Pasta alla carbonara has humble roots in the Apennine hills of central Italy, not far from Roma. The dish was known as the shepherds’ favorite as they roamed the hilly pastures following the movement of flocks, a practice known as transumanza, thanks to its simple, readily available ingredients: egg, guanciale, and cheese.
The Tuscan answer to biscotti, these twice-baked almond cookies are extra crunchy. In Toscana, cantucci are traditionally dunked in Vin Santo, sweet dessert wine – but they are also perfect for dunking in coffee or tea.
Panzanella is the quintessential dish to throw together when you don't want to go to the store. The classic Tuscan salad calls for only a few simple ingredients: stale bread, misc. produce, and basic seasonings. Centuries ago in Toscana, when bread was baked only once a week, families would use leftover loaves by soaking the stale bread in olive oil and vinegar. The revitalized bread would be tossed with whatever fresh produce was available in the garden.
Spring has finally arrived. To celebrate the fresh flavor, reach for pinzimonio, a Tuscan salad featuring seasonal vegetables. We love this flexible recipe because it is based on only the freshest seasonal vegetables. As a result, each pinzimonio is unique.
Risi e bisi, which simply means rice and peas in the Venetian dialect, is the most famous of all risottifrom the region. In the days of the Venetian Republic, it was served before the Doge on April 25, the feast of San Marco and the national day. In Veneto, risotti are served all’onda, which literally means "on the waves." In fact, it means with quite a lot of liquid, rather like the city of Venezia itself.
Pasta may be Italy’s most famous first course, but rice is equally key to Italian cuisine. During the Renaissance, the swamps near Milano were turned into rice paddies, and rice has played a starring role ever since. One of our favorite Milanese dishes is Saffron Risotto.