The ultimate Italian summer salad dressing

saladsSummer is coming and it is time to get fresh! Bring all of your creativity in the kitchen and start getting mad on salad! Salads are just the best solutions for fresh, easy, quick and yet nutritive lunches! Parmigiano reggiano and bresaola, mozzarella and tomatoes, rucola and cherry tomatoes…you can really create anything out of simple ingredients!

Strawberry salad dressingEver tried adding fruits to your salads? Strawberry with vinegar is just one of my favourite! Not talking about regular vinegar of course but of aceto balsamico (balsamic vinegar)! One of the greatest characteristics of this specific type of vinegar, traditionally produced in the central city of Modena, is that it renders all good flavours just taste even better! Try it if you don’t believe me! During our Florence Food Tours you’ll get the chance to try aceto balsamico with cheese and strawberries and trust me it will drive your taste buds crazy!

Here you go with a simple and quick recipe for your Strawberry Salad Dressing with aceto balsamico!

Ingredients

1 cup of strawberries (5/6 big strawberries)

2 tsp of extra virgin olive oil

4 tsp balsamic vinegar

Pinch of salt

Instructions

Blend the strawberries, extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and salt in a blender or a food processor. Mix until smooth and serve it in a bowl next to your salad! You can even choose to cool it a bit in the fridge! In that case, be sure to prepare it a bit in advance and take it out right before serving the salad!strawberry salad dressing

As simple as this! Now you just have to compose your salad and pour as much vinaigrette as you like on it! I suggest a spinach, walnuts and gorgonzola salad for your first try for your strawberry salad dressing !

strawberry-salad

I have tried also this vinaigrette adding few leaves of mint and it does taste even fresher if possible! Some other options are adding poppy seeds to the dressing or a pinch of mustard!

Just experiment and find the right combination for you!  Looking forward to hearing your feedbacks!

 

Fried Pizza: because pizza is always pizza!

Fried Pizza

Fried Pizza

How many types of pizzas have you tasted in your life? There are so many extravagant version of this typical Southern-Italian dish that it is sometimes impossible to distinguish original Italian ones. Well, there is always something new to try! You know what we are talking about if you’ve joined one of our Roma Pizza Tour!

One of the specialities of this tour is the fried pizza! Yes, you got it right! As if pizza was not good enough, we decided also to fry it! This recipe is of Neapolitan origins and it is called Montanara recipe, which takes its name from the montanari. I montanari  were the mountain peasants, who apparently used to eat fried bread dressed with tomatoes and cheese.  Just to give you an idea of how easy this recipe is!

So here is what you need to try to do Fried Pizza at home:

Ingredients

  • 800 gr basic pizza dough

  • Mozzarella (better if buffalo one)

  • 1 clove garlic , peeled and finely sliced

  • 400 gr good-quality tinned plum tomatoes

  • oregano

  • fresh basil

  • extra virgin olive oil

  • salt

  • black pepper

  • vegetable oil

It is better to prepare the tomato sauce first, so that once the dough is ready you can just dress it and enjoy your fried pizza while still warm. So, first of all heat a saucepan, pour few spoons of olive oil and add the sliced garlic. Cook gently over low fire. When the garlic turns light golden, add the tomatoes and a few pinches of salt and pepper. Cook gently for about 20 minutes, turn the fire off, add some basil and put to one side.

Tomato Sauce for Fried Pizza

Now you’ll just have to fry your pizza base and it is ready! Let’s suppose here that you have already your basic pizza dough ready. Divide it in 12 balls of around 60 gr each and then flatten them to obtain a disk-like shape. Every disk of pizza is going to be fo 8-10 cm of diameter. At this point, heat 2 cm of vegetable oil on a frying pan and fry each pizza for 2 minutes or so on each side. Put the dough balls in the oil only when it is really hot. Remove them with tongs and place them on a tray with some kitchen papers, so that the extra oil is absorbed.

Fried Pizza

Now spread each one of the little pizza with a spoonful of the tomato sauce and tear over some mozzarella and few leaves of basil or dried oregano.

Here you go! Easy, tasty and colorful! Don’t forget to try the original Montanara recipe when you pass by Italy!

 

#LasagnaForEveryone: an easy lasagna recipe

There is something about lasagnas that I really can’t tell. As if it could embody all the flavors and all that makes up Italian identity. Lasagnas  is home…

Now, lasagnas  is almost everywhere in the world, but please, please, please do stay away from bad imitations! That doesn’t mean it has to be complicated! You can prepare lasagnas yourself following this very easy lasagna recipe, without spoiling it with shortcuts.

