Welcome to CiboChat!

CiboChat is the Food and Culture blog of FUA Florence University of the Arts. This blog project reflects our aim to share the cultural and especially gastronomic experiences of our students, faculty, staff, and Florentine locals. Check out our Florentine Food Guide for how to dine like a local!

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Blog

Gnocchi al Pesto


We bring you today a dish that unites two ingredients from the Italian tradition: Gnocchi and Pesto. Potato gnocchi can be found all over Italy and pesto is a sauce typically found in the region of Liguria. The two come together wonderfully, creating a dish that is simple and fresh, perfect for these last warm summer days.

Ingredients:
For the gnocchi:
1.5kg medium floury potatoes
1 large free-range egg
280g plain flour, plus extra for dusting


For the pesto:
1 large bunch fresh basil
3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1 tbsp pine nuts, plus a few extra to serve
5 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
50g finely grated parmesan , plus extra to serve


Method:
For the gnocchi, cook the potatoes in a large pot of boiling salted water for about 40 minutes until soft. Drain and let them cool down, subsequently mash them in a large bowl, add to the egg and flour with a pinch of salt. Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface for 2 minutes, adding more flour if needed. Divide the dough into 6 equal pieces, roll into cylinders roughly 2cm in diameter, then cut each one into equal pieces about 2cm long. For the pesto, put most of the basil, the garlic, pine nuts and olive oil in a mini food processor and blend until it becomes a smooth sauce. Add the grated cheese and mix well. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Working in batches, drop the gnocchi into the boiling water and cook for a few minutes. They’re ready when they float to the surface. Lift them out with a slotted spoon into a large bowl while you boil the rest of the gnocchi, then mix with the pesto and serve with extra parmesan, a few pine nuts and the reserved basil leaves on top.

Pantesca Salad

This light and fresh salad is quick to prepare and will leave you feeling satisfied and refreshed.With all of these ingredients being easy to find in local supermarkets, this meal could be on your

table within hours.

Ingredients –
For Garlic Parsley Water
10 garlic cloves
80g parsley leaves
20g mint leaves
750ml cold sparkling water
2g salt
Agar agar 2% (1.7g on the total 850g)

  1. Peel the garlic cloves, cut them in half and
    remove the sprout (if there is one).
  2. Blanch them 3 times, each time in clean
    water.
  3. Blanch the parsley in boiling water for 10
    seconds. Drain it and then pay it dry.
  4. Put the parsley, garlic, salt and agar agar
    with the sparking water and blend for 1
    minute.
  5. Strain it.

For Salad
Caserecce pasta (pre-cooked)
Garlic parsley water
Fresh San Mariano Tomatoes (diced)
Sun dried tomatoes (rehydrated and
julienne)
Anchovies in Olive Oil (chopped)
Olives (pitted)
Capers
Toasted Almonds

  1. Bring it to the boil and let it simmer for 1
    minute, then strain it again.
  2. Mix the tomato, sundried tomato,
    anchovies, olives and capers
  3. Dress with salt and olive oil
  4. Add the pasta and garlic parsley water and
    mix
  5. Let it sit for 1 minute
  6. Top with toasted almonds

Roasted Beef Carpaccio

By Bridget Bowers

This roasted beef carpaccio is the perfect Italian blend of texture and rich flavours that is ideal if you’re looking for the ultimate summer Italian dish to impress your guests. With a combination of flash frying and pureeing, this dish allows for precision and excellence, upgrading your culinary skills and adapting the art of presentation in your own creative style. Perfect for a dinner party or Venice-inspired lunch.

Ingredients:
500g Beef Eye of Round
50g Carrots
50g Zucchini
50g Tropea Onions
1 Celery Stock
1 Bellpeppers
1Tbsp Sugar
1Tbsp Glucose
1Tbsp Pectine Jaune
1Tbsp Red Wine Vinegar
1Tbsp Chilli Pepper
1Tbsp Garlic Powder
1Tbsp Ginger Powder
1Tbsp Smoked Paprika Powder
1Tbsp Rosemary
Salt to taste
Black Pepper to taste
3Tbsp Olive Oil

