First Courses

Certaldo Onion Soup

Our local town, Certaldo, had been famous for almost a thousand years for its delicious red onions. A group of local farmers has been growing them and popularising them again. They are used in many dishes. One of the most popular is this simple, warming soup.
January 26, 2016/by Riccardo

Baked Pumpkin Gnocchi

These are not like boiled gnocchi at all, but are creamy balls of pumpkin baked in a tomato sauce. Guests who come on our cooking courses in Italy say that they are one of their favorite fall dishes.
November 4, 2010/by Shilpa

Minestrone ~ Tuscan Vegetable Soup

The distinctive taste of this soup comes from the cavolo nero ("black cabbage"). This has recently been popularized by chefs such as Jamie Oliver and is now available in many farmers' markets.
September 27, 2010/by Shilpa

Pasta with broccoli

This is a quick, healthy and tasty dish originally from southern Italy which has many possible variations (some add anchovies, some boil the broccoli in the pasta water etc).
February 13, 2011/by Riccardo

Zucchini (courgette) and ricotta sauce

The pungency of the garlic and fresh flavor of the basil make this a delicious sauce. The zucchini that we use on our cooking courses in Tuscany are small and light green skinned.
September 12, 2012/by Riccardo

Fresh Egg Pasta

Many people who come to our cooking school in Italy feel intimidated by the idea of making pasta from scratch. Once they see how easy and enjoyable it is, they become hooked! Put some music on in your kitchen, and take your time.
February 27, 2010/by Shilpa

Pasta and chickpea soup

This dish is lighter than it sounds, but is satisfying enough to have as a one-course meal with bread to dip into the bowl. It is a hit on our cooking courses in Italy, particularly the vegetarian ones.
November 2, 2010/by Shilpa

Tuscan vegetable and bread soup

This soup, like many others, actually improves if left for a day or so. We make a large batch and have it in varied ways - without the bread soaked into it but served on top of hot toast rubbed with raw garlic or with the bread and served at room temperature.
October 25, 2010/by Tina
pappa al pomodoro

Pappa al Pomodoro ~ Tuscan Tomato, Bread and Herb Soup

This classic summer dish is very versatile: it can be eaten hot, at room temperature or chilled. It does however rely on ripe, tasty tomatoes.
June 7, 2010/by Tina
gnocchi

Potato Gnocchi and Potato and Spinach Gnocchi

The less flour you use, the lighter the gnocchi will be, but the more likely it will be to go mushy while you wait to cook it, handle it and when it is cooking in the water.
March 13, 2010/by Shilpa

Risotto

The best types of rice for making risotto are: Arborio, Carnaroli and Vialone nano. These have round grains and are starchy, becoming creamy when cooked.
March 17, 2010/by Shilpa

Porcini Sauce for Pasta

Fresh porcini are wonderfully aromatic and just melt in your mouth.
June 27, 2010/by Shilpa
minestrone

Springtime Minestrone

A slow-cooked minestrone made with fresh seasonal ingredients and served with good bread is a healthy and delicious dinner or lunch.
May 18, 2010/by Shilpa

Puttanesca Pasta Sauce

This is a great, quick pasta sauce to make while your pasta is cooking. The ingredients are typical of Southern Italy and it apparently became popular in the 1960s.
April 29, 2010/by Shilpa

Fresh Basil Pesto

In the summer, nothing beats the pungent, aromatic flavours and satisfying texture of a home-made pesto sauce.
March 3, 2010/by Shilpa

Ragù ~ Rich Meat and Vegetable Sauce

There are dozens of versions of ragù which are favourites in different regions of Italy. During our cooking classes in Tuscany, we teach this Tuscan version (using not much tomato).
April 6, 2010/by Tina

Vegetable-based Tomato Sauce

This is a good alternative to a classic tomato and basil sauce. It has more texture and a more subtle, less tart flavour.Great with potato gnocchi, pasta, or any recipe that calls for a tomato-based sauce.
March 8, 2010/by Tina
butter sage sauce

Butter, Cream & Sage Sauce

This sauce is perfect to enhance the subtle flavours of homemade pasta, ravioli and gnocchi.
February 12, 2010/by Tina

Asparagus sauce for pasta

Asparagus is available for only a very short season. We love it and try to eat it in as many ways as possible before the long wait for the next harvest.
February 15, 2010/by Shilpa

Spring vegetable pasta

This is a light pasta dressing made with the freshest Spring vegetables
April 29, 2008/by Riccardo