Updates from the hills of Tuscany, a restored farmhouse in Chianti, midway between Florence and Siena. We write about local history and culture, life in Tuscany, the seasonal changes, pleasures of the garden and country kitchen, local stories and encounters with wildlife.
Wednesday, September 5, 2012
The Best Minestrone
Panzano market produce
Panzano Sunday market has few stalls, but the cheese stall and the fruit and veg are excellent. We don't go every Sunday, but when we do, we aim for early. In summer by 10 not only is the place seething with tourists, but the best produce has long gone. We usually treat ourselves to a fine coffee at the corner cafe', then launch ourselves on the stalls. Last Sunday we bought fresh mozzarella which is
superlative, as good as you can get in Naples, crusty bread which was still hot and loads of fruit and vegetables. The peaches and nectarines we bought are not featured in these photos, but they are still very good; and now grapes and figs are in season. We prefer uva Italia which is a moscato (muscat) variety, and although we have figs on our own trees, we buy some...just in case. The second photo is a portrait of a raw minestrone. Fifteen vegetables went into its making, including cannellini beans. Minestrone is really an excuse for ribollita, the hearty Tuscan soup based on the day-before's minestrone (ribollita just means 'reboiled'), with local bread stirred into it, served with olive oil, pepper and parmesan. A one-pot meal if ever there was one. To make a true ribollita the two essential ingredients are cannellini beans and cavolo nero, or Tuscan black kale. I try to make enough to last at least two meals. If it were just for me, I could live on ribollita...