Pasta and chickpea soup

This dish is lighter than it sounds, but is satisfying enough to have as a one-course meal with bread to dip into the bowl. It is a hit on our cooking courses in Italy, particularly the vegetarian ones.

Tuscan vegetable and bread soup

This soup, like many others, actually improves if left for a day or so. We make a large batch and have it in varied ways - without the bread soaked into it but served on top of hot toast rubbed with raw garlic or with the bread and served at room temperature.

Mushroom crostini

Best served warm, these crostini will have your guests demanding more. You'll see that the vin santo gives the mushrooms a very special flavour, and the butter gives them a melt in the mouth texture.

Risotto

The best types of rice for making risotto are: Arborio, Carnaroli and Vialone nano. These have round grains and are starchy, becoming creamy when cooked.
cauliflower

Cauliflower with Tomato, Rosemary & Fennel Seeds

Even self-professed cauliflower haters will love this dish, if you can convince them to try it.

Stracotto ~ Tuscan “Overcooked” Beef

The vegetables in this slow cooked dish produce a velvety-textured sauce which goes perfectly with the tender meat.

Asparagus sauce for pasta

Asparagus is available for only a very short season. We love it and try to eat it in as many ways as possible before the long wait for the next harvest.

Spring vegetable pasta

This is a light pasta dressing made with the freshest Spring vegetables

Aubergine/eggplant parmigiana

This Italian restaurant classic is a little time-consuming (the grilled eggplant takes a while) but your guests will tell you that it is well worth all the effort.

Bell pepper soup

Manuela adapted a green pepper soup that she tasted in the famous Cibrèo in Florence, and came up with this smooth, full-flavoured delight.