We run an organic cooking class few days ago, in San Miniato, with our group of Cuoche in Vacanza (Cooks on Holiday).
My guests and students demanded that each course was organic, from starter to dessert. They were very nice people from New York and one of them had a severe allergy to preservatives and other chimical products.
Everyone is surprised when I say there’s no problem to run an organic cooking class here in Tuscany.
Often we eat organic even if we don’t know; this is the luck to live in this region.
You can buy organic food everywhere and the cost is not so high like in America, furthermore, if you live in the countryside you can have organic and fresh ingredients directly from your garden. Where I live, for example, I just open the door and pick up some salad, tomatoes, basil…and you can be sure they’re not treated with chimical products.
Organic cooking class means not only preparing and eating organic food,
but also to explain how to buy organic food here in Italy and what labels and certifications are valid.
Here’s the European label about organic food:
Law is very strict in Europe and must spend 10 years from the last visit with an expert before declaring a field as organic and with an organic cultivation.
Well, as they asked for an organic cooking class I immediately thought to this recipe: penne, broccoli and sun-dried tomatoes.
And I thought to Carlo as well, our neighbor from Sicily. He is an old man of few words, kind-hearted. He worked as a chef on cruise ships; one night invited all my family for dinner and prepared this amazing pasta with vegetables from his garden.
The region of Sicily (South of Italy) is beautiful and when you taste some veggies from there, it seems to taste a bite of sun, because of their sweetness.
Once tasted this dish I decided to make it again during our cooking classes in Tuscany. Tourists which come in Tuscany on holiday, often ask for an organic cooking class and this sauce is what I was looking for. With this you can season fresh egg pasta as well. I love cooking only food in season, that’s why I keep this pasta sauce for Autumn and Winter cookery lessons. Despite the fact that our job has its high season on Summer, I run many cooking classes in Tuscany during Winter and this dish was very successful.
It combines all the sweetness of sun-dried tomatoes with the velvet texture of brased broccoli.
The steps of this recipe can be summarized in the following video. Click to watch the video.
Maybe you can be interested in the following veggie recipes:
- 12 oz (350gr) penne pasta
- 3 garlic cloves
- 3 heads broccoli
- 10 sun-dried tomatoes
- ½ glass apple vinegar
- To taste hot pepper
- 1 oz pinenuts
- ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 4 tbsp parimigiano reggiano (grated parmesan)
- to taste salt
- Toast pinenuts in a small pan and set a part.
- heat ¾ of oil in a large pan (medium-high heat) with 2 chopped cloves of garlic and hot pepper
- add broccoli cut in slices
- pour in 2 glasses of water
- add salt
- place a lid and cook about 20 minutes until soft.
- Leave in the pan, don't drain.
- meanwhile pour in a small pot the vinegar and the same quantity of water
- add sun-dried tomatoes and let them boil for the same time of broccoli
- drain tomatoes
- cut tomatoes in small strips
- heat the rest of oil in a pan with the remaining garlic clove
- add the tomatoes and flip in the pan about 3 minutes
- add the tomatoes to the broccoli
- cook penne in a large pot of salted boiling water
- pour in the pan with broccoli and tomatoes ½ cup of salted water from the pot
- drain pasta
- pour penne in the pan with veggies and mix with a wooden spoon
- add parmesan if you like
- set in plates and sprinkle with toasted pinenuts