.
Unmold the pannacotta on individual plates .
Serve with a fresh raspberry sauce :
by processing 2 cups of raspberries with two Tbs of confectioner sugar.
Garnish with berries and fresh mint .
SIENA STYLE "PICI" ALL'AGLIONE
1 lb of mixed stone ground organic flours : 80% all purpose , 20% semolina flour
Extra flour for kneading
2tbs of extra virgin olive oil
Approx 40% (the flour weight) of water at body temperature
One big pinch of sea salt
Place the flour in a large stainless bowl.
Make a well in the center, add oil, salt and 3/4 of the water stirring with two wooden spoons .
The quantity of water may vary, when the dough appears too dry, add a few more drops of water to obtain a firm dough, yet not so hard that you cannot knead.
With a little dusting of the extra flour, knead the dough on wooden board for about 8 minutes , until it turns elastic and smooth.
Take small pieces of dough and shape like a cigarette , then roll back and forth to create a big spaghetti -like long threads .
Keep them separate on a tray dusted with semolina flour .
1 can of a good brand of Italian canned tomatoes , like Mutti or Cirio
4 big garlic cloves sliced
4 tbs of Tuscan extra virgin olive oil
20 basil leaves shredded
White pepper and sea salt to taste
Sizzle the garlic with the oil in a large skillet until golden , add the crushed tomatoes , season with salt and pepper and simmer for max 10 minutes .
Meantime, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil , drop the Pici in gently, and stir them slowly in the water to avoid sticking,
Cook for about 5 minutes , drain and toss them into the sauce , add the basil and stir to blend well the sauce with the pasta.