Autumn in Tuscany is a feast of colours and comforts. Its famous countryside basks in the clear sunlight and crisp blue skies that only autumn can bring. Expect warming dishes and woody flavours that will wrap you up in a heartening embrace. If you can’t travel to Tuscany right now, cooking up the flavours of the region is the next best thing. Let’s explore some Tuscan recipes for autumn.
Ribollita Soup is like a warm embrace enclosed in a bowl. It is a typical soup of stale bread and vegetables that were traditionally prepared in some areas of the Tuscan countryside. The long simmering time is what makes its rustic flavors shine. This soup was traditionally cooked in large quantities on Fridays, so that it could be enjoyed through the whole weekend. This tradition is what gave the dish its name, which translates as “re-boiled”. This is one of those dishes that always tastes better the next day. The ribollita is popular throughout Tuscany, as well as in other parts of Italy, with numerous variations. Today's recipe of the Ribollita contains cannellini beans, chard leaves and Tuscan kale (cavolo nero). Click here for the recipe.
A quick and very delicious second course is roast rabbit, a recipe historically cooked in the Tuscan countryside in a pan for quick day-to-day dinners - not in the wood-burning oven as was the case on special occasions. The rabbit is cooked with aromatic herbs, a mixture of sage and rosemary, and cooked in white wine and broth.
We hope the local name for this dish won’t spoil your appetite..! “Coniglio all’arrosto morto” literally means “dead roast rabbit”, as the rabbit is "drowned" in the broth and then covered in sauce, as if being “buried". If you can overcome that mental image, Coniglio all’arrosto morto is an absolute delight on a crisp autumn day.
A perfect side-dish to accompany your roast rabbit is sautéed mushrooms. There are a few things you need to know to make sure you get the most out of your mushrooms.
First, they must be cleaned thoroughly with a damp cloth, without washing them underneath running water, because the mushrooms will absorb any water they come into contact with, which will then be released when you cook them, resulting in a watered-down sauce and a less firm texture. So, before cooking, remove any soil very gently, using a small knife to remove any difficult-to-clean areas. Then, remove the base of the stem and give the top of the mushroom a final wipe with a damp cloth.
Mushrooms need to be cooked fast, otherwise they risk becoming sloppy: we want to keep the shape, so remember to cook them over a high heat.
Are you lucky enough to be in Italy this fall? Try one of these fabulous experiences.