Meatless Vegetarian Pasta Sauce (Sugo Finto)

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Sugo Finto - "Fake Sauce" - uses celery, carrots and onion in a red wine tomato sauce to produce a rich, hearty flavor for pasta without meat. I learned this recipe at a Tuscan cooking class at Fattoria Corsignano near Siena, Italy. You won't miss the meat, I promise!

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Pasta Sauce, Meatless (Sugo Finto)
Cuisine Italian
Servings
Ingredients
Cuisine Italian
Servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Finely dice carrots, celery and onions.
  2. Sauté in olive oil until the onions are translucent and everything is well cooked and tender. Add a clove of diced garlic here if you like.
  3. Add red wine and stir in salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes to reduce.
  5. Add crushed tomatoes and cook, uncovered, for 30-45 more minutes to allow the flavors to blend, stirring occasionally.
  6. Add more salt and pepper if desired.
  7. Serve warm, over al dente pasta, and sprinkle with fresh-grated Parmesan.
Recipe Notes

Fresh basil leaves are a good garnish. Crusty bread and red wine are good partners!

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Tuscan Bread Soup Recipe

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Authentic Tuscan hearty winter bread soup recipe and instructions straight from Italy.

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Soup, Tuscan Bread Recipe
Instructions
  1. Peel two whole garlic cloves and cut a bunch of fresh basil leaves into small ribbons.
  2. In a soup pot, saute' the basil and garlic in a couple of tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil for a few minutes to extract the flavor. Remove the garlic cloves.
  3. Add the tomato puree and water or stock and heat almost to a boil.
  4. Cut the stale bread into 1-inch cubes and add to the soup, stirring well. Most of the bread will melt into the sauce but some lumps will remain.
  5. Season to taste with a pinch of red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Continue stirring until the soup is hot through. Serve hot with a sprig of fresh basil on top.
Recipe Notes

As variations, you can add sliced onions to the saute and crush or chop the garlic and leave it in the soup.

You can also use fresh or canned whole tomatoes if you want to puree them yourself.

Bread soup pairs well with a medium-bodied or light full-bodied red wine. However, the soup has a fairly high acid content because of the tomato puree, so a softer, not-overly-tannic wine like Merlot works best (Miles’ opinion notwithstanding).

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Tuscan Ribollita Soup Recipe

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Authentic Tuscan recipe for ribollita, a wonderful bread sou straight from Italy!

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Soup, Tuscan Ribollita Recipe
Cuisine Italian
Servings
Ingredients
Cuisine Italian
Servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Peel and roughly chop the onion, kale or spinach, Savoy cabbage, chard, leek, potatoes, carrots, zucchini and celery.
  2. Saute' the onion in a little extra virgin olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat until tender.
  3. Add the rest of the chopped veggies to the pot and cook about 10 minutes more until softened.
  4. Mash half the beans in a bowl with a fork or potato masher. Add all the beans and their water to the soup pot and stir well.
  5. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Simmer about 2 hours. Add water if necessary to keep the soup from getting too thick.
  7. Cube the stale bread and stir into soup. Add more water, if necessary.
  8. Simmer 10 more minutes. Soup should be hearty and very thick.
Recipe Notes

Ladle into bowls, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and serve with crusty fresh bread on the side.

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