Ricette di Spannocchia

Spannocchia Food

Featured recipe: Salsa al Pomodoro | Simple Tomato Sauce

Sometimes there is nothing better than a big bowl of pasta with tomato sauce. And when you can have delicious, authentic, and easy homemade sauce in under an hour, there's no reason to resort to store-bought.

About the tomatoes: For this sauce, we use jarred tomatoes, from our own garden and processed during peak season for year-round use, though you can certainly also use canned tomatoes from the store. We recommend whole peeled tomatoes that you then chop before adding to the pot, but you could also choose diced tomatoes for ease or even crushed tomatoes if you prefer a smoother end result.

This is a favorite winter/early spring staple—before the first crops of the season are ready—because it can easily be made with any hardy vegetables that you froze after harvesting in the fall. We use fresh broccoli here but also often enjoy this creamy, savory side dish with greens like spinach or kale.


Serves 6

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 carrots, finely chopped 

1 onion, finely chopped 

1 celery stalk, finely chopped 

10 basil leaves, chopped or sliced into ribbons

5-6 cups tomatoes (2 28-oz cans; see full note above about the different options)

Salt and freshly ground black pepper


In a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat, heat 1/4 cup of olive oil until shimmering. Add the onion, carrots, and celery and cook, stirring frequently, until the onion and celery are translucent and the carrots are very soft, about 15 minutes. 

While the vegetables are cooking, cover the basil with olive oil in a small bowl, and set it aside to infuse. 

Once the vegetables are soft, add the tomatoes and season with salt and pepper. Reduce the heat to medium-low and let simmer, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes, or until the tomatoes are broken down into a well-blended sauce. 

Season with additional salt and pepper to taste and toss gently with your favorite al dente pasta. (Tip: Cook your pasta just shy of a perfect al dente, and then allow it to finish cooking as you mix it with the warm sauce.)

Pour into a large serving dish or divide into individual bowls, and drizzle with the basil olive oil to finish. 

Topping thick slices of toasted bread with cooked kale.
Close up of kale and pancetta topped on toast.
Table set with two glasses of white wine and a platter of cavolo nero crostone.
A pan of curly pasta with tomato sauce and a serving spoon next two two bowls of the pasta. They are set on a rustic wood table, outside.

Photo credit: Niccolò Merighi

RECIPE BOOK: Archived recipes

Ribollita translates to “reboiled” and refers to the traditional way of making this soup: by reboiling leftover bean and vegetable soups, and adding old bread that soaks up the goodness for a hearty stew. Our version can be made in one day, but is still a classic for winter months.

Kale Crostone (Toasts)
October 2022: CROSTONE AL CAVOLO NERO | Kale Toasts
No matter what the season, crostone (toasted bread with any topping) are a wonderful way to kick off a meal or enjoy a light bite during happy hour. In the fall, consider garlic-rubbed bread topped with hearty kale and pancetta (or bacon). A heartier version of our summery tomato crostone!

Tomato Crostone (Toasts)
When it's the height of tomato season and it's super hot... nothing's better than an authentic Italian take on what many of us Americans call "bruschetta" (and if you call it that, you better say it correctly!). Pair your tomato toasts with a refreshing spritz cocktail, and you've got yourself a perfect summer aperitivo.

Orange pork loin
Another Spannocchia favorite! So satisfying, simple, and beautiful—we encourage you to try our braised pork loin with red onions and juicy oranges. The spring cooking classes enjoyed preparing and devouring this special dish, and we know you will too!

Spannocchia garden
This is a favorite winter/early spring staple—before the first crops of the season are ready—because it can easily be made with any hardy vegetables that you froze after harvesting in the fall. We use fresh broccoli here but also often enjoy this creamy, savory side dish with greens like spinach or kale.

Aglione garlic with a wine cork for scale
Aglione (Elephant Garlic) are not simply “big” garlic cloves, but a typical Tuscan variety of the garlic family. In our winter recipe, we use aglione to make Pici All'Aglione, but you could substitute any store-bought pasta and even common garlic, if you can't find this special variety.

Two colorful winter squash and wild mushrooms on a marble tabletop
As a blended American-Italian community, Spannocchia's annual celebration of Thanksgiving is a similarly unique blend of American & Italian food traditions—a truly special and memorable event! Bring a taste of Spannocchia to your holiday table with this delicious fall soup.

Slices of schiacciata con uva on a silver tray
October 2021: Schiacciata con Uva | Focaccia with Grapes

If you've ever been at Spannocchia during the annual vendemmia (grape harvest), you know that the hard work culminates with a celebration—one which always includes sweet focaccia baked with freshly-picked grapes. Now, just get some wine grapes, and you can enjoy this traditional treat at home.

Ingredients for Eggplant Parmesan
September 2021: Parmigiana di Melanzane | Eggplant Parmesan

As the weather starts to turn cooler (at least in the Northern Hemisphere), enjoy this classic Italian recipe that perfectly straddles summer (with fresh garden eggplant) and fall (with a heartier preparation—fried and cheesy goodness!).

Baked Tomatoes
August 2021: Pomodori Gratinati | Baked Tomatoes

There is never a shortage of dishes you can prepare using tomatoes—not to mention canning and sauce-making for later enjoyment—but we’re particularly fond of this Mediterranean-inspired recipe that calls for baking them with a salty, briny topping.

Plum Cake
July 2021: Dolce Con Le Prugne | Plum Cake

As we harvest gorgeous plums from our orchard during the summer, we love making this fruit dessert. If you're not lucky enough to have plums in your backyard, grab some stone fruit at your local farm stand or market.

Vegetable Roll
June 2021: Rotolo di Verdure | Vegetable Roll

Mix cheese, garlic, and pine nuts with whatever fresh greens you have on hand, then roll it into a delicious ricotta-based dough and bake for a fairly simple but impressive appetizer or side dish.

Fava Bean Pesto
May 2021: Pesto di Fave | Fava Bean Pesto

Savor this favorite spring crop in a fresh, delicious pesto. Pair it with a crisp glass of Italian white wine and it might almost be like you're sitting under the pergola outside the villa dining room.

Salame Dolce ("Sweet Salame")
April 2021: salame dolce

Check out this favorite Spannocchia dessert made with chocolate and biscuit cookies, then rolled and sliced to look like "sweet salami."