October 27, 2007

Celebrating new oil and old friends

As lovely as a Tuscan sunset our aperitivo at La Petraia, Radda in Chianti

Fall in Tuscany is reason to celebrate.
New oil, white truffles and old friends.

I adore travelling with friends.
They are patient and understanding of each other
need no time to warm up.
This group of ladies can take on the world and we sure took over Tuscany!
Lots of laughs, way too much great food and WINE.

We visited many of my artisan friends,
were guests in friends homes

another great cooking class and lunch with Susan

We ended the trip with a visit to my friend Alessandra

Alessandra of Podere il Sole

in Trequanda, one of the Cities of Oil.

Her estate is lovely and her hospitality gracious!
knowing we were just at Dario's for a 7 course dinner of Meat at SoloCiccia,

one of the starters at Dario's his sushi di chianti, raw beef lightly seared.

she prepared a wonderful vegetarian meal
celebrating the her freshly crushed extra virgin olive oil.

The best way to celebrate is raw veggies just dipped in oil with salt.

Dark green and unfiltered, Alessandra's oil is one of my Tuscan favorites.

We opened the meal with a fettunta, Tuscan garlic bread

followed by a wonderful soul satisfying zuppa!

Pasta and fagioli, made with chickpeas and of course,
blessed with the new oil!

Her light lunch was perfect as it was followed by a food orgy at Cibreo as are farewell!
Needless to say I am not eating this weekend!

You can order Alessandra's oil directly from Conti in the Central Market where I shop!
Great gift for the holidays..... priceless!
I suggest making a box of treasures and celebrating with your friends and family.
Let me know if you need help!

Here is a soul warming soup I had at a fun trattoria off the beaten track.

Zuppa di Farro e Fagioli
Tuscan bean soup with pasta or Farro

12 ounces dried white beans
2 quarts water
2 garlic cloves
1 sage branch
1 tablespoon salt
3 tablespoons olive oil

3 oz farro or pasta

First cook beans:

Place beans and cold water in a heavy-bottomed bean pot.
Add sage, olive oil and whole peeled garlic cloves.
Cook slowly. Do not let the water boil. Add more cold water as needed.

Cooking time, anywhere from 2 to 3 hours, will depend on the freshness of the beans.
Add salt in the last 10 minutes of cooking time to prevent the beans from getting tough. Tasting is the only way to know that the dish is done.
The dish can also be cooked in the oven in a casserole.
You can serve the beans drained, drizzled with olive oil and a twist of fresh black pepper.

To make Soup:
Parboil farro or pasta in salted water.
Drain .
Pureè half the beans and put the remaining whole beans in a soup pot together.
Heat, adding more water if soup seems too thick.
Add farro or pasta to soup and heat together.

In a small pot, heat 1 tbs of olive oil per person and 1 tsp of Tuscan Herbs, just to warm.
Drizzle into soup.

Burde’s Zuppa di Fagioli
Bean Soup from Burde’s Trattoria

Cook the beans and farro together until the farro is really over-cooked.

In a small skillet, saute’ one red onion, chopped, in some extra virgin olive oil.
Season to taste with Droghe Toscane, similar to pumpkin pie mixture
and when the onions are softened, add to the soup.
Add some tomato paste and a little water to thin.
Puree together until smooth. ( in Italy I use a Passatutto, a food mill to remove any skins )

Welcome to Fall's Bounty!
Bon Appetito!


  1. Stop!!! You are torturing those of us who can't be there! :-)
    With envy,

  2. I want some of Alessandra's oil when we come in Dec!

  3. Boy, how I wish I had some of that olive oil. I will have to save up and have some shipped to New York :)

  4. I could stare out that window for hours!!!!

  5. Hey Judy...everyday here at work I sit, and read your blog. I love to escape my job everyday with a trip to your blog! I can't wait till June to return to Italy....Meanwhile I'm drooling over the Zuppa!

  6. There is nothing like fresh olive oil! I smile when folk here in NA rave about the Italian olive oil that they just paid $ 30 for - if only they knew how good the real stuff tasted! *smile*