Coleen Kirnan, owner and host of Tuscan Women Cook, the unique culinary vacation based in the heart of Tuscany, brings the cuisine and culture of Italy to home kitchens with her cookbook, Tuscan Women Cook: Nonnas • Memories • Recipes (2021, tuscanwomencook.com). 

The book is a collection of recipes and memories of days spent in Montefollonico, Italy. 

“Our marvelous memories mingle with those of our beautiful nonnas, who have generously shared family secrets that are also, coincidentally, treasured family recipes. ...”, Kirnan said.

Recipes include: Spaghetti con Rigatino e Cipolla (Spaghetti with Bacon and Onion), Filetto di Maiale con Prugne e Pistachio (Pork Tenderloin with Plum Sauce), Crostata di Meringa alla Frutta in Pietra (Stone Fruit Meringue Tart), etc.

Carpaccio di Zucchine

(Zucchini Carpaccio)

 

The most outgoing plant in your vegetable garden has got to be the zucchini. It’s a big-leafed, brawny-stemmed vine that seems eager to overwhelm more demure vegetables. Most people cook zucchini, but this recipe will give you the confidence to serve fresh, uncooked zucchini with flair.

The word carpaccio usually describes thin slices of raw beef or fish, but we think it perfectly describes this dish ... an innovative and unexpected Italian cuisine.

Zucchini carpaccio is an ideal primo if you want a light and refreshing start to your meal. Use a vegetable peeler instead of a knife and take your time slicing the rounds or ribbons of zucchini. They’ll soften as they marinate in lemon juice and spring to attention with seasoning.

 

2-3 medium zucchini

Small wedge Parmesan cheese

Fresh arugula leaves

3-4 lemon slices 

Extra-virgin olive oil 

Juice of 1/2 lemon 

Maldon sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper

Rosemary or other fresh herbs, minced (optional)

 

Slice zucchini on a mandolin or with a vegetable peeler into thin rounds or ribbons. Lay out zucchini slices on a platter, overlapping them slightly.

Scatter thin slices of shaved Parmesan cheese over zucchini slices. Garnish with arugula leaves, lemon slices and more shaved Parmesan cheese. Drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice. Sprinkle with Maldon sea salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle with minced rosemary or any fresh herbs.

Serves four-six.

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