"...We come directly to your holiday home in Tuscany for Private Cookery Courses and Dinners..." info@cuocheinvacanza.it

Saturday, August 8, 2015

#Camaiore private cooking class: Chickpeas Cacciucco and a lovely restaurant near the forest

Chickpeas Cacciucco
Around 2 days ago I went running a private cooking class near Camaiore (Lucca Province). The Holiday House was at 50 minutes from my home, and the way to go was unpaved and uphill, steep.
I drove for about 5 Km over a dirt road, large no more than 3 metres, with a precipice and no guard rail on the right side. Anyway we surely didn't worry about this, you know our motto: "We come to wherever you're staying in Tuscany, to prepare the tasteful dishes with you".
The family we met for the Cooking Class was from U.K. and they choosed a completely veggie cookery course menu: The Tuscan Soups. 
I already posted you the recipe about my favorite soup: Acquacotta, and I can't stop to spread to my friends and readers one of my successful dishes: the Onion Soup
Today is the time of Chickpeas Cacciucco, known here in Tuscany as "Cacciucco di terra".
This is completely different from the most famous Cacciucco fish soup from Livorno; we're talking about a veggie dish belonging to the "poor-cooking". If you come in Tuscany and you'd like to taste one of the best Chickpeas Cacciucco I suggest you 2 options:
1) You call us, CuocheinVacanza (Chefs on Holiday) and we'll prepare it together, following the original recipe
2) Go near Camaiore, to Casoli or Candalla...there are some restaurants near the forest where you can find a good example of this old, poor soup. I love to have dinner there, with my husband.
Anyway, if you stay at home, there's a third option: I leave you the recipe below. Wishing I could please my Facebook friends @Rosalie, @Dolly and @Roberta.

Chickpeas Tuscan Cacciucco

Recipe by Erika Elia (CuocheinVacanza.it)
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
Total time: 1 hour

Ingredients (4 people)
  • 3 cups boiled and drained chickpeas
  • 1/2 cup Extra virgin oil
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 5 anchovy fillets
  • 4 cups veggie broth (or water)
  • 1 tbsp tomatoes paste
  • 4 tbsp grated parmesan
  • 8 oz chard leaves
  • 4 slices bread croutons
  • to taste salt
  • to taste black pepper
Cooking Directions
  1. Over medium heat, pour 4 tbsp extra virgin oil in a pot with 1 garlic clove cut in half; add the anchovy fillets. Wait until anchovy melt, stirring well with a wooden spoon.
  2. Add drained chickpeas continuing stirring until they take all the flavors of the sauce with anchovy and garlic.
  3. Add the chard leaves coarsely chopped
  4. Cover all up with hot veggie broth (or hot water), prevoiusly mixed with 1 tbsp of tomato paste
  5. Cover with the lid and cook for about 30 minutes
  6. taste the salt...
  7. Toast the bread croutons in oven or in a pan (no adding oil)
  8. Rope them with garlic (one side)
  9. set them at the bottom of each serving bowl
  10. pour on the top the chickpeas and the broth
  11. sprinkle with a handful of grated parmesan
  12. serve it immediately

Buon Appetito!!
Print Recipe

Monday, July 6, 2015

#Family Cooking Classes:The Best Meatballs Sauce for Spaghetti to remember your Holidays in Tuscany!

meatballs spaghetti3
Meatballs Italian Sauce
A great season's started: couldn't miss the recipe of italian meatballs sauce for Spaghetti or "Pici". In fact this is one of our most required Family Cooking Classes
Meatballs are always awesome! Here, below this post, you can find the recipe of Meatballs Sauce for Spaghetti, anyway don't forget to have a look also to the recipe about italian meatballs.


I had this recipe directly from my Nonna who taught me to respect each single step to obtain terrific meatballs for Spaghetti, Pici and other  sauces for long pasta

Loved by adults and kids, this recipe will bring you inside the flavors of south of Italy (where this recipe's born). Once came back home from your Holidays in Italy, prepare this terrific sauce! You'll soon remind of an amazing dinner close to the seaside, enjoying the sunset; or your time with friends after a dip in the pool.

In a few words, I'm sure you'll feel all the emotions and states of mind that Summer brings here in Tuscany and in Italy in general.

