This time of year, we try to take the time to enjoy a simple meal, share it with our friends and family, pick the ingredients from the vegetable garden or go foraging during a Sunday walk.
The temperatures have dropped, and we are ready to crawl inside to prepare the perfect Italian autumn meals. Everyone talks about porcini mushrooms and truffles, but what we love most are the simple seasonal ingredients that you can only eat this time of year, like warm chestnuts, bright orange pumpkins and squash, cabbages, white beans, polenta and slow cooked stews. There’s nothing like a hearty, homemade meal on a cool autumn day.
One of the best autumn ingredients is chestnut. Use the typical chestnut flower to make a simple and delicious “Castagnaccio” or fresh chestnut pasta with butter and sage sauce.
Risotto is the king of all seasons, but this time of year we love to make pumpkin risotto, on which you can add just a little bit of sausage if you feel like being a bit naughty! Mantua ravioli filled with pumpkin and amaretti have a piece of our heart when looking for a special festive recipe.
Tuscan-Style white beans with sausage, “Fagioli all’uccelletto” are a must and easy to make. Another great idea for an autumn dinner is “Zuppa di Fagioli”, white bean soup, with just a sprinkle of our new extra virgin olive oil, “Sesta Ora”.
Traditionally considered “not so sexy”, this typical autumn ingredient has infinite possibilities in the kitchen. Cavolo nero (italian’s verison of kale) can be easily cooked in the pan and eaten on a bruschetta with garlic and fresh olive oil. Cauliflower is the healthiest of autumn ingredients, simply cooked in a soup or as a pasta sauce with the, not so healthy, help of some “guanciale” (bacon) make up for a wonderful dish.
…. with Bolognese ragù or wild boar stew will worm anybody’s heart but if you prefer avoiding meat just melt some fresh gorgonzola in your warm polenta and voilà: the simplest and best autumn recipe!
… and as F. Scott Fitzgerald would say: “Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall”.