Tuscan Cooking Recipes

Bruschetta Caprese
1 loaf good bread, such as Ciabatta or a baguette
4 large garlic cloves, peeled and halved
Extra virgin olive oil
4 fresh Roma tomatoes
Sea salt or kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
12 pound fresh Mozzarella cheese
Fresh basil leaves

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut the bread into slices 1⁄4-inch thick and arrange on a baking sheet. Rub with garlic. Drizzle evenly with olive oil. Toast in oven for 5 minutes.
Slice tomatoes and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Top each bruschetta with a slice or two of tomato, a slice of mozzarella and a basil leaf. Sprinkle with salt and black pepper. Drizzle with olive oil.
Serves 4 as a first course or 2 as an entrée.

Sweet Potato, Asparagus and Parmesan Risotto
2 medium sweet potatoes
12 cup olive oil, divided
4 cups hot vegetable or chicken stock, divided
12 pound fresh asparagus spears, diagonally sliced into 1-inch pieces
12 cup onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
1
12 cups arborio rice
34 cup white wine, room temperature
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, coarsely chopped
1
12 teaspoons thyme leaves
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese, more for garnish
1 teaspoon sea salt
34 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Peel sweet potatoes and cut in half. Cut half the sweet potatoes into 1⁄4-inch diced and set aside. Cut the remaining sweet potatoes into 1-inch chunks. Toss with 2 tablespoons olive oil and roast until soft about 30 minutes. Puree in a food processor with 1⁄4 cup stock (keep stock in a large saucepan on the stove and keep it warm, close to a boil). Set pureed mixture aside.
Place 3 tablespoons olive oil in large saucepan over medium heat; add asparagus and cook until tender crisp. Remove asparagus; set aside.
Add the remaining 3 tablespoons oil, and sauté onion and small diced sweet potatoes over medium high heat. Cook about 3 minutes until softened but not browned. Add garlic and arborio rice and cook 2 to 3 minutes stirring frequently. Stir in wine. Cook, stirring until completely absorbed. In the same manner add hot stock, 1⁄2 cup at a time, stirring until each addition is completely absorbed and stock is used up.
Add sweet potato puree, asparagus, rosemary, thyme, butter and Parmesan cheese. Stir gently until heated thoroughly. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve immediately. Garnish with additional Parmesan cheese.
Serves 4 to 6.

Filetti al Balsamico
(Meat Filets in Balsamic Vinegar Sauce)
4 slices of meat fillet, 8 ounces each, thinly sliced (beef tenderloin, chicken breasts or pork tenderloin)
2 tablespoons olive oil
12 cup meat stock
13 cup balsamic vinegar
Freshly ground black pepper
Juice of 1 fresh lemon
2 large cloves garlic, finely minced
1 teaspoon cornstarch

Cook slices of meat in 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet, about 4 minutes each side. Set the cooked meat on a plate.
Add the stock, balsamic vinegar, pepper, lemon juice and garlic to the skillet. Bring to a boil, and let it reduce a bit. Add the teaspoon of cornstarch and whisk it in. Once the sauce has thickened, return the fillets to the skillet, cover and turn off heat. Let fillets warm up, then serve.
Serves 4.

Tuscan Roasted Vegetables
14 cup extra virgin olive oil
4 large garlic cloves, crushed and minced
1 medium eggplant, sliced lengthwise into 8 wedges, each wedge cut into 3 pieces
1 large red bell pepper, cut into bite-size pieces
1 large fennel bulb, cut into 8 wedges, layers separated
1 medium red onion, cut into 8 wedges, layers separated
2 small to medium zucchini, sliced lengthwise into quarters, and then each quarter cut into 3 pieces
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves or
12 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Put all the vegetables in a large mixing bowl. Add thyme leaves in and drizzle olive oil over the mixture. Mix completely. Arrange the mixture on two baking sheets, spreading them in an even layer. Sprinkle salt and pepper over the vegetables and place in the oven.
Roast vegetables for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the eggplant is tender when pricked with a knife. Remove from the oven and serve immediately, or let them cool for later use.
Serves 4 to 6.

NEMS Daily Journal