Toscana – Pisa & San Miniato

                

        

So my vacation is unfortunately over and tomorrow I’m going back to work. The last week in Italy had been absolutely fantastic, the weather and food has been amazing! Last Monday we flew together with my boyfriends family to Pisa, where we spent the day sightseeing and adjusting to the heat. Your body is experiencing quite a shock if you are used to 15 degrees and then hop in to a toasty 35-40 degrees and full sun. But I really can’t complain, it was really nice to have some heat. 

After our day in Pisa, the next destination was the wine yard where we were going to stay for four nights. The wineyard was in the middle of basically nowhere in between Pisa and Firenze in a small town called San Miniato. The wine yard was super cosy house with a few rooms and guest houses, pool and restaurant on top of a hill. The wine yard is family owned and they produce some nice redwines such as Chianti and Merlot, but also olive oil. 

There was a lot of smaller villages near by and we had dinner in the neighbour village the first night. The restaurant was called 4 Gigli and the restaurant itself was stunning, it had a view over the mountains. The food was mediocre but the view made up for it. 

   
     

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Slow cooked bolognese sauce

Hi there! Long time no see, I’ve been trying to read for my exams (emphasis on trying). Yesterday I cooked something that most people are familiar with, bolognese. A bolognese sauce means to most people minced meat and crushed canned tomatoes, which is fast and comforting (and cheap). But a real bolognese is slow cooked, includes bacon, vegetables and wine and most often small pieces of meat instead of minced meat.

So what you need:

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– 2 x 500g of crushed canned tomatoes
– 2 dl of water
– 2 small carrots
– 2 small onions (or 1 big)
– 2-3 cloves of garlic
– 1 large chili
– 1 vegetable stock cube
– 100g of bacon or pancetta
– 2 celery stalks (I forgot)
– 500-600g of beef, I used roast beef cut, I recommend to use a fattier cut
– pinch of sugar
– 2 bay leaves
– 1 tsp of dried oregano
– 1 tsp of dried thyme
– 1 tsp of smoked paprica
– 2 dl of red or white wine
– salt & pepper

Begin with chopping the onions, chili, celery and garlic into small pieces. Grate the carrot. Then slice the bacon or pancetta into thin strips, then the meat into small cubes. Heat up the skillet, add a nob of butter and olive oil and first fry the meat quickly so it gets some color (I did it in two batches as there was so much of it) and remove it from the pan.

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Then add the bacon and let it get a bit of color, then add all vegetables and turn down the heat. You don’t want the vegetables to get color, just soften them slightly, fry for about 3-4 minutes.

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When the vegetables are soft, add spices and vegetable stock cube, pour in the red wine, and let the alcohol cook away for 2 minutes. Then add the beef and all its juices and the tomatoes and water. Season with a pinch of sugar, salt and pepper. Let it come up to a simmer, then turn down the heat (it should not be boiling, gentle simmer) and put on a lid and let cook for 4-5 hours. Stirr every once in a while. If you’d like, you can cook it in a 120 degree oven aswell.

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After 4-5 hours, if the liquid has reduced too much, add a little water. Check seasoning and serve with pasta and grated parmiggiano cheese!

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Enjoy!

Il Gallo Nero

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A couple of weeks ago, we tried this small antipasti place called Il Gallo Nero on Ratasekaevu. It’s a small wine and delicacy shop, but they have a couple of tables where you can enjoy some Italian wines, cheeses and cured meat – absolutely to my liking. The owner is Italian, and he imports all the goods directly from Italy, and woah the meat and cheese platter was absolutely amazing, and it only cost 16€ for two persons! I warmly recommend this place, I’m going back there tomorrow because I’m totally addicted to the Mortadella from Bologna. You can buy some cured meats to take home aswell!