Lasagna: the best of Italian Food

It won’t be like the one you can have in Italy, but it will get really close to it. Have you tasted the best lasagna in Milan? You will have the chance of trying the real authentic taste of this dish at Pastificio Moscova!

Ingredients

Extra virgin olive oil

1 pound lean ground beef

1 pound pork sausage

1  can tomato Sauce

1  can tomato Paste

1  canned chopped tomatoes

1 glass of red wine

1 celery stalck

1 carrot

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 middle-size onion

1 teaspoon of sugar

Salt and black pepper to taste

3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

2/3 cups grated Parmesan cheese

9 lasagna noodles, cooked and drained

800 ml of béchamel sauce 

The best way of making lasagna is to cook the ragù sauce a day before. It is just a matter of fact: it tastes so much better the day after. To prepare the ragù heat some extra virgin olive oil in a large pan or a pot (where all of your sauce will fit in the end) and add diced garlic, onion, carrot, parsley and celery. This is the base for most of Italian sauces and the ingredients added are called odori all together. Let them fry for some minutes and then add the ground beef and the sausage over medium heat until browned. That’s where the wine comes in. Over high heat, add a generous glass of red wine until completely absorbed. Add tomato sauce, tomato paste, diced tomatoes, sugar, salt and black pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and cook uncovered for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Now if you have time, the longer your ragù cooks, the better it will taste. So if you have some time, let it cook even for few hours over low heat. You can add water any time you see that it is necessary for the sauce to remain of the right texture: not too dry and not too liquid.

easy lasagna recipe

Once the ragù is ready, let it cool for some minutes (or wait the day after if you can). Preheat the oven at around 180 °/ 356 F. Your lasagnas is almost ready! Start with a layer of lasagna noodles in an ungreased 9 X 13 inch baking dish, then spread the first layer of meat sauce,  few generous spoons of béchamel and parmesan. Repeat layers and top with last 3 noodles and the remaining sauce. Sprinkle with remaining béchamel sauce and cover everything with a nice layer of grated  parmesan. Bake for around 50 minutes. Let stand 15 minutes before serving. And here you are!

easy lasagna recipe

 Enjoy and do not add anything on it!!!! It will taste just wonderful the way it is! ;).  An easy lasagna recipe that will help us spreading the right lasagnas taste all around the world!!!! And if you pass by Milan, to join us and taste the best lasagna in Milan!

 

Butter and anchovies: easy crostino topping

Having some friends over for dinner on short notice? Don’t panic! The trick is to start with some good and filling appetizers! Surprise your guests with the starters and they’ll enjoy the rest even better! And if you have no time for shopping, we have a perfect idea for you!

All you need is bread, butter and canned anchovies and here you go with a great Italian starter: crostini burro e acciughe! Sometimes the simplest things are the best!

Butter and anchovies crostini topping

If any of you have passed by Italy already, you might have tried it along with our Florence Food Tour, during which you get the chance to taste Italian crostini in Florence.

Now, as you know there are many crostini toppings in our tradition. You might now some of the very standard one: tomato and basil, black olives… Burro e acciughe is something that doesn’t come to your mind easily, but believe me it is a pleasure for your mouth!

As ingredients, we’ll list what it would be better to use, but surely any surrogate will do:

  • Tuscan bread

  • Good quality unsalted butter

  • Good quality anchovies, in oil or salted.

  • Pickles baby capari (if you like)

Butter and anchovies crostini topping

Tuscan bread is the one that best fit this recipe. If you don’t have, just use what bread you have. Cut as many slices as to have at last two crostini per person. Toast the bread and let it cool some minutes. Spread a good layer of butter on the slices and, depending on the size of these slices, lay one or two anchovies on the top. You can add a capari as the final touch on your crostini burro e acciughe. And there you go, you are ready to offer your guests an original and finger-licking Italian starter!

If you do want to taste Italian crostini while in Florence let us know! We’ll make sure you’ll get the best out of your stay!

 

Torta Fedora: the best of Tuscany

Italian culinary tradition is wide and varied: all kinds of pasta sauces, the many versions of lasagne, tasty meat stews, pizzas, and last but not least: the desserts. There are so many of them that there is always something new to taste. One of the less-known ones is Torta Fedora, a real delicatesse of Tuscan cuisine. A soft heart of puff pastry, whipped cream and sponge cake covered up with a crunchy layer of dark chocolate.

