May 14, 2006

Cooks night off

Last night we took a night off from cooking and headed out to nearby San Gimignano.
One of my favorite simple places to go is Osteria del Carcere

We started with a local spumante from the Falchini winery and shared a crostoni with saffrom infused sheeps milk ricotta. For our first course.. I had Zuppa di Cipolla, a lovely Tuscan onion soup made with the new red onions from Tropea and then thickened with bread cubes and some fresh tuscan pecorino cheese; much lighter than the French version. My husband went right for the meat! Elena and Riba have based their menu on many of the dishes created by Dario Cecchini, which is how we met over 10 years ago when they opened.

They have recreated a wonderful dish that even Dario doesn't do anymore... a pistacchio and orange stuffed turkey breast, roasted and then served with a warm orange sauce. Still one of my favorites.

After, still having some red wine left ( also by Falchini) we opted for a cheese course.( pictured above)
Tiny tastings of several local cheeses, both sheep and goat accompanied with fresh fava beans, olive oil, honey, a green tomato and orange confit, my red pepper jelly ( that I created for Dario) and a sweet wine jelly.

The portions were just right that we could still go for dessert, my favorite part of going to Le Carcere. Elena makes them all herself and I HAVE to have them all!

Last nights selection was: Zuppa inglese, Chocolate Caprese, Lemon Caprese ( both based on a almond cake from the Island of Capri on the Amalfi Coast) and a saffron pinenut cake accompanied by a lovely Vin Santo, Tuscany's dessert wine.


Mille Grazie Elena and Riba!


  1. Griff Wodtke, California9:17 PM

    An interesting and enticing meal. But the fava beans ... how does that work? Interesting touch.

  2. Fresh young fava beans can be just shelled and eatem traditionally with the fresh pecorino and drizzled with onlive oill a sprinkle of salt and the perfect dish is ready!

  3. Mm... why am I suddenly so hungry?! :) Just found your blog and I love it. I added it to my links on my blog! Hope you don't mind. -Suzanne(

  4. i love your recommendations! im keeping a list for my winter trip this year of your favorite restaurants. i'm always looking for new spots.

  5. We ate at this restaurant when we were near San Gimignano in 2002 and although we don't drink wine, even accompanied by sparkling water the food was out of this world. I was so full at the end of the meal but made room to taste the wonderful desserts.