Taste of Tuscany: Three Easy to Make Tuscan Dishes

Monday, March 18, 2013

The Tuscany region is famous for two things: its unique art and delicious food.  It's safe to say that most people who reserve Tuscan villa rentals will be spending a lot of time sampling the local cuisine when they're on their vacation, and some may even miss eating Tuscan cuisine when they head home.  You don't have to fly to Tuscany if you want to eat Tuscan dishes; there are some famous foods you can make in your own kitchen.

The word crostini means "little toasts" in Italian, and there are a variety of ways to prepare this popular bread appetizer. There are people who are put off by this traditional Tuscan dish because chicken livers and other organ meats are the main ingredient, but most people forget any of their doubts after they taste it.  The livers (or other organ meats) are sautéed with onions, capers, wine, and other select seasonings in order to make a delicious bread topping.  The complex taste and beautiful presentation makes some people think that this dish is difficult to make, but you can make a good batch of crostini di fegato in less than a half hour.

When many people in the US and UK think about pasta noodles they think about spaghetti or linguine, but there are countless variations of this popular food.  Pappardelle pasta is a type of noodle that is very large and flat, some people think that it looks like wide fettuccine.  Some pappardelle have fluted edges like lasagna noodles, but pappardella that's made from dried egg usually have straight sides.  The name pappardelle is derived from the Italian verb "pappare" which means "to gobble up", and these large and flat noodles are perfect for easy eating.  There are an array of ways you could make pappardelle pasta, but the recipe in this blog post utilizes fresh mushrooms to make a unique taste.

If you have some bread that's gone stale this Florentine salad can save you from having to waste food.  Panzanella (also known as panmolle) is a simple salad that uses stale bread that's been soaked in olive oil and seasonings as its main ingredient.  In the past onions were a main ingredient in the salad, but in the 20th century tomatoes became more popular to use.  Cucumbers, boiled eggs, and fresh basil, mozzarella, anchovies, and other typical salad garnishes can also be used in the dish.  Panzanella has been enjoyed for centuries.   The 16th century poet and artist Bronzino wrote about his love for onions with oil and vinegar served with toast, and then immediately mentioned his love for a salad made up of purslane, onions, and cucumbers.  Some people believe this particular food ballad describes the earliest form of panzanella salad.

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