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Tuscan Recipes

Tuscany is world famous for its delicious produce and hearty dishes, which tempt discerning foodies from far and wide, as well as fans of traditional Italian cuisine. So why not rustle up the region’s favourite fare at your holiday villa?

To give you a head start, we’ve selected some of Tuscany’s best-known recipes for you to try. Learn how to make every Tuscan’s favourite tomato soup, Pappa al Pomodoro, or the flavoursome fish dish from the port of Livorno, Baccalà alla Livornese. And our simple yet moreish Ficattole Fritti, salty strips of dough, will perfectly complement those tasty slices of salami you picked up at the local market. (Don’t forget to send us photos of your creations and let us know which recipes you enjoyed.)

If you’re a serious cook, delve a little deeper into the local cuisine while you’re in Tuscany by signing up for one of our recommended cookery courses (see Cooking Schools In Tuscany). Alternatively, if slaving away at the stove isn’t your idea of a holiday, why not hire a Tuscan chef to cook up these traditional treats in the comfort of your villa to see how it’s done (see Private Chefs).

Back home, when your trip is just a distant memory, you’ll be able to impress friends and family by creating up these Tuscan specialities. After all, there’s no better way to savour those happy memories of your villa holiday.

Tuscan Recipes

Baccalà alla Livornese (Livorno Salt Cod)

Serves: 2 people
Cooking time: 50 minutes
Calories: 350 per serving
Expertise level: 2 out of 3

Ingredients:
400g soaked salt cod
oil for frying
200g cherry tomatoes or tinned tomatoes
extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic
small handful of parsley
pepper
flour for dusting

1. Remove the bones from the salt cod with tweezers, then cut into pieces.
Flour the pieces of fish and fry well on both sides.
2. Remove any excess oil.
3. Cook the cherry tomatoes in a pan with the olive oil, cloves of garlic and pepper.
4. When the sauce has thickened, gently place the salt cod in the pan.
5. Leave to cook for about 20 minutes, the time required to cook the tomatoes.
6. Remove the cloves of garlic and serve sprinkled with some chopped parsley.

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Biscotti di Prato alle Mandorle (Prato Almond Biscuits)

Serves: 6 people
Cooking time: 80 minutes
Calories: 450 per serving
Expertise level: 2 out of 3

Ingredients:
400g flour
250g sugar
250g peeled almonds
3 eggs
3 egg yolks
1 sachet of yeast
pinch of salt

1. Beat together 2 eggs, egg yolks and sugar, then add the flour, yeast and a pinch of salt. Gently roast the peeled almonds and, when cooled, add to the dough.
2. Mould the dough into 3 sausage shapes that are 3 fingers wide and 1 finger high. Place on a greased and floured baking tray, well-spaced out, brush with beaten egg and cook in a moderate oven for about 15 minutes.
3. Remove from the oven and cut across each 'sausage' sideways with a knife. Return to the oven for about 10 minutes until crunchy.
4. Leave to cool. The biscuits are best served with a good Vin Santo from Tuscany.

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Insalata di Baccelli (Whole Green Pea Salad)

Serves 2 people
Cooking time: 25 minutes
Calories: 300 per serving
Expertise level: 1 out of 3

Ingredients:
1 kg whole green peas
250 g mature Pecorino Toscano cheese
2–3 slices of Salame Toscano, 1 cm thick
extra virgin olive oil
salt to taste
pepper to taste

1. Shell the peas into a bowl. 
2. Cut the Pecorino cheese and salami into 2 cm cubes and add to the peas.
3.Dress with olive oil and salt and pepper to taste and serve.

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Carciofi Ripieni (Stuffed Artichokes)

Serves: 4 people
Cooking time: 40 minutes
Calories: 250 per serving
Expertise level: 1 out of 3

Ingredients:
4 artichokes
breadcrumbs
salt
pepper
4 slices of cured ham
4 slices of Pecorino cheese
oil
2 cloves of garlic 

1. Wash the artichokes, remove the greenest leaves, then trim off the pointed tips on each leaf and open up the leaves like a flower.
2. Trim the stems so the artichokes sit on a flat surface.
3. Mix the breadcrumbs, slices of ham, garlic and the pieces you removed from the bottom of the artichoke in a mixer.
4. Stuff the centre of each artichoke with the mixture, place in a tall saucepan with a little oil, season with salt and pepper.
5. Cook slowly and hot add just under half a glass of water to the bottom of the tray, cover and continue to cook slowly.
6. After 20 minutes, place the slices of Pecorino cheese on top of the artichokes. Wait a few minutes for the cheese to melt and serve while still hot.

