Being a foodie that loves her Italian cuisine, I have known about the concept of Cucina Povera for some time. You may also remember that the concept of Cucina Povera inspired me to make Italian recipes like this Chard and White Bean dish and Tuscan White Bean Soup.
Cucina Povera is described as ‘cooking of the poor’ or peasant cooking. The concept of using up all ingredients, with nothing going to waste and using simple ingredients to prepare food comes from a time in Italy when things were unbearable, because food was scarce.
The thing is, these time-honored recipes and tradtions are actually quite delicious in their simplicity and many of the best dishes have stood the test of time and are still made, enjoyed and appreciated today.
And that is exactly what Pamela Sheldon Johns’s new cookbook is about!
Tuscan recipes like Ribollita, Panzanella, Involtini di Maiale, Pollo Arrosto al Vin Santo, Torta di Ricotta, and Gnudi, are all part of the collection of soups, salads, main dishes, pastas, sides and of course desserts, that are included in this Italian cookbook.
I was lucky enough to score a complimentary review copy, chock full of authentic Italian recipes, and I am thrilled with it for several reasons. I adore the fact that Pamela has spent time with some of the people who were gracious enough to share not only recipes for the book, but stories about a painful time in Tuscany and how some of the Tuscan recipes came to be. This mingles alongside photos of locals and includes both a resource guide for obtaining imported artisinal ingredients and helpful conversion charts.
This not only makes for interesting reading, but it also connects you to the food, recipes and the people, which adds a richness and deeper understanding of the Cucina Povera concept. Plus, the rustic Tuscan recipe pictures are totally swoonworthy!
I know that I’ll enjoy making many of the recipes in the next few months, weeks and hopefully years to come. And now you have the opportunity to do the same! Pamela has been gracious enough to provide the recipe for Insalata di Farro (pictured above) from the Cucina Povera cookbook.
Insalata di Farro
—From Cucina Povera by Pamela Sheldon Johns/Andrews McMeel Publishing
Farro is an ancient strain of wheat with a high protein content and a nutty flavor. It can be found in natural foods and gourmet foods stores whole, cracked, or ground into flour. This dish can be served warm as a winter side dish, or chilled for a summer salad.
2 cups whole-grain farro
3 tablespoons plus 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
4 green onions, including 1 inch of green parts, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 zucchini, diced
1 red bell pepper, seeded, deveined, and diced
2 cups chicken stock (page 173), heated
1 cup canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
4 ounces spicy salame, diced
Grated zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Romaine lettuce leaves for serving
Soak the farro in water to cover for at least 1 hour or overnight.
In a large, heavy saucepan, heat the 3 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the green onions, garlic, zucchini, and bell pepper and sauté until softened, about 2 minutes. Add the stock and bring to a boil. Drain the farro and add to the pan, cover, and decrease the heat to a simmer. Cook for 30 to 40 minutes, or until the farro is tender and the stock has been absorbed. Stir in the chickpeas and salame. Cover and set aside to keep warm.
In a small bowl, whisk the lemon zest, lemon juice, and the remaining 1/4 cup olive oil together. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Fluff the farro with a fork. Stir in the dressing. Serve warm or chilled, on lettuce leaves.
And as if that wasn’t enough, Pamela is also giving away a copy of the cookbook to one lucky reader!
HOW TO ENTER TO WIN A COPY OF CUCINA POVERA:
Leave a comment below telling me your favorite Italian recipe to make at home.
But wait – there’s more! You also have the opportunity for up to FOUR additional bonus entires. For each bonus entry, you must leave a separate comment for each entry to count.
1. Subscribe to the Melange Travel Newsletter
2. Follow @MyMelange on TWITTER
3. RT this message on Twitter : I just entered to win a copy of Cucina Povera from @MyMelange – you can too! Enter here http://bit.ly/otXl5Y
4. Like MyMelange on FACEBOOK
That’s a total of FIVE chances to win!
EDIT : CONTEST IS CLOSED! Congrats to Annika Blyckertz who won the cookbook!
THE FINE PRINT: Contest extended until Sunday, October 2nd at midnight EST. Contest is open until Friday, September 30th at midnight EST. One random winner will be drawn using the Random Number Generator. Winner has 48 hours to get in touch after being contacted, otherwise a new winner will be drawn.