A couple months ago, I received an email from Ginny of Cooking With Chopin to participate in a blog tour for Sarah Fioroni’s brand new cookbook, A Family Farm In Tuscany. I immediately said yes because it was a free cookbook… filled with delicious, authentic Italian recipes. Oh how amazing!
The cookbook cover is beautiful, no? Just wait til you get a copy for yourself and can flip through the pages. This cookbook is more than just recipes… it’s the true story of Sarah’s family farm in Tuscany, Fattoria Poggio Alloro, complete with pages and pages of text, images, and recipes of the farm, season by season. I want to make just about everything featured here!
The publisher describes it as: “In A Family Farm in Tuscany, Sarah Fioroni, chef, cooking instructor, sommelier, and manager of her family’s organic farm near historic San Gimignano, shares stories of family traditions and daily life at Fattoria Poggio Alloro. After moving to the farm in the 1950s to work as sharecroppers, the Fioronis later purchased the farm through their hard work and dedication to the land. They transformed the property into a model of integrated, sustainable agriculture that has been visited by government officials from all over the world and featured in numerous publications, including Organic Gardening magazine.” Is it weird to say I loved every page of this cookbook? I literally could not get enough of the Tuscan countryside.
I loved getting to hear Sarah’s warmth, beauty, and love of her work really shined in her personal voice throughout the book, as well as in the FAQ section that came with the blogging publicity kit. I would LOVE to go visit the farm in person!!
When did the idea of doing a book on Fattoria Poggio Alloro become something you thought you could do?
The idea of a book was something that I thought about a long time. The initial idea was just to write down the story of the Fioroni family as a gift to the family, especially the three brothers, my father Amico, and my uncles, Umberto and Bernardo. But after I began having cooking classes in the States and at the farm, many people asked me about a cookbook. I always had to explain that I did not have one. One day my good friend, Johnnie Weber, told me that I really should think seriously about the idea and took me to the cookbook section of a bookstore to show me how many wonderful cookbooks there were. So when I returned to the farm, I decided to pursue the dream and began to write the first notes in a note book.
What is your favorite time of year on the farm?
May is one of my favorite months, as you see nature change so fast, and after a couple of days of rain, everything becomes so green and beautiful. Amazing colored flowers grow everywhere and it can get pretty hot, but there is still a breeze. I have to admit that snow in the winter is something that I really love too. It is so magical for me.
It was hard to choose a recipe to feature in this blog post, so I enlisted Ben’s help. Together, we decided that Sarah’s recipe for roasted chicken would be just the thing to make. In the colder months, it has become our tradition to make a roasted chicken on Sunday after we get home from church. Usually we just throw together any ‘ole ingredients like herbs, spices, citrus fruits, etc. to make our chicken flavorful. Not this time! This time, we used Sarah’s recipe which features savory sage and rosemary, salty pancetta, tangy garlic, as well as the deep richness that only a dry white wine can provide. I am never making a roasted chicken another way again!
If you’ve never tried roasting your own chicken, do try it using this recipe and method. It is so worth it! I used to be scared of handling lots of raw poultry, but it gets easier each and every time [even though Ben still helps with the hard parts]. The rewards–like those first, hot, burn-your-fingers bits of crispy, salty skin–make it so incredible. This chicken was more aromatic and zesty than our ordinary way, thanks to the method of making a garlic paste using 8 cloves and putting seasoning under the skin of the chicken.
I simply cannot have enough words of praise for this recipe and this cookbook. I highly suggest you check it out today. I am so grateful for the chance to review it. Thanks again, Ginny! I will certainly blog about some of the other recipes that are now on my “to make” list–an autumn risotto, yogurt cake, mushroom penne, and more! Oh, if you wish, there’s a link-up below the recipe with links to other stops on the blogger book tour. 🙂
Pollo alla Poggia Alloro/Roasted Chicken Poggia Alloro [from A Family Farm in Tuscany: Recipes and Stories from Fattoria Poggio Alloro by Sarah Fioroni]
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- 1 whole chicken, about 5 pounds
- 3 thin slices pancetta [I couldn’t find it so I used prosciutto]
- 4 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 3 sprigs fresh sage
- 8 large garlic cloves, ground to a paste using a mortar and pestle or chef’s knife
- freshly ground black pepper
- 3/4 cup dry white wine [I used a Chardonnay]
- extra virgin olive oil
Rinse the chicken inside and out with cold running water. Drain and pat dry with paper towels. [Don’t forget to sanitize your sink afterwards!] Place in a large baking pan [a 9×13 will work, I also have a ceramic roaster].
Place the pancetta, half the rosemary, 1 sprig sage, and 1 teaspoon of the garlic inside the chicken. Make six small slits in the skin of the chicken. Mince the remaining herbs and place them inside each slit, along with some salt and pepper. Gently massage herbs and seasoning into the chicken. Cover with the remaining garlic along with more salt and pepper. Let rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Pour wine in baking dish, then brush olive oil over chicken to lightly coat. Bake for 20 minutes, then flip chicken on breast and bake for another 40 minutes. Then flip chicken again to the back and bake for 30 minutes or until fully cooked. [Meat thermometer reading 170 degrees F/76 degrees C.] Remove from oven and rest for 7 minutes before carving.
Time: 3-4 hours.
Yield: 8 servings.
Check out other blogger’s takes on this cookbook here:
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