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"To read a book about a country's cuisine isn't simply to go looking for 'good things'; it is also to better know - by means of the recipes - the customs and the richness or poverty of a place, and the spirit of those who inhabit it. It is above all, to participate in the symbolic celebration of the shared repast."

~ Ginette Olivesi-Lorenzi, La Cuisine Mentonnaise



Savoring Tuscany : Recipes and Reflections on Tuscan Cooking

Savoring Tuscany : Recipes and Reflections on Tuscan Cooking (The Savoring Series)
by Lori De Mori

Part of the Savoring Series, which is one of my favorite series of books about Regional Cuisine, Savoring Tuscany is a beautiful book filled with sumptuous recipes and delectable writing about the cuisine and culture of Tuscany. As with all the books in the series, Savoring Tuscany is put together beautifully and all of the recipes are well written and presented. The recipes that we tested were all superb and the book is an excellent source for fans of Tuscan cuisine.


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Recipe - Tuscan Bean Soup
by Wen Zientek-Sico

A favorite dinner with thick crusty bread and a light salad - especially one made of ripe tomatoes and fresh mozzarella - this soup makes for a marvelous main course. Cooked dried beans can be used instead of the canned beans, and canned low sodium broth can be used in place of the stock. This soup is also excellent without the pancetta and made with vegetable stock for vegetarian diners.

George Rodger - Venice, Italy
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Tuscan Bean Soup

3 tablespoons olive oil
5 ounces diced pancetta
1 cup minced onion
1 cup chopped carrots
1 cup chopped celery
Salt
Pepper
4 minced garlic cloves
2 tablespoons minced fresh sage (or 2 teaspoons dried)
10 cups chicken or beef stock
2 cups small soup pasta
4 20 ounce cans drained Tuscan Cannellini beans
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup minced fresh parsley


Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium high heat. Add the pancetta and saute for 3 minutes. Add the onion, carrot, celery, salt, and pepper and cook for five minutes. Add the garlic and sage and saute for two minutes more. Add the stock and bring to a boil. Cook for 30 minutes. Add the pasta and beans and cook for 10-15 minutes or until al dente. Mix in the cheese and parsley before serving with additional cheese and bread.

Makes 10 servings.

Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes