Summer Chapter Shoot for La Fortezza Cookbook

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As you all know, I am back in Italy. Mainly for 2 reasons:

1. Check on our house, La Fortezza.
2. Shoot the summer and autumn chapters of my next cookbook La Fortezza Cookbook, Rizzoli NY, Spring 2022.

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This project, for me, is a passion project. The book will be an epic and a beautiful depiction of the region we live in, in northern Tuscany. The book will be filled with local recipes and delicacies, gorgeous travel shots, typical local flavor, and purveyor portraits.

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These photographs will all be captured by the incredibly talented British Photographer David Loftus. I have been an admirer of David’s work for many years, as he has shot for some of the most famous chefs in the world; Jamie Oliver just to name one. His work is insanely beautiful. His discerning eye and recognizable style sets him apart as one of the world’s most respected food photographers. I was thrilled when he agreed to photograph my book.

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My sweet friend and producer, stylist Barbara Pederzini, agreed to help me with the prop styling. She brought all sorts of amazing serving pieces and plates to play with. I used a local chef to help prepare the dishes. It really was a magical team.

Without giving too much away, I believe that this book will take you on a journey and leave you with the lasting memory of a trip to our little piece of heaven. We will be shooting the autumn chapter starting October 5th, so be sure to follow the journey on my insta-stories. I can only tell you this is one of the best projects I have ever worked on. The love I have for this place, La Fortezza will shine through on every page and you will taste the love in every bite.

Until October, stay well x

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From the Archives:: Tortellini with Squash and Pesto

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Since I’ve been blogging and sharing recipes for so many years, there are tons of wonderful recipes in the depth of my archives. Every now and then, I do a quick search and discover a recipe that I’d forgotten about. This recipe for tortellini with squash and pesto is one of them.

I first discovered this recipe years ago when I was living in New York, so you know it’s a good one. The beauty of a dish like this is that it’s the perfect marriage of summer and fall. You might be left with an abundance of basil, squash, or even zucchini from your garden. If so, this is the recipe for you.

It’s quick yet decadent and delicious. Let me know if you give it a try!

Tortellini with Squash and Pesto 

You will need:
– 3 yellow squash cut into cubes
– 3 cloves garlic minced
– 4 tablespoons olive oil
– 1 16 oz. box tortellini pasta, either dried or fresh work great
– 1 cup toasted pine nuts
– 1 cup pesto, this can be also be prepared; I like the Cibo brand
– 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
– salt and pepper

In a large skillet, add minced garlic, oil, and cubed squash and saute until the squash is a golden brown. Meanwhile, in a large pot filled with water, cook pasta until al dente. Reserve 4 tablespoons of the pasta water, then drain. In a large serving bowl add the cooked squash, the pesto and toasted nuts, add about 4 tablespoons of the pasta water, then add the pasta, and cheese and salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly and serve with extra grated cheese.

Enjoy!

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Pumpkin Bread

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While fall is still a few days away, pumpkin season is upon us. There’s nothing like starting a crisp fall day with an espresso and a slice of pumpkin bread. This pumpkin bread is delicious for all the reasons you can imagine. It’s sweet. It’s seasonal. It’s festive. And it’s gluten-free.

Feel free to use the gluten-free flour of choice. You’ll get the same results no matter your choice.

Try different variations to really up the ante. Think a sprinkle of chocolate chips throughout the batter or try some pumpkin seeds on top. Either way, make it your own.

Pumpkin Bread

You will need:

– 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
– 3/4 cup granulated sugar
– 2 eggs
– 2 cups gluten-free flour
– 1 tsp baking soda
– 1/2 t salt
– 1 1/2 cup organic pumpkin puree
– 1 tsp vanilla extract
– 1 tsp cinnamon
– 1 tsp allspice

To prepare:

Preheat oven to 350 F

Grease 9 x 5 x 3 inch loaf pan

Mix flour, soda, salt, cinnamon, and allspice together. Cream butter and sugar together until fluffy. Add vanilla and eggs, one at a time and beat. Alternately add dry ingredients and pumpkin puree to the butter mixture, beginning and ending with the dry (dry-wet-dry-wet-dry).

Pour mixture into greased 9″x 5″ loaf pan. Bake 50-60 min, or until cake tester comes out clean (I look for a few mini moist crumbs).

Cool in pan for 10 minutes, and then on a baking rack.

Enjoy!

xx Annette

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Easy Nibbles:: Marinated Olives

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With social distancing in full effect still, I’m finding that it’s just as fulfilling to put together fun snacks for one or two as it is for a full dinner party. These marinated olives fit that bill. They’re easy to put together, but really kick the humble olive up a notch.

This recipe also makes the perfect addition to a charcuterie platter. Trust me, though, once you have one, you’ll dig in for more!

Marinated Olives

You will need:
– 4 cups mixed olives
– 3 whole cloves of garlic, smashed
– ¼ cup of olive oil
– 2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
– 3 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
– 2 tablespoons chopped fresh marjoram
– 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves

To prepare:

In a saute pan, warm the olives, garlic, peppers, and oil. Toss in the herbs with the olive mixture. Serve warm.

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Seasonal Delight:: Fig Croistini

Esporao & Annette Joseph
If you’ve meandered through your local farmer’s market or grocery store recently, you might have noticed that we are officially in the thick of fig season. Nicole, my web-manager, even has a fig tree in her backyard. She asked me what else to do with figs that wouldn’t heat-up the kitchen too much (it’s still very hot in Atlanta, after all!).

I passed along this quick and easy appetizer for fig and goat cheese crostini. She assured me it was a fantastic recommendation. While this snack makes an incredible appetizer or even breakfast, I also love the idea of serving this as a light, unexpected dessert at the end of a meal. It’s a tried and true recipe perfect for any occasion.

Goat Cheese and Fig Crostini
Serves 10

You will need:
– 20 small figs cut in half, lengthwise
– 1 loaf of French bread sliced into 1/2 in slices (makes about 20 slices)
– 1/2 cup olive oil
– 8 oz. soft artisan goat cheese, at room temperature
– 1/4 cup lemon honey
– 40 Marcona Almonds
– 1 teaspoon cracked pepper

To prepare:

Preheat the oven to 350 F

Crostini: Lay the bread slices on to a cookie sheet with a brush coat the top of the slices with olive oil. Bake for 10 minutes, or until the slices are golden brown. Cool the crostini.  Spread 2 tablespoons of goat cheese on the crostini, top with 2 half figs, and add 2 almonds on either side of the figs. Place on a platter and repeat with the rest of the crostinis.

Once all the crostinis are on the platter, drizzle with honey, and sprinkle with cracked pepper and serve.

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