Torta Fedora

Torta Fedora

I bet we already made you drool! No despairs though, you’ll get the chance to try this tasty dessert of our cuisine during our food tours in Florence!

And in case you like it, and we bet you will, here is a simple version of this recipe that you can try at home. The only thing that you might struggle to find is the alchermes liqueur, which you can replace with any another kind of gentle and
Alchermes and Maraschino

Alchermes and Maraschino

sweet liqueur. Some versions of this cake is with maraschino, a liqueur obtained from the distillation of Marasca cherries.

Here is what you will need:

1 roll of puff pastry

1 disk of sponge cake

550 gr whipped cream

Icing sugar as required

Few spoons of milk

For the chocolate crust:

150 gr: dark chocolate

1 spoon of water

2 spoons of honey

Icing sugar as required

For the bagna (to soak the sponge cake):

65 g of water

35 g of sugar

50 ml of alchermes liquor

It would be better to prepare the sponge cake the day before or – don’t tell anyone we suggested you-  you can buy already-made one. First thing, you’ll need to bake the puff pastry. Before doing that make sure you poke few holes on it using a fork, gently brush it with some milk and sprinkle it with some icing sugar. Bake at 180° until golden brown.

While you wait for the puff pastry to bake, prepare the bagna, with which we will soak the sponge cake. Pour the water together with sugar in a small pot. Once it boils, you can leave it cooling a bit and then add the alchermes liqueur.

At this point, take the puff pastry out of the oven, cut it the same size of the sponge cake and lay the sponge cake on it. Pour the bagna all over the sponge cake and now our base is ready to be topped with a thick layer of whipped cream. Let now rest the cake in the fridge for at least few hours.

Cioccolato a pezzi

Let’s now prepare the chocolate topping. Cut the chocolate in pieces, put it together with 2 spoons of honey and a spoon of water in a small pot and let it melt in a bain-marie. Let it cool, sprinkle some icing sugar on a clean surface where you can pour the chocolate. Add icing sugar until it gets thick enough to make a ball out of it. Let it rest a bit until it becomes a malleable dough of chocolate.

At this point, place it on a long piece of baking paper and roll it out using a rolling pin. Now it is all up to you: decorate your Torta Fedora as you wish with the “chocolate papers” you made! You can also add some icing sugar if you want it to look nicer!

Torta Fedora

Well, if Torta Fedora doesn’t sound easy to make, we can assure it tastes good! Don’t miss our food tours in Florence next time you are around, during which you’ll have the occasion to ask more tips for this recipe to the local “artisans” of desserts!

Cornetto Sfogliato: The Italian Croissant recipe

Speaking of what we share with La France, did you think that only French make croissants? Well then, we do too! Our favourite bar breakfast is “cappuccino and brioche”. Especially in Rome, Cornetto is as iconic as the Colosseo.

cornettocappuccio

So, if you want to impress your friends, don’t buy some: make them fresh!
It’s not an easy recipe but with some attention and a lot of patience you’ll awe everyone.

you’ll need

  • 310 gr white or manitoba flour
  • 140 gr “00″ white flour
  • 75 gr sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of liquid honey
  • 70 gr softened butter
  • 100 gr milk
  • 20 gr beer
  • 7 gr salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 of orange flavour
  • 1/3 of lemon flavour
  • 10 g vanillin
  • 1 brewer’s yeast cube

For the “sfogliatura”

  • 200 gr butter

Start kneading the milk, the yeast, the beer, the eggs, the sugar, the honey, the flavours, the vanillin and the sifted flours until the dough becomes smooth and soft; then add the salt and the softened butter.

Once everything is well mixed, keep kneading constantly until the dough is really smooth.

Leave it rest for 20 minutes, covered with a table cloth, then powder a large cup with some flour and transfer the dough, in a ball shape, in it. Cover it with some cooking film and leave it rest, room temperature, for 2 hours. Then put the cup in the fridge and… wait 24 hours!

Next day, you can prepare the “sfogliature” (now, google suggests stripping, I actually don’t know how to translate those amazing, buttered pastry stripes. You’ll see).

sfogliatura

Take off the fridge the 200g of butter and leave it room temperature for 3 hours (it should soften naturally). Then fold it with a clean table cloth and press it until it becomes a 1cm tall loaf.

