Bring Tuscany Home
A simple late-summer supper with friends makes the most of Italian flavors
Italy’s charms―its people, its art, and especially its food―tend to cast a spell on visitors, and San Franciscans Donald Frediani and Renata Gasperi are no exception. They’ve been captivated by this seductive land, which they’ve visited 14 times in the past 25 years. They go to spend time with family and tend a small inherited house, but most of all for the cuisine of their Italian heritage.
Frediani, the cook of the pair, records each meal in his travel diary. Back in California, he recreates dishes for enthusiastic guests. This Tuscan menu draws inspiration from a meal Frediani and Gasperi had at La Grotta in Montepulciano. It shows off fresh ingredients naturally and simply.
This summer supper for 6 to 8 comes together easily―each course can be made ahead (see “Tuscan Summer Supper Plan,” below) or finished while guests relax around the table. Offer breadsticks wrapped with thinly sliced prosciutto as an hors d’oeuvre, then unmold zucchini timbales and grill a big steak, rare and juicy, the way the Tuscans like it. Harvest vegetables, roasted until sweet, go alongside. The meal comes to a leisurely close with wedges of custard-filled torta or purchased almond biscotti served with vin santo, a sweet golden dessert wine, or espresso. From start to finish, this simple menu brings the enchanting flavors of the Tuscan countryside into your own home: Mangia bene!