Fresh, aromatic, and tasty – that’s how we know Tuscan cuisine. Aside from the meat, bread, and fresh vegetables, it’s the unmistakable spices that give the dishes their unique accent. Cold-pressed olive oil, typical garden herbs such as rosemary or sage, and – very important – unsalted bread are the basis for almost every dish. Why unsalted? Because salt was an unpaid good for the former inhabitants of Tuscany. Anyone who’s familiar with it knows that Tuscan cuisine is rather simple and down-to-earth because of its rural origins.
Today, it’s these simple ingredients that make up the delicious Tuscan delicacies.
In this blog post, we’ll tell you the tastiest recipes that Tuscan cuisine has to offer for cooking at home. Bring that Tuscan feeling right to your house.
Table of contents
Culinary Journey through Tuscany
Let’s face it: there are so many good reasons for a holiday in Tuscany. Wide, hilly landscapes, excellent wines, and of course the fine Italian cuisine. Our culinary journey starts – how else should it be – with the so-called antipasti. The appetiser usually consists of marinated vegetables, bread, or ham. Before we go to the actual main course, we make a small detour. In the Tuscan menu order, the primi piatti come first. This “intermediate course” consists mainly of a soup or a small pasta or rice dish. This is followed by the actual main course, the secondi piatti. In Tuscany, the main course is usually a meat dish. Especially popular are game, lamb, or pork in an aromatic sauce. Of course, the Italian pizza always works too. At the end of the culinary journey, you shouldn’t miss the Italian dolci, the dessert. What typical Tuscan dishes you can serve on your menu, we’ll tell you now 🙂
A Look at Tuscan Cuisine and Antipasti Recipes
The classic! This Tuscan appetiser will appeal to everyone.
Slices of white bread (Italian white bread)
Fresh basil leaves
Traditionally, the white bread slices are grilled on a charcoal grill. But you can just put the bread in the oven (or grill in a pan). Wash and dice the tomatoes. Sauté the garlic cloves. In a bowl, combine the tomatoes and garlic with the basil, salt, and plenty of olive oil. Spoon the mixture onto the grilled slices of bread, or crostini, and you’re done!
Stuzzichini di salvia
24 large Sage leaves
6 anchovy fillets
This is fried sage and anchovy fillets.
You’ll need to whisk 2 eggs with a pinch of salt and some pepper. Wash and dry 24 fresh sage leaves, then pull the sage leaves through the egg wash. Halve 6 anchovy fillets. Now take care: place each half anchovy fillet between two sage leaves, squeeze the leaves together and fix with a toothpick. Then into the deep fryer they go, so that the appetisers are pretty crispy. Deliiiicious.
The Bonus of Tuscan Cuisine: The Primi Piatti
Spaghetti con salsa caprese
AKA: spaghetti with mozzarella and tomatoes. Here you can clearly see the simple and down-to-earth Tuscan cuisine. And yet, this dish just tastes way too good.
400 g spaghetti
500 g cherry tomatoes
1 ball of mozzarella
Salt and pepper
The spaghetti should be cooked “al dente”. Al dente in Italy means just a little firm. Cut the tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil into small pieces. Add salt, pepper, and plenty of olive oil and mix. Now just pour over your pasta and tadaaaa – your primi piatti is finished!
Continuing in the Tuscan Menu Sequence – Secondi Piatti
The main course of rural Tuscany is usually a meat dish with salad, vegetables, and bread. All steak lovers will be happy. We’ll give you the recipe for bistecca alla fiorentina, a Florentine steak. This is usually a grilled porterhouse or T-bone steak. Today, the dish is common throughout Italy, but its origin is in Tuscan cuisine.
Bistecca alla fiorentina
A large porterhouse or T-bone steak
Salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 120 degrees Celsius. Flavour the steak with olive oil and rosemary. You can decide for yourself how much oil and herbs to use. In Tuscany, the more seasoning, the better the meat 😉 Pour olive oil, pepper, salt and rosemary into a pan suitable for grilling and let it heat up. Then add the meat and sear evenly. How do you like your steak? Depending on the level of doneness, let the bistecca cook for 15 to 20 minutes in the oven. As a tip: in Tuscany, florentina is served still very bloody. To finish it off, serve the steak with herb butter and olive oil.
Everyone knows tiramisu and gelati. We’d therefore like to introduce you to a Tuscan almond pastry, the cantuccini. This is the golden end to our culinary journey. The biscuits are traditionally served with a Tuscan dessert wine, Vin Santo, in which they are dipped.
250 g flour
180 g sugar
25 g butter
1 tsp baking powder
2 sachets vanilla sugar
½ small bottle of bitter almond oil
200 g almonds
Mix all ingredients into a dough and knead well. Form the dough into a ball and allow it to rest for about 30 minutes. After that, form the dough into rolls. Place the rolls with a little distance between them on a baking sheet lined with baking paper. In a preheated oven (200° C), bake for about 10-15 minutes. Allow the rolls to cool and then cut them into slices about 1 cm thick. Place the biscuits on the baking tray with the cut surface facing upwards and toast for another 8-10 minutes at 200 degrees Celsius. Let the golden brown biscuits cool and enjoy them perfectly with espresso.
As a tip: If you’re on holiday in Castelfalfi, then the Tuscan cooking class would be the thing for you. Here, you can learn how to properly prepare typical dishes from your holiday country.