Roll the dough in a round shape and… put the butter loaf at its center, folding it with the dough (make four angles). Then roll again until it becomes rectangular and fold the lower third upon itself. Now fold the upper third covering the rest of it.

Cover with film again and leave it in the fridge for 30 minutes. Repeat this operation three times (yes, you may have a wine glass now, but just a little bit: you’ll have to be sharp!).

img_7896

Now you can roll the dough in a long, thin, rectangular shape. Then cut it in triangles; stretch the wider part and roll them on theirselves, letting them take their peculiar shape (cornetto means “little horn”). Remember to keep the pointy end below so it won’t detach while cooking.

Put them in the baking tray and let them rest until… they double their volume (it may take more than two hours, so just go out to dinner, or better: leave them rest all night long, so the morning after you’ll have the most amazing breakfast!

croissant-crudo-640x511

Paint the raw cornetti with some egg yolk, heat the oven up to 170° and bake them for about 25 minutes.

Then you can cover them with powdered sugar or brown sugar, and once they’re not super hot you can fill them with cream or jam or chocolate… and enjoy your great Italian breakfast!

RISOTTO ALLA MILANESE

One of the most typical food in northern Italy is Risotto: that thick amass of rice and condiment that looks so sticky and is yet so perfectly al dente. If you haven’t tried it in our Milan food tour, you definitely should: the Risotto alla Milanese is one thing you sure cannot miss. And with us you have the chance to taste it in a really interesting version, that mixes italian flavours and tradition, from North to South, from Milan to Palermo… any clue? Book and behold our delicious arancino di risotto!

Infact, there are many ways to prepare Risotto, from the gourmet like the one before to the basic-simple-and traditional, and lots of sauces too! The most famous in Venezia is the one with Radicchio, in Tuscany there’s the one with asparagus and sausage, both in the north and center there’s the mushroom one… but the real icon is this golden and savory plate, the one and only Risotto alla Milanese.

risotto

Making risotto is not as simple as it looks: the rice should not overcook, but it should as well look “melted” with all the other ingredients. It’s not like a friend of mine used to prepare it – she cooked the rice and melted some cheese on it with some zucchini. That’s not a risotto, everybody!

It requires patience and attention. If you are willing to take your time with it, risotto will reward you. So, let’s try!

Ingredients:

1 medium onion, very finely chopped

100 grams of unsalted butter

400 grams of arborio, vialone nano, or carnaroli rice, or other medium- or short-grain Italian rice

half a liter of dry white wine

1,5 lt hot homemade stewing steak broth or low-salt canned chicken broth; more as needed

30 grams (one teaspoon) of dried saffron

100 grams of finely grated parmesan, preferably Parmigiano-Reggiano

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

zafferano

 *

In a heavy-based saucepan (there should be a lot of room after you poured all the rice), on a medium-low fire cook the onion with half of the butter until it’s translucent and fragrant.

Stir in the rice and cook it over medium heat for about 3 minutes. Add the wine and let it evaporate almost entirely, then add 2 cups of broth, then the saffron, stirring with a wooden spoon to avoid the rice sticks at the bottom. Enhance the heat until the mixture starts to simmer, then set the flame in order to maintain the simmer.

Keep cooking until most of the liquid has been absorbed, stirring every minute or two. You don’t actually have to stir constantly, even if every italian mother would tell you so.

Add another cup of broth and keep cooking, stirring, and adding broth until the rice is al dente but not raw or grainy in the middle. How to determine that? There’s only one way – you have to try it!

When the rice is ready, you can add the cheese, directly in the saucepan, and keep stirring. Add as much broth as you need to obtain the consistency you like. Turn the heat off, stir in the remaining butter. Season with salt and pepper and serve warm – even if it’s amazing also when it’s tepid… or even the day after!

Just one tip: do not re-heat it unless you want something mushy! Invite a lot of people over if you made too much :)

Recipe: The best PARMIGIANA DI MELANZANE ever!

Hello food lovers!
Today I’m going to talk about one of my favourite meals in the world. And I’m going to share with you my favourite recipe!

