It’s no secret that Tuscan food is delicious. It’s also world-famous for being one of the few cuisines that is also good for you. But did you know that traditional Tuscan recipes can also produce miracles?
For this week, Artviva is proud to announce that a gastronomic miracle did occur ? an entire, large family of people of all different ages and fussiness levels ate -and thoroughly enjoyed- Brussels sprouts!
The secret recipe was shared, whispered in a small Tuscan kitchen back dropped by those stunning Tuscan hillsides that adorn photographs, paintings, postcards and dreams.
And as with all Tuscan recipes, it’s simple. Yes, simple, healthy, and delicious.
Take fresh Brussels sprouts. If they need to have the hard bases trimmed off, do that. Then simply boil your Brussels sprouts in salted water. Around 7 minutes should do it. Then drain them well. Line a deep baking tray with the cooked Brussels sprouts. Cover them with béchamel sauce (see recipe below) and bake for around 20 minutes. Don’t cover with cheese as the cheese will burn in the oven.
Serve as a side to simple grilled or roasted meat.
When making this delicious Tuscan vegetable recipe, we decided to try out the cauliflower version as well. The results were just as fantastic.
Below is the Tessa Kiros recipe for Béchamel sauce so you can try it for yourself. This is one of the many recipes we have tried from her Twelve: a Tuscan cook book title, each and every one of which has been fantastic. (We’re also whole-heartedly and definitely whole-tummy-edly working our way through several other Tessa Kiros titles too ? as you’d note by our other food-focused posts.)
The secret to making a good béchamel is not let yourself be distracted. You need to set aside time to focus on the task. Have your ingredients measured out before you start. And try to use it almost immediately after you have made it. If you’re using it in lasagne, you can even take out some of the hassle of assembling the lasagne by mixing the meat sauce in with the béchamel (keep aside some of the béchamel for the top layer though!).
Tessa Kiros, a good friend of Artviva, is an occasional special guest at the Artviva Festival giving visitors to Tuscany a chance to meet local authors, artists and aristocrats, including wine tasting and insights into Italian culture.
You can also learn about the traditional Italian ingredients and learn to make delicious, typical dishes before indulging in a delicious meal made by you by signing up for our hands-on cooking class in Florence .
Tessa Kiros recipe
Makes about 1 litre (4 cups)
1 litre (4 cups) milk
100 g (3 ½ oz) butter
80 g (3 oz) plain (all-purpose) flour
freshly grated nutmeg
Note: This is a fairly thin béchamel used, for example, in the lasagne. When a thicker béchamel is required, use 120 grams (4 oz) of plain (all-purpose) flour instead.
Heat the milk in a saucepan. In a separate wide saucepan, melt the butter then add the flour. Stir with a wooden spoon and cook for a minute or two until it is lightly golden. Add a ladleful of the warm milk and stir energetically so that it does not form lumps. Continue adding the milk in ladlefuls and stirring all the time until the milk has been incorporated. Season with salt and pepper and a generous grating of nutmeg. Continue cooking and stirring on a low heat or another 10 minutes to thicken. It should be very smooth.
Remove from the heat. If you are not using it immediately, give a good whisk before you do use it.