1. Food

Tuscan Vegetables & Side Dishes

Tuscans are known for their love of beans, but the region is extremely fertile and offers many other vegetables as well

Asparagus Florentine: Asparagi alla Fiorentina
Soft-cooked eggs over a bed of asparagus.

Baked Beans -- Fagioli Stufati
Baked Beans, or Fagioli Stufati: They're not just from Boston! This is a classic Tuscan recipe.

Baked Beans with Cheese and Herbs: Fagioli col Formaggio, in Forno
Tuscan baked beans with cheese and herbs, to warm heart ans soul in winter.

Beans in a Flask: Fagioli al Fiasco
The traditional hearthside technique for making this Tuscan delight (in my review of The Magic of Fire).

Broiled Fennel -- Finocchi Gratinati
Broiled Fennel, or Finocchi Gratinati: These are the next step up from Elisabetta's grandmother's recipe, simple sautéed fennel smothered with béchamel sauce and slipped into the oven (or run under a broiler). It's a standard recipe; in addition to working well as a side dish, it is also a pleasing winter first course dish.

Chick Peas Pisan Style -- Ceci alla Pisana
Chick Peas Pisan Style, or Ceci alla Pisana: Beans not your cup of tea? Then chick peas. Here's a recipe for ceci alla pisana, chick peas Pisan style, which may seem somewhat unusual, but actually resembles a number of other Tuscan legume dishes in which one cooks the legumes and serves them and their broth over toasted bread. It will be nice in the cooler months.

Chilled Eggplant -- Melanzane Fredde
Chilled Eggplant, or Melanzane Fredde: This is an unusual, but tasty recipe from Versilia, on the Tuscan coast. It could work as either an antipasto, or a side dish.

Fagioli al Fiasco -- Beans in a Flask
Bennett recently asked how to cook fagioli al fiasco and what to do with fresh fava beans. So far as I know, Fagioli al fiasco aren't that different from normal cannellini beans cooked in bianco -- that is, boiled. The major difference is that they are put into a flask, which is settled into the embers of the fire and allowed to cook very slowly. Much like the beans in North American bean pots in some ways.

Fagiuoli all'Ucceletto -- Tuscan Tomatoey Beans
Fagiuoli all'uccelletto, beans with a light tomato sauce, are one of the most classic Tuscan dishes, and are a common accompaniment to braised dishes or stews in the winter months. Served with Italian link sausages they also make a perfect winter main course. In short, they're comfort food.

Andrea Gagnesi's Fagioli all'Uccelletto, Step by Step
Fagioli all'Uccelletto, cannellini beans boiled and then simmered in tomato sauce with herbs, is a universal Tuscan dish, and Andrea Gagnesi, who teaches cooking at Badia a Coltibuono, points out that no two versions are precisely the same, and that most everyone says his, or her, or grandma's version is the real deal, and that everything else...

Rustic Stewed Peppers: Peperonata Rustica
Tasty, simple stewed peppers.

Savory Farro Pie: Torta Salata di Farro
A savory cheesecake made with ricotta and farro.

Tuscan Artichokes - Carciofata Toscana
Potatoes and artichokes balance very well, and there are a number of ways to cook them up. My wife's grandmother simply boils them together in a pot. This Tuscan recipe for potatoes and artichokes is a little more elegant.

Tuscan Orange and Fennel Country Salad
A tasty, refreshing salad for the winter months.

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