I’m talking of the famous Parmigiana di Melanzane – I don’t actually know how to translate it: what is sure, is that eggplants are involved, but the name has nothing to do with parmesan cheese. Sicilians say that “parmigiana” comes from the ancient word for “eggplant”, “petrociana”, which slowly changed. Anyway, there’s Parmigiano cheese in it, so… who really knows.
Have you ever tasted it? Just do it in our Milan food tour! If you are – like me – an eggplant lover, and if you are – like me – a deep-fried stuff lover, you will love this amazing combination! The odd thing is that this plate is commonly eaten in summer. Of course, eggplants are not a winter vegetable, but if you think of its thickness you might find it a bit to heavy to eat with 30, 40 ° C! And yet, we do. And so will you!

parmigianadimelanzane

Here the recipe, for a number from 4 to 6 people according to… your hunger lust!

4 eggplants

1 onion

250 g mozzarella cheese (you can also switch to scamorza cheese, just not the smoked kind)

100 g grated parmesan

2 eggs

breadcrumbs

½ liter tomato sauce

1 garlic slice

extravirgin olive oil

basil

frying oil (seed oil, soy or sunflower)

salt & pepper

sandwich-parmigiana-07

Wash the eggplants, clean them and cut them in slices of half a centimeter. Put them in a colander, covered with some salt for each layer, then leave them rest for about an hour. This will help drain them: after an hour you will have to squeeze them, rinse them from the salt and dry them again.

Meanwhile you can take a large pan, start sauté your chopped onion and the whole garlic slice together with the olive oil (say 3 or 4 spoons). When the garlic has goldened, take it out, add carefully the tomato sauce, the chopped basil, the salt and the pepper. Cook for 15 minutes, the sauce should remain liquid.

Mix the breadcrumbs and the eggs and dig the eggplant slices in it.

Now it’s time to fry! Open all your windows and, in a large frying pan, heat up abundant seed oil. A few at the time, fry the eggplants and, once crispy put them on kitchen towel in order to soak up a bit of oil.

melanzane-impanate

Meanwhile, cut the mozzarella in pieces or slices (that depends on you).

Once you have all fried and ready, you can build your masterpiece:

Set a large baking tray and spread just a sip of tomato sauce on the bottom, then align the first eggplant layer, followed by some mozzarella cheese, the sauce, the basil and the parmesan. Keep adding layers until you have space or ingredients. The last one should have a thick parmesan covering over the tomato sauce.

Put the parmigiana in the oven, pre-heated at 180° and bake it for half an hour or a bit more, until the smell starts make you really really hungry… the last 3 minutes set the oven on “grill” mode, you will have a delicious crust of Parmesan gratin!

Now take it off the oven and… eat it? Nope, not yet.

You need to leave it “rest” for about 2 hours! Once that time has passed, parmigiana will be really thick and solid. And probably still tepid: that’s the moment you can serve it and enjoy!

Healthy tip: You can avoid dipping the eggplants into egg+bradcrumbs mix before frying them, just wet them roll them into some flour: they will be less thick and crunchy but still really enjoyable!

Summer PAPPA AL POMODORO Recipe!

“Pappa al pomodoro” is a typical tuscan main dish. Its origins refer to the peasant tradition – Florence and Siena both claims it’s theirs, because it’s a really tasty food and everyone would be proud to have it… I mean, it’s so good they made a song about it!
When in Florence, you absolutely need to try it: you can do that by booking a Florence Food Tour with us.

The great thing about Pappa al pomodoro is that you can eat it warm in winter with a good red Chianti, but if you change, just slightly, the preparation, it’s a great plate to eat in a warm summer day with a vermentino or a vernaccia!

pappa al pomodoro

Pappa al Pomodoro is basically a bread and tomato soup with plenty of fresh local olive oil and basil. Tuscan bread is notoriously tasteless, because it is prepared without salt. As a result, the bread goes stale quite quickly: so, if you want to make it at home, make sure you take a fresh bread loaf, not salted and with a pretty thick dough. As usual, “sandwich bread” is not good at all!

Let’s go with the recipe!

INGREDIENTS

500 g (about 2 cups) peeled tomatoes, chopped, preferrable the “piccadilly” or “ciliegino” quality
250 g (about 1/2 lb) stale bread (preferably Tuscan bread), cut into smallish pieces
1 liter (about 4 cups) vegetable broth, warmed
1 big onion, chopped
basil, chopped coarsely (with your hands!)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (you can also use seasoned or spicy oil)
salt and pepper

You can add carrots or chili or whatever you think it fits: as all peasant preparations, this one is easily customizable.

soffritto pappa

Start with preparing your soffritto in a large and tall (around 10 cm tall) saucepan, by sauté the chopped onions in a large amount of olive oil. Once they’re golden, you can add salt and pepper (or chili).