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Fagioli all'uccelletto

Serves 4 people
Cooking time: 130 minutes
Calories: 500 per serving
Expertise level: 1 out of 3

Ingredients:
300 g fresh cannellini beans
1/2 glass extra virgin olive oil
200g tinned tomatoes
4 pork sausages
1 sprig of sage
2 cloves of garlic
salt to taste
ground pepper to taste

1. Place the beans in a pan, terracotta if possible, and cover with four fingers of water.
2. Gently bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and leave to cook until tender but not falling apart.
3. When the beans are ready, sauté the garlic and sprig of sage in a little oil in a pan.
4. After 2 or 3 minutes, add the tinned tomatoes and cook until you have a fairly thick sauce.
5. Add the beans you prepared earlier, add the peeled sausages, and cook for at least 15 minutes.
6. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
7. Serve hot.

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Ficattole fritte (Fried Ficattole)

Serves 4 people
Cooking time: 75 minutes
Calories: 800 per serving
Expertise level: 1 out of 3

Ingredients:
300 g flour type 00
30 g brewer's yeast
water
salt to taste
oil for frying

1. Flour the work surface.
2. Dissolve the yeast in half a glass of lukewarm water and a pinch of salt. Mix in the flour and, if necessary, add more water. The dough should be quite soft.
3. Roll the dough into a ball, place into a floured bowl and cover with a clean tea towel or cling film. Leave in a warm place to rise.
4. When the dough has doubled in size (around an hour), roll it out to about ½ cm thick.
5. Cut into strips and fry in hot oil.
6. Salt the ficattole and serve hot with cold meats such as Mortadella di Prato, ham, salami, and Finocchiona.

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Fiori di Zucca Fritti (Fried Courgette Flowers)

Serves 4 people
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Calories: 260 per serving
Expertise level: 1 out of 3

Ingredients:
courgette flowers
275 ml sparkling water
185 g flour
salt to taste
sunflower oil

1. First prepare the batter. Sieve the flour into a large bowl, and gradually add the water while mixing to avoid any lumps. Add the salt.
2. Place the batter in the fridge for at least half an hour.
3. Carefully wash the flowers, then gently immerse them into cold water.
4. Drain well and gently pat dry with a clean tea towel.
5. Using your fingers, remove the courgette flowers from the stems and then remove the pollen-covered pistils from the inside and the bits at the base of the flowers. Place the clean courgette flowers in a bowl. 
6. Heat some sunflower oil in a large frying pan.
7. Gently cover the flowers in batter, one at a time, taking care not to break them.
8. Immediately add each flower to the boiling oil, making sure to turn while cooking. As soon as the flowers are ready, drain and place in a bowl lined with kitchen paper to remove any excess oil.
9. Serve hot.

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Pappa al Pomodoro (Tomato Soup)

Serves 4 people
Cooking time: 50 minutes
Calories: 500 per serving
Expertise level: 1 out of 3

Ingredients
800g tomato passata
300g stale Tuscan bread cut into slices
1 lt of water
1 carrot
1 stick of celery, cut into pieces
2 tomatoes
½ an onion
1 sprig of basil
2g ground pepper
extra virgin olive oil 
garlic (about 2 cloves) 
2g sugar
2g salt

1. To prepare the vegetable stock, boil the water with the carrot, celery, tomatoes and onion for at least ½ hour.
2. Add 15 g of olive oil and two peeled cloves of garlic to a deep, non-stick pan and sauté for 2 minutes.
3. Pour the tomato passata into the pan and boil slowly for at least 15 minutes.
4. Add the bread to the pan.
5. Pour in vegetable stock until the slices of bread are covered.
6. Add the sugar and cook on a low heat for 40–50 minutes, until the liquid has evaporated, stirring occasionally to allow even cooking and the bread to break down.
7. Then season with salt and pepper.
8. When cooked, remove from the heat and add the basil leaves to give your tomato soup a fresh, intense flavour.
9. The soup is now ready to serve in individual bowls or deep plates, drizzled generously with olive oil.

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Pasta fresca (fresh pasta)

Serves: 4 people
Cooking time: 50 minutes
Calories: 260 per serving
Expertise level: 1 out of 3

Ingredients:
200g semolina flour
2 eggs

1. Place the flour on the table and make a well in the centre. Crack the eggs into the well.
2. Mix from the centre outwards, using a fork to help you incorporate the flour from the outside.
3. Mix the ingredients, kneading the dough for at least 15 minutes to create a smooth dough.
4. Place the dough in a bowl and cover with cling film. Leave to rest in the fridge for at least half an hour.

For different amounts, use 1 egg for each 100 g of flour.

