Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Good Morning Arizona: Traditional Tuscan Fare!

Traditional Tuscan Schiacciata

I love re-living my memories of our Tuscan adventure through food!  I can't believe how simple and delicious our meals were, and I NEVER left a restaurant or a dinner table hungry!

Traditional Tuscan fare is rustic, fresh, and comforting.  Carefully made salamis and cheeses are served morning, noon and night. Chianti practically flows from the faucets, and desserts like biscotti and gelato leave nothing to be desired!

The secret?  FRESH ingredients.  Before any cooking lesson, we always went and bought meat from the butcher, produce from the farmer's shop, and bread from the baker.  They all take GREAT pride in their products, they know their patrons and they aim to please.  Needless to say, I knew that every bite I took in Tuscany was made with nothing but LOVE!

Schiacciata (Tuscan Flat Bread)


  • 3 1/2 cups bread flour
  • 5 1/2 tsp. dry active yeast
  • 1 1/3 cups warm water
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling at the end
  • 2 tbsp. kosher salt, plus more for sprinkling at the end

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, dissolve the yeast in the water for about 5 minutes.
  2. Add the flour and mix on low speed for about 5-7 minutes, until the dough comes away from the bowl and forms a ball. Spray a mixing bowl with cooking spray and transfer the dough to the mixing bowl. 
  3. Cover the dough with a towel and allow it to rise for about one hour.
  4. Generously coat a cookie sheet with about 1/4 cup of the olive oil. Transfer the dough to the cookie sheet and spread the dough out on the cookie sheet, until it is about 1/2" thick.  Poke holes in the dough with your fingertips.  Drizzle the rest of the olive oil on top of the dough.
  5. Allow the dough to rise a second time for about another 30 minutes, until it has almost doubled in size.  
  6. Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.  Turn off the oven and allow the bread to rest for another 10 minutes before removing it from the oven.
  7. Remove from the heat and drizzle with additional olive oil and another sprinkle of salt.  

Traditional Tuscan Ragu Sauce

Traditional Tuscan Ragu Sauce

  • 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup vegetable stock
  • 1 lb. ground beef, pork sausage or turkey (I use a Sweet Italian turkey sausage)
  • 1/2 can Cento peeled tomatoes
  • 1 celery stalk, diced
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 cup red wine (Chianti)
  • 1 cup milk

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet on medium heat.  Add the vegetables and brown, adding a bit of vegetable stock periodically to avoid burning and to deglaze the pan.
  2. When the veggies are cooked down, add the meat and brown it on all sides until cooked through.
  3. Stir in the red wine and allow it to cook down for about 5 minutes. Then add the tomatoes and milk.  Stir until combined. Add a little more broth if necessary to avoid sticking to the pan. Simmer on low heat for about an hour until reduced, thick and chunky!

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