When tradition is served: a short introduction to products and dishes of the area of Arezzo
Arezzo and its area have an old culinary tradition, characterised by dishes made of rustic and genuine products, typical of the peasant culture. Arezzo cuisine is noted for its simplicity in preparation, but at the same time for its abundance of difference in taste. Arezzo cuisine has many ingredients in common with Tuscan cuisine: poultry and pork, spinaches and beans, ricotta and pecorino cheeses, olive oil and nutmeg. Chestnuts and mushrooms, typical of this region, are also central to many recipes, and pasta dishes are as various as the sauces they are served with. Two of the most common soups are cabbage soup and pappa al pomodoro, while the most typical pasta dish is pappardelle with hare sauce. Among main dishes, meats are prevailing: stew, also called scottiglia, pork offal and porchetta, very often served with side dishes as fried celery, stuffed artichokes, beans seasoned with olive oil… From the homely trattoria to the traditional osteria, throughout the many sophisticated restaurants, even the most hard-to-please gourmets will enjoy their meals in Arezzo.
a vegetables and bread soup
- 12 slices of stale pane toscano, better if cut from a 1-kg loaf;
- 500 gr of zolfini or toscanelli beans, previously boiled with a sage twig and some garlic;
- 200 ml of extra-virgin olive oil;
- 1 bunch of lacinato kale;
- 1/2 Savoy cabbage;
- 2 carrots;
- 1 onion;
- 1 leek;
- 1 stalk of celery;
- 1 pinch of thyme;
- 100 gr of pancetta;
- 1 spoonful of tomato paste;
- salt and pepper.
Boil the beans. Dice the pancetta and mince 1 onion, 1 stalk of celery and 1 carrot; put them in a pot with olive oil and let them fry over low heat. Cut 1 lacinato kale and 1 Savoy cabbage into more or less thin slices, and put them in the pot. Mince 1 leek, slice 1 carrot and add them too. Mash half of the beans and add them to the soup together with their cooking liquid and a spoonful of tomato paste. Wait for 30 minutes, then add the other beans and let the whole thing cook for other 40 minutes, paying attention that the soup doesn’t get dry. Add a pinch of thyme when the soup is cooked. Put some slices of stale bread in a bowl and cover them with a layer of soup, and so on until the ingredients are finished. Put an abundant quantity of olive oil in a pan and let it fry. When the olive oil is hot, add the bread soup and stir fry it until it “re-boils” and a lacquer is made on the bottom of the pan. Add some drops of oil and a generous quantity of pepper.