Tuscany is rightfully world renown for our cuisine and a meal is not just an occasion to quickly fill your stomach. In our land, a meal is a celebration of taste and a festival of flavours that is to be savored and enjoyed. We do not push back from the table until we have to. We are blessed with some amazingly talented chefs, none better than Valentino of Taste Emotions – the author of three of the best five meals we have ever eaten – who with his lovely wife Larisa Laudat have partnered with Tuscandream to create the phenomenal Tuscan Cooking School at our Villa Daniela in Lucca.
We will have a class for the week of April 18th – April 25th 2015.
During this week long Tuscan cooking school and tour of Tuscany Larisa and Valentino will take you to explore San Gimignano, Greve in Chianti, Parma and Lucca and you will enjoy wine tastings in some of the best of our wineries in both Chianti and Lucca. Your lovely hosts will teach you the whole process of cooking including the history and culture behind our cooking by visiting the markets and the producers of the food – and then you will learn to make some of Valentino’s amazing recipes including Ravioli ricotta e spinaci con salsa di pomodorini (Ravioli stuffed with ricotta cheese and spinach served with fresh cherry tomatoes), Tagliatelle al pesto, Risotto al lo zafferano con zucchini e taleggio servito in cestini di parmigiano, pollo all cacciatora con polenta, minestrone, lasagna dello chef, insalatina con pere, pecorino e aceto balsamico, bucatini all ‘Amatriciana, bistecca all brace con fagioli al fiasco, pizza, gamberoni con fagioli cannellini di San Ginese, Paccheri alla Marinara and so many other mouthwatering dishes.
If it makes you half as hungry as it does us just reading these delectable dishes you’ll want to get a head start by preparing Valentino’s recipe for Minestrone, which he has graciously shared with us.
Ingredients serves 6 people
- 250 grams( 8,80 oz) of cooked cannellini or borlotti beans
- 1 bunch of Swiss chard lea
- 1 bunch of kale ( cavolo nero)
- ½ medium cabbage
- ½ medium pumpkin ( in season)
- 2 leeks, 4 zucchini, a bunch of green beans
- 2 potatoes
- 2 tablespoon of tomatoes paste concentrated
- 1 fresh tomato
- 2 onion
- 2 carrot
- 1 stalk of celery
- extra virgin olive oil
- salt and pepper
- bouquet of aromatic herbs. Rosemary, thyme, sage
- grated Parmesan cheese
First prepare a mixture of chopped onions, celery, leek and carrots and sauté in olive oil. Add the tomatoes paste and fry few minutes. After taste you can use a few tablespoons of pancetta and fry. Continue adding the veggies starting with the one that needs to cook longer as follows.
Clean and add the cabbage cut into thin slices. Wash the beets and the kale and remove the hard rib. Coarsely chopped and add. Put some vegetable stock and cook for about an hour on medium heat, adding more stock if necessary. I like to make a bouquet of aromatic herbs as rosemary, sage and thyme keeping them together with kitchen string.
Immerse in the pot and take it out when ready. Peel the potatoes and the pumpkin and cut into cubes. The green beans cut the ends and halve. The zucchini cut them in round slices. The beans that you boiled separate add to the minestrone, if you prefer you can pass through a sieve.
The purpose is to make minestrone thicker. Season with salt and pepper and after taste serve with parmigiano on top and drizzle with olive oil. To make it authentic Tuscan serve with “crostoni”. Take a rustic loaf of bread and cut in thick slices, toast and rub fresh garlic on top. I prefer the bread instead of short pasta that usually is boiled together with the veggies.
It is a very rich soup that is made with winter veggies and quite tasty.
It’s difficult to measure the exact portions because the size of veggies varies. You can save it 2-3 days in the fridge or even better freeze and enjoy it again in a few weeks.
To book the Taste Emotions Tuscan Cooking school class please call TuscanDream at 310 887 1115 or message us here and we will call you back and by the way we just made Valentino’s Minestrone – it tastes amazing!