When a person thinks about Italian cooking, they typically think about things like spaghetti and meatballs. However, there can be more to this genre than the same old dishes, such as the regional style of Tuscan cooking. Tuscan cooking get's its name from the Tuscany region of Italy where it originated. Tuscan cooking is just as easy to accomplish as any other kind of Italian cooking, as long as you know what to do. Here are a few guidelines that you can keep in mind in order to add a true Tuscan flair for your next Italian night.
- Taste. The closest thing that Americans have to Tuscan cooking could be considered the "comfort foods" that are a longstanding favorites. Typically, Tuscan cooking is designed to evoke a feeling of home and hearth, warmth and family, and as such there is usually an earthy feel to the taste of the recipes.
- Breads. One of the most widely recognized types of appetizers used at Italian restaurants comes from the Tuscany region. That appetizer is the bruschette bread and dipping oil that you can find at restaurants such as The Macaroni Grill. Bruschette is typically a type of bread that is grilled and rubbed with olive oil and garlic, with an infused olive oil for dipping.
- Soups. Keep in mind that Tuscan cooking is the Italian equivalent of comfort food. As such, it includes a lot of soups that are a common element in many Tuscan meals. One example of the type of soups associated with Tuscan cooking is the Ribollita which has cabbage, day old bread, and cannellini (Tuscan white beans) slowly boiled and cooked.
- Main courses. The main courses found in Tuscan cooking are typically simple recipes that are fairly easy to make. One example of this is called Pici, which is made with a thick spaghetti-like noodle (roughly twice the diameter of a regular spaghetti noodle) and light marinara and garlic sauce. One could say that this is almost a simpler and heartier version of spaghetti. Another common element of Tuscan cooking is meats like steak and sausages, which are a common ingredient in many recipes.
- Desserts. Desserts are typically very rich, and yet simple, items. A common dessert is something called panforte, which translates to "strong bread." This cakelike dessert is flavored with almonds, cloves, cinnamon, ginger and candied fruits though there are some variations depending on the recipe.