Method:
Start with the meat, trim the silver skin out of the eye of round and tie it with a string. Salt the beef very gently and add a pinch of garlic powder, ginger powder, smoked paprika powder and black pepper. Massage the meat, rubbing the spices into the beef. Place the beef into a sous vide bag with a branch of rosemary sprigs and an ounce of olive oil and add into a slow cooker at 57C for 5-6 hours. Once ready, take it out to cool immediately.
10 minutes before the beef is finished cooking, place the bell peppers in a slow juicer. Next, combine the bell pepper juice, the sugar, pectine and chilli and mix thoroughly. Then add the combination into a pan and let simmer until it reduces by half. Subsequently, add the vinegar and let it cook for five more minutes and let it sit until cool. For the vegetables, cut the carrots, zucchini, celery and tropea onions into batons and steam at 100C for 3 minutes. Allow to cool immediately and salt to taste. Before serving the beef, flash fry the top of the meat on medium to low heat until it’s nicely caramelised. Once the bell pepper juice is finished, puree with a blender and salt to taste. Lastly, strain the puree before serving.

Steamed Veal Fillet With Romaine Lettuce Dressing, Light Pecorino Fondue

By Charlotte Witts

 Many people seem to have a fixed idea of what fondue is: a shared meal consisting of small chunks of bread and a pot full of melted cheese. However, fondue is extremely versatile and can be accompanied by many types of meat, including beef, chicken or ham. Though it can be argued that the best company for fondue is veal due to its rich flavour and tender texture. Not only is veal a nutritional powerhouse with its high amounts of protein and iron, but its low percentage of fat makes it a great way to cut calories. With this meal, we’ll show you how easy it is to eat delicious food without sacrifice.   

Ingredients

For the veal- 
1.5kg veal fillet, trimmed
Thyme as needed, finely chopped
Garlic, Salt and pepper to taste.

For the romaine dressing-
100g romaine lettuce leaves (green external leaves), coarsely chopped
20g chives
20g mint leaves
10g tarragon leaves
5g basil leaves 
50g buttermilk
30g parmigiano reggiano, grated
10g anchovy fillets
10g capers
50g extra virgin oil
60g basmati rice

For the fondue-
100ml milk
60g fresh pecorino, grated

Method

Start by seasoning the fillet with salt and pepper, and rub with thyme and garlic. Then, roll the fillet into a plastic film and cook in a steam oven with a probe. Cook at 90°C until it reaches 42°C internal temperature. After, remove this from the oven and allow it to rest for 15 minutes.

For the romaine dressing, boil the basmati rice in 150g water and set aside. Separate the crunchy internal leaves of the romaine lettuce. Blanch the green and immediately cool in iced water. Squeeze the excess water.Then, combine the cooked greens with buttermilk, parmigiano reggiano, anchovy fillets and capers. Blend this with extra virgin olive oil. In case the sauce is too thin, blend together 70g of boiled basmati rice or thicken with xanthan gum. Season to taste with lemon juice and salt if necessary.

For the fondue, heat the milk to a simmer and pour in the pecorino. Blend and strain. Allow this to cool at room temperature and add salt if necessary. Slice the fillet and lay on the serving plate. Dress with Maldon sea salt. Decorate the dish with the lettuce heart leaves and the seasonal vegetables. Dress with the cold romaine dressing, some drops of pecorino fondue, pepper, thyme leaves and a few drops of EVOO to finish. Serve up and enjoy!

Simple Gazpacho Recipe

Have you ever heard about cold vegetable soup? Gazpacho is what you are looking for! Gazpacho is a spicy soup that is usually made from chopped raw vegetables (such as tomato, onion, pepper, and cucumber) and that is served cold. This traditional Spanish soup is full of vitamins, perfectly refreshing, and replenishes the missing minerals and vitamins during hot summer days. Gazpacho will surprise you with not only its full vegetable taste, but also with low-calorie nutrients, rich in fiber that will keep your hunger at bay. Just stop by the nearest local food market and you can enjoy the soup in a truly brief time.

Ingredients:

1 kg florentino tomato 1 feta
2 red bell peppers 1 avocado
1 celery stalk a handful of spring onion 50 gr strawberries fresh basil
10 basil leaves cucumber dices
2 garlic cloves chili peppers
50 gr tropea onion olive oil
250 gr cucumbers (skin and seeds off)
Salt to taste

Method:

Juice celery, basil, red bell peppers, garlic and tropea onion first. Combine the juice with chopped tomatoes, cucumber, strawberries, and mix everything together in the food processor or in the blender. Keep it cold in the fridge. If you don’t want to buy so many ingredients for the garnish, you can complete your gazpacho with just a few suggestions for decorations or just choose which vegetables you like best. As a basic standard, we recommend using fresh basil, feta, and olive oil.