Our Trip to Italy: Cooking in Florence

One thing I love more than eating Italian food is cooking Italian food. The first night we were in Italy, and the night after our bike tour, we had Laura (a personal chef and sommelier) come to the house to make us dinner. She was incredible, was so obliging with all of my questions, and the food she prepared was incredible! She was even kind enough to share with us some of her recipes, and I cannot wait to cook up some of her delicious food to bring a bit of Tuscany back home.

Night One

Peas’ bavarian with cherry tomato coulis
Gnocchi with rocket pesto
Chicken at the hunting way + salad
Mousse of saffron and ricotta cheese with honey

Laura came in like a whirlwind while we were hanging out in the hot tub, and by the time I came inside, I saw all of her preparation in the kitchen. She came with just about everything half or completely prepared. It was incredible. The Peas Bavarian was an incredible mousse of peas and the tomato coulis was so subtle and incredibly delicious. The Gnocchi were unparalleled by those I have tasted before. So small and the rocket pesto was so much lighter than the traditional pesto. Absolutely incredible. The chicken was well cooked and fell right off the bone. I loved the chick peas and olives in the sauce. And the Saffron creme was light yet incredibly indulgent.

It was an awesome way to kick off our time in Florence.

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Night Two

Spinach and ricotta gnudi
Sausage and stracchino crostoni
Pork tenderloin wrapped in lardo with beans

For our second meal, we asked Laura if we could cook with her a little. She was so obliging and we agreed upon the above “traditional Tuscan” menu. Having just biked all day, we were exhausted, but I was able to “help” by sitting at the bar, watching, and asking questions. Gnudi are a traditional Tuscan dish, essentially ravioli without any pasta. While these are ricotta and spinach, they are remarkably light. The Crostoni are also a traditional appetizer, and I had never put anything on a piece of bread with raw meat and fresh cheese. Unsurprisingly (given the rest of the food Laura had prepared) it was amazing. Stracchino is an interesting cheese, very creamy and light, kind of like cream cheese but much thinner, or ricotta without the curds. Very delicious.

The pork was a huge surprise. The peppercorns were out of this world, and it was so delicious. I cannot wait to make this recipe at home, it was a huge hit with the whole crowd.

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Her Tiramisu was otherworldly. Light but so delicious.

Thank you, Laura, for some amazing food. If you are in the area and looking for a chef, call Laura. She is incredible.

Check out our other adventures in Italy – Sightseeing in Florence, Day trips around Florence, Eating in Florence