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Peposo del Valdarno (Valdarno Peppered Stew)

Serves: 4 people
Cooking time: 90 minutes
Calories: 370 per serving
Expertise level: 2 out of 3

Ingredients
1kg veal shank
1lt red wine (Chianti)
salt to taste
black peppercorns
ground pepper
5 cloves of garlic, unpeeled
a few leaves of sage
a sprig of rosemary
4 juniper berries
1 red onion
1 carrot
200g tomato passata

1. Mix the ground pepper and salt in a small bowl. Finely chop the onion and carrot and put to one side.
2. Cut the veal shank into cube like pieces, not too small.
3. Roll the pieces of meat in the bowl of salt and pepper prepared earlier.
4.Place the meat in a pan with the unpeeled garlic, sage and rosemary, about 15 black peppercorns, the juniper berries, onion, carrot and tomato.
5. Cover all the ingredients with the red wine, cook on a high heat and quickly bring to the boil.
6. Once brought to the boil, reduce the heat to a minimum and leave to cook for at least another 2 hours, occasionally checking the level of the wine. If the contents of the pan are too dry, gradually add a little more wine.
7. Stir frequently during cooking.

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Panzanella

Serves: 2 people
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Calories: 500 per serving
Expertise level: 1 out of 3

Ingredients:
4–5 ripe tomatoes 
15 basil leaves
salt to taste
ground black pepper to taste
400g Tuscan bread in slices
1 small cucumber
½ glass red wine vinegar
1 large red onion
extra virgin olive oil

1. Soak the Tuscan bread in a bowl, preferably use stale bread.
2. Finely chop the onion and marinade in half a glass of red wine vinegar.
3. Wash the cucumber and slice, or cut in half if using a large cucumber.
4. Cut the tomatoes into medium-sized pieces, remove the liquid.
5. Squeeze the bread, removing as much of the water as possible, then mix with the pieces of tomato, cucumber, onion (after draining the vinegar), salt and pepper to taste and then add some oil.
6. Chop about ten basil leaves and add to the bowl with the panzanella, mixing well with your hands. Keep a few basil leaves and use as decoration.

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Tortino al Cioccolato Fondente (Dark Chocolate Cakes)

Serves: 4 people
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Calories: 450 per serving
Expertise level: 2 out of 3

Ingredients:
100 g dark chocolate
50 g flour + extra to flour tins
2 eggs
3 egg yolks
100 g sugar
100 g butter + extra to grease tins

1. Cut the chocolate into small pieces. Melt with the butter in a bain marie and leave to cool, continuing to stir.
2. Gently beat the eggs and egg yolks in a bowl using a whisk.
3. Add the sugar, then add the sieved flour and mix well. Finally add the melted chocolate to the mixture.
4. Pour the mixture into 4 greased and floured cake tins. Bake in a preheated fan-assisted oven at 180° for 12–14 minutes.
5. When cooked, leave to rest for 1 minute. Then serve the cakes while still warm.

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Experience an official tuscany tour with

Taste of Chianti: Tuscan Cheese, Wine and Lunch from Florence

Treat your taste buds on a full-day Chianti wine and food tour from Florence and sample some of Tuscany’s finest wine, cheese, meat, chocolate and more! With a local guide who is passionate about the region’s food heritage, travel through the countryside by 4x4 off-road vehicle and tour an historic villa, and a Chianti Classico winery. Up to seven glasses of wine are included throughout the day, plus several food samples and a 3-course meal at a traditional restaurant in the Chianti hills.

from 179,73 US Dollar

Tuscan Cooking Class and Dinner in Florence

Make like a real Tuscan cook on this 4.5-hour evening cooking class in a historical palace (palazzo) in Florence. Working in a modern kitchen in the old building, learn how to create a quintessential Tuscan 4-course dinner of staples such as Hunter’s Chicken (chicken stew), fresh pasta and ‘tiramisu’ (cocoa, espresso and mascarpone pudding). Gain valuable insider tips from an expert local chef, and then enjoy your dishes during a convivial dinner, complete with well-matched Tuscan wine.
Receive personalized attention on a small-group class limited to no more than 12 people.

from 81,48 US Dollar

Small-Group Florence Food Walking Tour

Discover the gourmet delights of Florence on a 3.5-hour small-group walking tour! Follow your expert guide through the city and eat and drink like the locals. Sip rich Italian coffee, browse a typical Florentine delicatessen, explore the San Lorenzo Central Market, visit a wine shop and sample the best gelato in town!

This small-group walking tour is limited to twelve people to ensure a more personalized experience.

from 70,09 US Dollar

Small-Group Wine Tasting Experience in the Tuscan Countryside

Enjoy an half day small group tour to discover the beauty of the Tuscan wine country. Drive through vineyards, olive groves and cypress trees. Visit 2 wineries to discover the secrets of wine making, take pictures and taste different wines and olive oil paired with local Tuscan specialties.

from 94,66 US Dollar
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