“Tuscan food tastes like itself. Ingredients are left to shine. . . . So, if on your visit, I hand you an apron, your work will be easy. We’ll start with primo ingredients, a little flurry of activity, perhaps a glass of Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, and soon we’ll be carrying platters out the door. We’ll have as much fun setting the table as we have in the kitchen. Four double doors along the front of the house open to the outside—so handy for serving at a long table under the stars (or for cooling a scorched pan on the stone wall). Italian Philosophy 101: la casa aperta, the open house.”
—from the Introduction
In all of Frances Mayes’s bestselling memoirs about Tuscany, food plays a starring role. This cuisine transports, comforts, entices, and speaks to the friendly, genuine, and improvisational spirit of Tuscan life. Both cooking and eating in Tuscany are natural pleasures. In her first-ever cookbook, Frances and her husband, Ed, share recipes that they have enjoyed over the years as honorary Tuscans: dishes prepared in a simple, traditional kitchen using robust, honest ingredients.
A toast to the experiences they’ve had over two decades at Bramasole, their home in Cortona, Italy, this cookbook evokes days spent roaming the countryside for chestnuts, green almonds, blackberries, and porcini; dinner parties stretching into the wee hours, and garden baskets tumbling over with bright red tomatoes.
Lose yourself in the transporting photography of the food, the people, and the place, as Frances’s lyrical introductions and headnotes put you by her side in the kitchen and raising a glass at the table. From Antipasti (starters) to Dolci (desserts), this cookbook is organized like a traditional Italian dinner.
The more than 150 tempting recipes include:
· Fried Zucchini Flowers
· Red Peppers Melted with Balsamic Vinegar
· Potato Ravioli with Zucchini, Speck, and Pecorino
· Risotto Primavera
· Pizza with Caramelized Onions and Sausage
· Cannellini Bean Soup with Pancetta
· Little Veal Meatballs with Artichokes and Cherry Tomatoes
· Chicken Under a Brick
· Short Ribs, Tuscan-Style
· Domenica’s Rosemary Potatoes
· Folded Fruit Tart with Mascarpone
· Strawberry Semifreddo
· Steamed Chocolate Cake with Vanilla Sauce
Frances and Ed also share their tips on stocking your pantry, pairing wines with dishes, and choosing the best olive oil. Learn their time-tested methods for hand rolling pasta and techniques for coaxing the best out of seasonal ingredients with little effort.
Throw on another handful of pasta, pull up a chair, and languish in the rustic Italian way of life.
|Product dimensions:||8.42(w) x 10.24(h) x 0.86(d)|
About the Author
Named the "bard of Tuscany" by the New York Times, FRANCES MAYES is the author of the bestsellers Under the Tuscan Sun, Bella Tuscany, Every Day in Tuscany, and, with EDWARD MAYES, In Tuscany and Bringing Tuscany Home. She also wrote Swan: A Novel, A Year in the World, and five books of poetry. She lectures frequently on Italian life. Edward is the prize-winning author of four books of poetry, most recently, Speed of Life and Works and Days. Photographer STEVEN ROTHFELD is the author of French Dreams, Shrines, and Italian Dreams. His work appears in books by Frances Mayes among others.
Read an Excerpt
The Tuscan Sun CookbookRecipes from Our Italian Kitchen
By Edward Mayes
Clarkson PotterCopyright © 2012 Edward Mayes
All right reserved.
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound ground lean beef
1 pound ground pork
2 italian sausages, casings removed
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves or 1 teaspoon dried
1 to 2 cups red wine
1 cup soffritto (recipe below)
2 tablespoons tomato paste
16 to 20 tomatoes or 2 28-ounce cans whole tomatoes, juice included, chopped
Pour the olive oil into a 4-quart heavy pot with a lid. Over medium-high heat, brown the meats, breaking up the sausage with a wooden spoon, about 10 minutes. Add the salt, pepper, thyme, and 1 cup of the red wine. After the wine has cooked into the meat, about 10 minutes, add the soffritto, and stir in the tomato paste and tomatoes.
Bring the sauce to a boil, and then lower to a quiet simmer. Partially cover, and continue cooking for 3 hours, stirring now and then. Along the way, add the remaining cup of wine if you think the sauce is too dense.
makes 1 cup
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 yellow onion, minced
1 carrot, minced
1 celery stalk, minced
1 handful of flat-leaf parsley, minced
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
Saute the ingredients in a small saucepan over medium-low heat until they begin to color and turn tender, 5 to 7 minutes.
Excerpted from The Tuscan Sun Cookbook by Edward Mayes Copyright © 2012 by Edward Mayes. Excerpted by permission of Clarkson Potter, a division of Random House, Inc.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Ohmigosh! Not another book by (or somehow attached to) Frances Mayes! And yet this cookbook, when I finally picked it up and read it, turned out to be a wonderful find. It now sits, a little sauce-splotched, with my other "best-of-the-best" Italian cookbooks. Thanks again, Frances and Ed!
I do love my cookbooks! When a message about cookbooks, popped into my inbox, I immediately started looking at my local library to see if they had any of them, as I like to sample them before I actually buy them. They had 4 of them so I felt very lucky. The Tuscan Sun Cookbook looked promising but I wondered how complicated the recipes were and how exotic the ingredients might be, but I remained hopeful. After looking through the book though, I was surprised at my finding. First off, let me say, that the pictures inside this book are beautiful. Imagine a nice summer day, you’re in the hills of Italy enjoying lunch with your friends. A photographer has stopped by to take some shots and now, those pictures are inside this book. Although there aren’t pictures of every recipe in this book, the ones that are there, look very appealing. Each recipe does come with how many it serves, the ingredients list and step-by-step instructions. Accompanying each recipe, is a small paragraph or two that describes a bit about that recipe. The book consists of recipes that would actually be served in Tuscany according to the authors. The book is broken up into many sections. The Essential section had a few recipes that I enjoyed. Tomato Sauce (with bay leaves -I love bay leaves!), a Soffritto (looks delicious), Besciamella, a Brine, and Pesto. The Antipasti section contained appetizers. The Primi section was pasta and it began with making pasta and Giusi’s Ragu which looked nice and hearty. Angry Pasta? Oh yes, black olives and red pepper flakes made this recipe stand out. Lasagne with Ragu, using the same ragu, as mentioned before but adding it to a lasagna. Next was the Second section which was meats and I found Chicken Under a Brick and Chicken with Olives and Tomatoes. The Contorni section was salads and vegetables and the last section was Dolci which consisted of desserts. There is an Aperitivi E Digestivi section which is the closer for their meals: the bitter elixirs. There are 2 recipes in this section (Nocino and Riccardo’s Limoncello) which accompany the author’s comments on this topic What I didn’t find in this book was exotic ingredients or complicated recipes. That was a win for me. I did come across some new words, such as Fascicles of Summer Vegetables but as the author pointed out in their paragraph, fasces in Latin actually means a bundle of iron sticks. The author continued on in their comments, talking about Emily Dickinson’s fascicles of poems. Strawberry Semifreddo? I’d never heard of Semifreddo before but I learned that this dessert is not gelato or sorbetto but that it’s easy to make and doesn’t require a fancy machine. I did find some recipes that wouldn’t work for me but might for others. Recipes that included ingredients like fish, lamb, veal, and rabbit. All-in-all, this cookbook was a great find for me. If you’re into Tuscan dishes or want to try something different, this is one cookbook you should check out.