Wholesome and healthy the Italian Way!
Ciao a tutti!
Felice Buon Nuovo! Happy New Year!
 
The year and decade have begun! Each January we make “ i buoni propositi ” – new year’s resolutions . Have you made any resolutions for 2020? For us, we always seem to have the usual ones - exercise regularly, eat healthier, lose weight, learn something new. Who doesn't want to eat healthier?! We begin with seasonal greens and vegetables and they are a big part of our plate!

During this time of year in Italy the family gardens burst with a wide array of winter vegetables from kale and chards to rapini (cimi di rape), broccoli, cauliflower . The Tuscan black kale, lacinato , or cavolo nero is a popular (and tastier) alternative to the curly leaf kale found everywhere (it seems). Lacinato is easily found in our supermarkets now and it is delicious as a side, in soups or on bruschetta.
Below are two recipes for you to add a little healthy green to your meals this month.
 
Gina is thrilled to welcome back to her restaurant "Banfi Bill" Whiting for two exciting wine dinners February 4th and 5th! At The Italian Table will host Banfi wines and Bill will be introducing the newly released 2015 Brunello di Montalcino! If you're in Louisville for these days, get on Open Table or call (502-883-0211) to get your spot 'at the table'.

Has anyone made a resolution to travel more , learn something new or meet new people ? We can help you deliver on these with a culinary adventure to Puglia or Tuscany . We have some open spots in our fall culinary tours! See dates below and more details on our new website !

Buon appetito!
Gina and Mary

Winter Greens with Olive oil
This side dish is both easy and delicious and an excellent way to quickly prepare nutritious winter greens such as kale, swiss chard, spinach and rapini. Look for lacinato kale, Tuscans call it cavolo nero black cabbage ’ and in the States they sometimes call it dinosaur kale .

1 large bunch of greens, washed and chopped
1 large garlic clove
Sea salt
Olive oil
Heat a large sauté pan with some water, salt, garlic and the chopped greens and cover. Cook until the greens are soft and done, remove from heat and add a generous drizzle of good olive oil. These greens are great as a side dish or on toasted buschetta (pictured).
Bruschetta con Cavolo Nero e Cannellini
(Kale & White Bean Bruschetta)
2 garlic cloves, whole
2 bunches Lacinato kale, chopped
2 cups cannellini beans, cooked or canned
Tuscan olive oil
Sea salt
Tuscan or French bread

Steam the kale in a large sauté pan with two whole garlic cloves, 2 cups water and 1 teas salt until cooked to bright green. Add beans to kale and heat through 10 minutes. Drizzle the kale with a generous amount of great extra virgin olive oil (Kirkland Toscano) and place in bowls along with cooking liquid. Top with thinly sliced red onion and serve with bruschetta.
 This Month's Italian saying... 

"il vino fa buon sangue l'acqua fa tremar le gambe!”

Wine makes good blood, or strengthens the blood, but water makes the legs shake!
Travel with us to Puglia or Tuscany this fall!
Are you ready to travel more this year? Our food and wine adventures in Italy are fun, informative and relaxing! Our culinary tours are all inclusive during our week together. We'll take care of all the details and you can enjoy yourself on a wonderful vacation in Italy.

For travel this year -
We have 2 spots left in our June 6-13th Tuscany tour. Hurry! Airfares are dipping for the late spring. Contact Mary for your booking form. mary@eccolacucina.com or call her 972-342-8308

In the Fall, we have some open spots to Puglia (October 4-11) and the Tuscany weeks (Oct 17-24 and 24-31, 2020) . October is a great month to travel in Italy - less crowds and more relaxed pace. Mary can help you figure out what to do/see before or after our tours. Contact her to get more information and get registered! Click here for the dates and details on our website.
2015 Brunello di Montalcino
Now that it is 2020 and almost February, the 2015 vintage of Brunello di Montalcino will be released.

The 2015 vintage was a historical, 5 star year!  The harvest was excellent and the wines produced are said to be very well-balanced offering explosive red cherry fruit, balanced tannins and acidity. This vintage will age for well over 10 years and we can't wait to taste it! It will be released in February so you'll start seeing it in the wine shops soon.

Brunello, as you learn when visiting Tuscany with us, requires 5 years aging after harvest with 2 years minimum in oak and 2 years in the bottle. Many of the best Brunello producers will age 3 years in oak and then 2 years in the bottle. They are worth the wait!
Gina Stipo and Mary Stipo Potter | Ecco La Cucina | 1-972-342-8308| Email | Website