Add the tomatoes and let them cook on a slow flame until they are softened, but not still a sauce. Now you can add half of your broth and the bread. Stir carefully, the bread has to soak in all the liquids and swell.

Once it’s swollen add the other half of the broth and the basil, and keep the bread under the liquid surface, constantly.

Stop mixing for a while: when you see the oil solidify on the surface, stir it a little bit. Do that for about 5 times and… you’re ready!

pappa-col-pomodoro4-850x638

Now you can take the pan off the fire and leave it rest. The longer the better! You can eat it lukewarm and the day after it would be even better. Just give it a nice splash of extravirgin olive oil and chop some fresh basil on it.

Way to eat a great Pappa al pomodoro in summer!

Tuscan bean “Ribollita” soup

Today’s recipe is something that I really love, and makes me glad to live in Tuscany. If you try one of our Florence food tours you’ll meet Ribollita, a peasant bean soup in the style of Tuscany (yes, another one – but all good comes from the roots, right?), one of those that you can never know how to make properly: everyone has its own recipe, its perfect one of course. And, of course, mine is better!

ribollita

Ribollita means, literally, “reboiled”: because it’s tasty when it’s fresh made, but tastier the day after, when you cook it again, in the pot, or in the oven, or under the grill.

It’s a very easy recipe but to make it the proper way you have to be patient – really patient. It takes at least one day to make it look like a Ribollita and not just a soup. Ribollita has to be thick, not brothy, and it’s not a pureed soup: you have to distinguish the ingredients.

Now, some ingredients are hard to find outside of Tuscany (some of them are hard to find even in Tuscany!), so I will give you some other ingredients that you can use instead of the “true” ones – and it will be great as well!

  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • One big frying pan
  • One big pot
  • 400 g “zolfini” beans, tiny a bit hard after hours of cooking.
    If you don’t have the pretty rare and expensive zolfini the cannellini variety will do. Use the dried ones (not the pre-cooked canned kind) remember to soak them overnight.

zolf_cann

  • 300 g savoy cabbage
  • 300 g cavolo nero (black cabbage) / if you can’t find it try with chicory or some green and bittery leaves.
  • 300 g swiss chard
  • 1 squashed tomato / or some tomato sauce
  • 1 peeled red onion
  • 2 peeled carrots
  • 3 chopped celeries
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 300 g stale bread (like two or three days stale). It should be the “tuscan”, oven baked, unsalty bread, but if you can’t find it just use something else – a baguette will be good, sandwich bread won’t: it will melt and that’s not good.

pane

Boil the beans in 2 liters of cold water, low fire, add the salt only when they’re ready (consider at the very least 45 minutes if they’re cannellini, more if they’re zolfini). When the water’s boiling you can add some carrot and celery if you want more taste. Leave the beans in their water, take a third of them and make a rough puree. Add again the puree to the beans, still in their water.

While the beans are cooking, chop onion, garlic and, separately, celeries and carrots; wash and cut in small pieces the potato; clean the vegetables (wash them only in cold water or they will lose their freshness) and cut them in thin slices. Take of all the stalk, it would be too hard to eat. In one glass of warm water, pour and mix 2 tbs of tomato sauce, or the peeled squashed tomato.

When the beans are ready, sauté the garlic and the onion in the frying pan, with 8 tbs of warm olive oil, carefully – once the smell starts spreading it’s done. You can add some chili to the mix if you like it. When your soffritto is ready you can slowly add all you prepared – celery, carrots, tomato sauce, all the veggies. Add salt and pepper and cook it for 10-15 minutes.

Now you can either add the beans with their water to the mix, or do the opposite and pour all the vegetables in the bean pot: it’s the same, just choose the method that’ll better contain all the food.

Cook the mix for at least one hour: keep a low flame and remember to stir it often with a wooden spoon or it will burn and stick to the pot. The water should be almost totally evaporated. When you still have water, add the roughly chopped bread and keep stirring until everything becomes thick – at this point it’s up to you, decide how thick. It can be almost solid, it can be still liquid – just not liquid.

Leave it rest for at least 3 hours (better if you leave it in the pot overnight)

Re-heat it, serve it – fancy tip, use terracotta casseroles – warm with a splash of olive oil, maybe serve some bruschetta on the side… and enjoy!