Discover more from Letters from Tuscany
Do you have a favourite recipe for Spring?
A collection of Spring recipes
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Hello everyone and welcome new readers! Many of you joined after Susan Spungen’s feature and giveaway on Susanality (thank you, Susan!), and from Substack Notes, my new favourite place to hang out. Goodbye Twitter, goodbye Instagram: I’ve found everything I need to connect and get inspired here on Substack. I hope you will join Notes, too.
Before we jump into a collection of Spring recipes to welcome the new season, if you want to know us better, you can start here:
To know more about who I am, what I do and what I write about here in Letters from Tuscany, check the About page.
Most of my writing is in two languages, Italian and English. [Se preferisci leggermi in italiano, trovi tutto su Lettere dalla Toscana].
My love for food and an ordinary life. I live in one of the most romanticized areas of Italy - the Tuscan countryside - and I write about food. Idyllic, right?
Yet, I chose to write about my daily life, not to ride the wave of Italian food, but because this is where I happened to be born, and because I gradually fell in love with the same food I grew up with. My love for food doesn’t come from a long family tradition. It comes from a craving for good food.
The evolution of (my) food writing. It took me almost two years to find my voice on Substack because I had to make up with the idea that I was not cheating on my 14 years old blog when I was sharing my recipes and stories here rather than on Juls’ Kitchen.
And don’t forget to introduce yourself here! I love to know who is reading and cooking, who are the real people behind the screen! I hope to see you during one of the upcoming Cook Alongs.
Some of my favourite Spring recipes
I like to keep my recipes simple: a short ingredient list based primarily on pantry staples such as eggs, milk, and flour. I’m fascinated by fresh new ingredients, so I try to weave into my recipes what is in season now: slender asparagus, bunches of succulent monk’s beard, and the sweetest peas.
Fresh herbs, lemon zest, nuts, and a wise use of salt and pepper are the bright accents that highlight the flavour of a dish. A trickle of extra virgin olive oil is my fat of choice.
Garmugia, the greenest Tuscan Spring soup. Garmugia is one of those recipes that can be made just for a very short period of time, that is when you find fava beans, peas, asparagus and artichokes on the market stalls.
Asparagus and ricotta crespelle. Spring is the season of fresh ricotta, abundant eggs, and slender asparagus. Combine them in an elegant, traditional dish as crespelle for an special main course.
Asparagus and ricotta tortelli. Fresh and zesty, this is a spring pasta dish that I prepared often during the asparagus season (paywalled recipe).
Spring lasagne. To make this lasagne, substitute ragù with a selection of Spring vegetables quickly sautéed with garlic and olive oil. Instead of bechamel, opt for stracciatella.
Raw artichoke carpaccio with shaved pecorino. This is a fresh, lemony appetizer that exalts the flavour of artichokes. Have some bread ready to mop up the olive oil left at the bottom of the plate.
Ciambellone with fava beans, pecorino and salami. This is a ciambellone packed with the same ingredients of carefree Spring picnics: fava beans, fresh pecorino and salame.
Warm Spring vegetable salad, with artichokes, fava beans, asparagus, grilled pecorino cheese, and a lemony citronette. A favourite during cooking classes.
Yoghurt pannacotta with strawberries. It's such a basic recipe, with the shortest ingredients list, that it's worth using only the top-quality ingredients: fresh cream, whole yoghurt, very little sugar, and a single vanilla bean.
Plus, if you've bought Cucina Povera or are planning to order it, here are some of the recipes that to prepare in the spring: ricotta and nettle gnudi (p. 151), Roman vignarola (p. 50), foraged herb tortelli with walnut pesto (p. 38), torta Pasqualina (p. 165).
Stay tuned for a new exclusive recipe for the subscribers on Friday. It is part of a serialized Tuscan cookbook that you will receive once a week, a collection of tested classic Tuscan recipes to add to your cooking repertoire. Learn more about the I Love Toscana project here and find all the recipes here. You can upgrade and get access to this, as well as all our monthly cook-along and live talks, on the link below.
And how not to mention risi e bisi among the best Spring recipes?
With the taste and colour of spring, risi e bisi was the dish offered to the Doge of Venice and the government members on the 25th of April during the banquet held to celebrate the arrival of the new season and the saint patron of the city, San Marco. Even though it has such a noble origin, it soon became part of the culinary tradition of the region, and now it is one of the most representative dishes of Veneto.
If you can put your hands on fresh organic peas in pods, this is the dish to make to celebrate Spring with a Venetian touch.
You can find the recipe for risi e bisi extracted from Cucina Povera (p. 28) in Susan's latest newsletter, where you can also read a glowing review of the book.
And now, let’s peruse your Spring kitchen habits.
I’m always curious to know what a season means specifically to you, in your home, country, life. What is Spring for you?
Do you have a favourite Spring ingredient? or a recipe you can’t wait to make as soon as temperatures get warmer?
[If you say rhubarb, know that I’ll be forever envious: it’s one of my favourite ingredients on earth, and I’ve been trying to grow it for ages, but Tuscan summers are too long and dry for it. All I can do is dream about stawberry and rhubard jam, roasted rhubarb with clotted cream, and rhubarb tarts.]
Please share ideas, Spring suggestions, and links to your recipes, if you have them online!
BOOK EVENTS AND TALKS
If you are new to Letters from Tuscany, welcome! You can read more about Cucina Povera and the journey that brought to it here.
Friday, April 21, 2023 - CUCINA POVERA: The Art of Making Do With What You’ve Got - Online event with MoFad New York and Kitchen Arts and Letters. A conversation with Regula Ysewijn. Purchase tickets here.
Sunday, April 23, 2023 – Italy Off the Beaten Path with Giulia Scarpaleggia, hosted by Milk Street Live Online Cooking School. Purchase tickets here. Use CUCINA to have a 15% discount.
Cooking Experience in Tuscany with us
Slow down and be ready to live a day as a local: hearty homemade food is included. Every meal will be an excuse to travel through Tuscany thanks to local recipes, memories and stories. Learn more about our cooking classes here.
Next available openings:
Wednesday, May 17th - Market to Table Cooking Class - 2 spots available
Wednesday, June 7th - Market to Table Cooking Class - 2 spots available
Thursday, June 8th - Tuscan Cooking Class - 6 spots available
Join me on Notes
Substack just launched Notes, a new space for us to share links, short posts, quotes, photos, and more. I plan to use it for things that don’t fit in the newsletter, like work-in-progress or quick questions, updates and photos from my daily walk.