Pasta and chickpea soup

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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

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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

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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

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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

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

Stracotto ~ Tuscan “Overcooked” Beef

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

Asparagus sauce for pasta

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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

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

Aubergine/eggplant parmigiana

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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

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