Honest Food Tales – Serena Puosi – CROSTINI TOSCANI – PAPPA AL POMODORO

Discover Tuscany through food

I love travel and three free days in a row mean a short escape from reality. I like to get in touch with cultures that are completely different from my own, meet local people and try new foods. Experimenting is part of the journey and I have no resistance when it comes to street food!

But despite my passion for travel, there’s a place I love more than any other in the world. I’m talking about my Tuscany, where I was born and where I have always lived. And a good way to discover Tuscany is… through food! Even though I know my region very well, there is always something new to be discovered. So in this post I want to bring you with me to taste Tuscan specialties! Enjoy!

Full moon Massarosa

Full moon Lucca province

The traditional starter of a Tuscan meal is Crostini Toscani, that is bread, similar to a baguette spread with chopped chicken liver sauce. For a really tasty starter you can also fry the bread.

Serves 4
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  1. 350 g of chicken liver
  2. 1 onion
  3. 1 tablespoon of capers
  4. lemon zest
  5. 1 glass of red wine
  6. extra virgin olive oil
  7. salt and pepper
  1. Clean and chop the chicken liver removing any tiny fat, green specks of bile and blood
  2. cut onions into slices and gently fry with capers
  3. add the chopped chicken liver and leave to cook for approximately 5/10 minutes
  4. add the lemon zest and a glass of red wine, letting it evaporate
  5. chop everything as finely as possible; spread the mixture on toasted bread and enjoy!
A Cook Not Mad http://www.acooknotmad.com/
Crostini Toscani

Crostini Toscani

As you maybe know, in Tuscany we eat unsalted bread and we have many recipes to use up stale leftovers. One of these, and the most famous, is certainly the pappa al pomodoro recipe. Simple, but excellent ingredients make it.

Serves 6
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  1. 500 g of old Tuscan bread
  2. extra virgin olive oil
  3. 4 garlic cloves peeled and crushed
  4. 1 kg of ripe tomatoes skinned and cut into chunks
  5. 1 small dried red chilli
  6. 12 large basil leaves torn.
  1. Slice the bread and cut into slices
  2. Heat the olive oil in a saucepan large enough to contain all the ingredients
  3. add the garlic and when it begins to sizzle add the chili, after a couple of minutes the tomatoes, season with salt and pepper
  4. Cook for 15 minutes and when the tomatoes have melted into a sauce add the bread and stir
  5. Lower the heat; simmer until the consistency is that of a thick stew
  6. Check the seasoning and add the basil leaves before finishing your preparation
  7. When you serve the pappa al pomodoro, add fresh basil leaves and extra virgin olive oil.
A Cook Not Mad http://www.acooknotmad.com/
Tuscan sunset

Tuscan sunset

Now it’s time for some meat. The first food that comes to mind is the bistecca alla fiorentina or simply fiorentina. The Florentine T-bone steak needs no introduction: its secret lies in choosing very good meat, the right cut and the right length of cooking time. Please never ask for a “fiorentina ben cotta” (well done). The fiorentina steak must be well browned outside and rare inside. Serve with a sprinkling of freshly ground black pepper and extra virgin olive oil.

Bistecca alla Fiorentina

Bistecca alla Fiorentina

Finally I propose a typical cake of my village, Massarosa. This is a chocolate cake prepared during Easter period. In other cities it is known as “torta co’ bischeri”. It is quite difficoult to be prepared at home, but not impossible and the result is delicious. Just imagine a soft cream made with white rice, dark chocolate, pine nuts, candied fruit, raisins and spices in a shortcrust pastry pie. Should I add something else? ☺ Here is the complete recipe on Tuscanycious: http://www.turismo.intoscana.it/allthingstuscany/tuscanycious/torta-co-bischeri-recipe/

Typical street in Massarosa

Typical street in Massarosa

Bio: Serena Puosi is a blogger and community manager at Around Tuscany (official travel blog of TuscanyTourism Board) and on Mercoledì tutta la settimana (Italian travel blog). She lives in Tuscany and she loves to travel the world and write about it.

Photos by Nat @ A Cook Not Mad



  1. says

    Pappa al pomodoro would have been my choice considering my vegetarian diet now turning into vegan. Shame you didn’t get to try the “Ribollita” is another famous Tuscany specialty, a delicious soup suitable for people like me too. Next time Serena! 😉
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  2. says

    Love reading about anything Italy! I’m a Rome freak, having lived there for 2 years when I was 25, but I always love reading about smaller towns to visit, especially if they are known for cake!

  3. says

    Thank you very much for the appreciation!
    I love Tuscany but, as I read, I’m not the only one! 😉
    See you here in my Region!

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