Some advices: 
  1. meatballs must be small; I saw that even if the most famous American and English chefs love to make huge meatballs to put over pasta, but trust me, the original recipe calls for the small ones and there's also another reason: these take all the sauce in a short time and can be tasted together with a a generous quantity of Pummarola (Tomato) Sauce in your mouth; and this is impossible with huge meatballs.
  2. when you finished to cook, leave your meatballs sauce to rest at least 20 minutes 'cause remind: the more the meatballs stay in their sauce, the more they'll be tasteful!
meatballs spaghetti2
    Italian Meatballs Sauce for Spaghetti or "Pici"

    Recipe by Erika Elia (CuocheinVacanza.it)
    Prep time: 30 minutes
    Cook time: 25 minutes
    Total time: 55 minutes

    • 1 lb beef minced meat
    • 5 oz mortadella (typical italian cold cut) or 1 italian sausage or ham (Parma)
    • 2 oz one day old bread
    • 1 egg
    • 2 oz grated parmesan
    • 1 garlic clove
    • 1 bunch of parsley 
    • 1 glass white wine 
    • 1 bottle cl 75 Passata Tomato Puree (Mutti is the best one, in my opinion)
    • 1 garlic clove
    • 4 spoons extra virgin oil
    • 6 leaves basil
    • to taste salt and pepper
    Cooking Directions
    1. Cut roughtly the mortadella and the bread
    2. Put in the food processor and mix: the mortadella, the bread, the garlic clove, the parsley.
    3. Put this mixture in a big bowl and add: the egg, the parmesan, salt and pepper
    4. mix all these ingredients by your hand, squeezing all the meat through your fingers
    5. taste if it's salty enough
    6. pick a small quantity of this mixture and start to roll it in the center of your palm to form a small ball (about 2 cm in diameter)
    7. Remind to press a bit, because the meatballs have to be compact
    8. Pour the oil in a large pan with the clove of garlic cut in half
    9. wait until frying a bit and add all the meatballs very gently
    10. after 3 o 4 minutes, try to turn over the meatballs (very gently) and wait until golden (around 3 minutes again)
    11. turn up the heat and pour the glass of white wine
    12. wait until does'nt smell anymore
    13. turn down the heat (medium fire) and add the Tomato Passata Puree, covering uniformly all the meatballs
    14. add salt and the pepper
    15. let it cooking for about 15 minutes (maybe it's better if you lid with a splash guard lid)
    16. Taste if it's salty enough
    17. you're obtaining an amazing Meatballs Sauce for Spaghetti or Pici 

    Print Recipe

    Friday, June 26, 2015

    #Hong Kong, Lititz,Tromsø here in Tuscany: Cooking Classes after a dip in the pool!


    Were experiencing many and varied adventures during this period.  
    Summer is our season and started really great this year! One of the amazing places here in Tuscany (central Italy) where we frequently go for our Cooking Classes and private lunches dinners at home, is Poggio al Casone

    cooking class

    It is a fantastic resort to relax in nature, each apartment can accommodate families, who often want to spend holidays with their loved ones, and taste the most delicious Italian dishes


    Without taking the car to go to the restaurant, directly after a dip in the pool, here you can partecipate to a Cooking Class or enjoying a Private Dinners with us, the CuocheinVacanza
    We're particularly proud of using seasonal ingredients, local produce only and before our private dinners and lunches we usually make fresh handmade pasta right under your eyes. 


    What excites me most, about my job, is dealing with adults and children, listening to their experience trying to pass them some tricks and "know-how" that my granny passed down to me, many years ago.
    I often meet so special families and people and each one of them enriches me and pushes me to do always better.

    cooking class

    The students we had during last times come from Pennsylvania, Norwey, and Hong Kong. Their main dishes prepared: Ravioli stuffed with Pumpkin and Amaretti crumbles, Pici with Meatballs, Risotto with Aspargus...amazing!!


    Stay tuned for the recipes, they'll be posted asap. My blog follows my job, you know...many recipes during the winter and my passion to describe all our life-experiences during our working-season (Summer!).


    We come all around Tuscany to run Cooking Classes
    Posted by Cuocheinvacanza Cuciniamo Con Voi on Saturday, March 21, 2015
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