Italian Cooking & Language Blog

Fare La Scarpetta means to wipe your plate clean with a piece of bread.

What else could you ask for?

Monday, May 24, 2010

Osteria I'Tozzo di Pane's Recipes

I have many wonderful memories of eating at wooden tables in Osteria I’ Tozzo di Pane’s garden in Florence, Italy. My favorite entrée salad to have on a summer day was the Toscana: lettuce, fresh tomatoes, white beans, sliced wild boar salami and onion dressed with extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. It was the first place I tried pecorino (sheep milk’s cheese) with sunflower honey. I think of their Tuscan approach to cooking – simple and fresh ingredients that highlight each other’s flavors – while cooking in my own kitchen.

Looking for a special recipe to prepare for my husband returning from a business trip, I discovered the restaurant’s online recipes. I chose the risotto with clams, asparagus, leeks and saffron. I knew it would be a proper “welcome home.”

The recipe requires a little creativity since they don't offer all of their secrets: there are no specifc measurements. Saffron can be expensive, but you only need a pinch.  Serving grated cheese on fish dishes is never allowed in Italy; we did sprinkle a few red hot pepper flakes on top.

With a glass of white wine, we ate slowly and enjoyed the dish. I don’t remember tasting this particular risotto at the restaurant, but the flavors brought back the country that I still call home.

The recipes on the website are written in Italian. This is a perfect opportunity to practice your language skills without paying for a plane ticket. When you do find yourself traveling to Florence, you can salutare the owners who are always there, Andrea and Antonio.

The name of their restaurant means, “crust of bread,” which is not to be missed dipped in their dark green olive oil. Be sure to serve some on the side in your own home.

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