During your stay in Podere di Santa Maria, situated in Chiusdino, near the Abbey of San Galgano, in the district of Siena, in Tuscany, you can taste soups and country flavours in the tradition of Mersey Valley.
The minestraccia is a typical recipe in the Valley of Merse. It’s one of the many humble and peasant recipes that are part of Tuscany tradition. It is prepared with beans, the main ingredient, and various herbs such as garlic and sage, and must be cooked for a long time on low heat. Over the years the minestraccia has been enriched with other ingredients, and today we also use onion, celery, rosemary and tomato paste. Thanks to the long cooking the beans will melt to form a thick cream then added to the pasta or soup. The minestraccia is served hot with a sprinkling of pepper.
The Acquacotta is a typical recipe of the Tuscan Maremma. It’s a vegetable soup, with plenty of broth, the ingredients can be different depending on the season, but the basic recipe includes a few vegetables such as onions, carrots, celery, the name acquacotta sums up the meaning of a poor soup made mainly of water. Acquacotta in fact remains fairly liquid and is served in bowls with slices of toasted bread and an egg. Depending on the areas of Tuscany we can have different variations with the addition of cheese, pepper, beets, beans.
Zuppa di pane
The bread soup is a dish made with stale Tuscan bread and vegetables, traditional of Tuscany, especially in Florence area. Vegetables can be different depending on the availability, more often we find the cabbage, potatoes, tomatoes, beans, celery, carrots and onions. In some variations the soup is enriched with pork rind or smoked ham. Once the vegetable soup is ready, they create layers of stale bread and vegetables. The use of stale Tuscan bread is important because it remains firm even when wet by the broth. The soup is allowed to rest and served lukewarm. Very close to this recipe there’s the Ribollita, another common soup in Tuscany with vegetables, prepared with a longer and more difficult process.
Cappellette grigliate alla Nepitella
The grilled cappellette of Nepitella are fresh mushrooms, and the only part that is used is the top. They prepare chopped parsley, catmint, garlic, oil, salt and pepper. The mushrooms are soaked in this sauce while they cook on the grill or in a pan over high heat and are turned over several times. The original recipe calls for a generous dose of pepper. Tuscany and especially the Maremma are rich in mushrooms of all kinds, abundant from September to November due to the woods and the thick vegetation. The nepitella is a wild herb, also called mentuccia for the aroma similar to that of mint, it is perfect in recipes with meat and mushrooms and enhances the flavor. It is also known as herb of the mushrooms.