Recipes: Traditional Italian Cooking in Florence

After an interminable two weeks of peering out my window into the streets of Florence, I finally got a taste of what home will be like for the next couple months.

Just one day after the completion of my quarantine, I began a one week intensive course on Italian culture. This includes history, art and language, but for the purpose of this post, food! I’d love to share three traditional Italian recipes that I adored preparing and eating during class. These will definitely find their way into my American kitchen this summer.

Saltimbocca all Romana Veal and Prosciutto Skewers

If you’re looking for a traditional Roman appetizer, this will not disappoint!

Ingredients: 8 slices of veal, 8 slices of ham/prosciutto, 8 fresh sage leaves, 2 oz extra virgin olive oil, half a cup of white wine, 1 tablespoon of flour, salt and pepper

  1. Salt, pepper and flour the veal.
  2. Add a slice of prosciutto and a sage leaf on top of the veal. Using a wooden toothpick, poke down through the top of the meat and then back up, so that it is held together like a skewer.
  3. Heat the olive oil in a pan. Add the veal skewers and turn the stove up to high.
  4. Cook for a few minutes on each side so that they become golden.
  5. Pour the white wine into the pan. Once it has all evaporated, serve hot!
Skewers of veal, ready to add to the pan
Prepared dish, served with a side of sautéed artichokes cooked in minced garlic and EV olive oil

Zuppa di Orzo e Ceci con pesto di pomodori secchi Barley and chickpea soup with sundried tomatoes

Ingredients: 1 onion, 1 stalk celery, 1 carrot, 1 clove garlic, extra virgin olive oil, salt, ground pepper, rosemary, 1 sage leaf, 1.5 cup chickpeas, 1 cup barley, 1/2 cup sundried tomatoes

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, adding salt once it has reached a boil. Add in the chickpeas.
  2. Chop up the onion, carrots and celery. Add to the pot and cook for 15 minutes on medium heat.
  3. Chop up equal amounts of rosemary and sage. Chop up one clove of garlic. Add to the pot and cook for an additional 5 minutes.
  4. With an immersion (handheld) blender, blend the chickpea mixture. Add more water or broth (from the soaked chickpeas) as needed.
  5. Bring to a boil. After a few minutes, add in the barley.
  6. Continue to cook for another 10 minutes until smooth.
  7. Serve in a bowl topped with sundried tomatoes. Sprinkle with olive oil and ground pepper.
The finished product, topped with sun-dried tomatoes

Tenerina di Cioccolato Soft Chocolate Cake

Ingredients: 1 cup dark chocolate, 2 eggs, 1/2 cup flour flour, 1/4 cup sugar, 1 stick butter, powder sugar for topping decoration

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Melt the chocolate in a pan over medium heat, adding in the butter little by little. Mix well until smooth.
  3. Take the chocolate and butter mixture off the stove and put into a large bowl. Let cool until room temperature.
  4. Separate the egg whites with the yolks into 2 separate bowls.
  5. Whisk the yokes with half of the sugar.
  6. Whisk the egg whites with the other half of the sugar, whisking until it is a fluffy consistency.
  7. Add in the whisked egg yolks into the large bowl with the chocolate mixture. Then begin to slowly add in the sifted flour followed by the egg white mixture. Stir from bottom to top.
  8. Pour the dough into a greased cake pan. Cook in the oven for 25-30 minutes.
  9. Once cooled, decorate with powdered sugar.

This cake has a soft consistency, and pairs well with a sweet fruit juice. For extra flavor, pour a mixture of pure orange juice and pulp, passionfruit and dried fig on top of the cake. Trust me, this makes it ten times more flavorful!

Fresh out of the oven cake, topped with powdered sugar
Topped with fresh orange, passionfruit and fig juice

These traditional Italian recipes include foods that I previously didn’t have the pleasure of enjoying in the US, and I’m thrilled to see how my palette expands during my visit in Florence. After tasting real Italian cuisine, I don’t think I can ever go back to Olive Garden… sorry, Mom and Dad, I’ll home-cook instead. 🙂

Yours Truly,

Cat Taylor

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