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Tomato Passata sauce, part 1

Tomato Passata sauce, part 2

If it works don’t change it !

Etruscan soup


Thursday afternoon I was in  total panic, but let me start from the beginning . Some time ago I had been contacted to do a cooking class for a group of American students. The idea was to  cook some  local old recipes linked to the region . Great I thought and thanks.

Unfortunately the day before the lesson,  I discovered that the  group in question  were not just students, but twenty eight professional chefs !! Don’t panic !!!
 Orvieto , the location where the course was to take place is a beautiful  medieval town. Set on a  volcanic outcrop  of rock, it’s impressive profile dominates the miles of vines that lie beneath it.  Obviously , Orvieto is famous for its Classico wine. I’d probably need a glass just  to calm my nerves.

 The course leaders had asked me to prepare something quick that the chef’s would find interesting.  Plus , to talk about some local history and  products , in particular  the growing of lentils and beans that have been connected to the area since  Etruscan times.

O Mamma  Mia ! Know not only was I  terrified about what to cook ,but I’d have to start brushing up on my local history and more importantly , make sure I had plenty of time to practice my professional lecturers face in the mirror.

 So , when Nick arrived home on Thursday evening he found me sitting at the kitchen table, head in hands, surround by historical pamphlets and recipes ( plus mirror).

One of the recipes  I thought I could prepare has its roots in  ancient Etruscan cooking .  Even now local people still cook  this tasty dish ( if it works don’t change it) . One of the main ingredients of the recipe is chestnuts.  500 grams , roasted on an open fire and then cleaned . A big job , but I knew just the man to do it…. Luckily , Nick was already sitting by the fire place with a glass of red wine.  I mentioned that perhaps a few roasted chestnuts would go well with his wine and when he agreed , dropped the sack in his lap. Done !!

 The day after , my lesson was a success, the soup was fantastic, the students  loved our freshly crushed Extra virgin olive oil I took for them to taste. Plus , I didn’t forget to mention a bit of my own local history , Lui the dog , Hilda the goat , the vegetable garden and of course my hard working husband .

 In short I was very  happy about it all  , especially the fact that I even had enough roasted chestnuts left over to make a little pasta dish. I’ll show you that next time  ,but for now I’ll leave you with the Etruscan soup recipe.

 So ,light the fire and set the table . You don’t have to be livening in the dark ages to enjoy eating this dish.

Serve 8:

500 grams cooked chickpeas,1L water from cooked chickpeas.
500 grams of cooked chestnuts on the fire place or boiled
500 ml tomato sauce or chopped fresh tomatoes
three small cloves of garlic
A hand full of chopped parsley, Evo oil

How it works: In a pot cook in Evo oil chopped garlic and parsley for 1 minutes or so. Add roughly crashed chestnuts and stir for few minutes. Add chickpeas, chickpeas water and tomatoes sauce. Cook for 50 minutes. Serve with a drop of Evo oil and parmesan cheese.

5 comments to If it works don’t change it !

  • Kristin Steiner

    Oh Simona! I can just see you in the midst of all those chefs, captivating them with your REALness and your love of Umbrian food. They are so lucky to have shared a meal with you….and you NEVER need to worry about your ‘lectures face’. Love you…Kristi

  • Lorna

    This looks completely delicious, a must try for later in the week, probably going to use frozen chesnuts, do you think they will be ok?

  • @Lorna Yes go ahead …… the Etruscan they will never found out !xxxx
    @Kristin Grazie, grazie grazie you are very sweet.


    lovely story,looks a lovely quick different soup.I`m heading for Sainsburys for the chestnuts

  • @ Jakie Let me know how it goes. Ciao

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