Tag Archives: Behind the Scenes

How to have Fresh Pesto Year-Round

At the end of each summer, I make sure to harvest all the basil in my garden. Then, I implement a little secret of mine to ensure pesto year-round: I make this summer pesto recipe and freeze it. I like to freeze it in ice cube trays. When you have a craving for fresh pesto, simply remove a few ice cubes, and add them to a pan. You’ll be able to have fresh pesto year-round!

This pesto recipe is straight from the source. My sweet Ligurian friend Monica Damonte is not only a great interior designer but a wonderful host and cook. Here’s her version of pesto ala Liguria. Hers has a twist with Ricotta Salata on top; it’s delish.

Enjoy xx

Pesto

Coin Pasta with Pesto
Serves 6

You will need:

– 4 cups basil
– 1 cup olive oil
– 1¼ cups grated Parmesan cheese
– ½ teaspoon salt
– 4 cups dried coin pasta, or trofie pasta
– 12 cups water for boiling the pasta, reserve ¼ cup pasta water
– 1 cup ricotta salata
– ¼ cup chopped tomato
– 6 mint leaves

To prepare:

Place basil, 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese, oil and salt into the bowl of a food processor fitted with a blade. Pulse for 3 minutes until it forms a paste. Set aside.

In a large pot cook pasta for 10 minutes until al dente and drain. In a large bowl combine pasta, pesto, and the reserved water (¼ cup). Add ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese.

Serve in individual bowls with a dollop of ricotta salata. Top each serving with a mint leaf and tomato for garnish. Serve immediately. Place the extra Parmesan on the table for guests.

Photo credit : Victoria Lacarrieu

Food Styling: Me

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Wedding Workshop and Weddings at La Fortezza

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As you might have seen on IG stories, last month we hosted a wedding workshop. It was amazing. Kim Vasil of August designs lead the group, and the images are fantastic.

We had Hanna and Megan as part of the dream team. Hannah is an amazing hair and make up artist, and our Megan, from Pictory Productions, captured everything on video and was kind enough to do some photography as well since our photography instructor pulled out last minute. I love that I have such amazing pros around me that rally for the cause. It was an all hands on deck week with Sharon Fisher, from Sharon Fisher Events, assisting us with anything that we wanted and being an over all consultant on all things bridal.

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As we hone our wedding skills, I am hopeful that with the help of Lisa Redgrave of Hitched in Italy, and Eliza Honey as staff florist, we will pull off the most magical weddings.

Big news: Kim Vasil will be joining the team as our American liaison to weddings here at La Fortezza. She will team up with Lisa Redgrave, our on site consultant, to produce unique and bohemian weddings for very special brides and grooms. Our location is something very special, rustic, artistic and curated for the creative bride. I know with the addition of Kim’s expertise, we will make our weddings one of a kind. Please feel free to contact her or Lisa for more information.

In the meantime we will be working on making La Fortezza the perfect destination wedding location for small bespoke weddings.

We will host only 2 weddings per year. We already have 1 booked for 2019, so there is only 1 wedding left…will it be yours? Of course feel free to email me annette@annettejosephstyle.com

xx Annette

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Quick trip to Pietrasanta

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Ciao tutti! Recently, I wanted to check out a flea market and new upcoming design neighborhood in Pietrasanta. A little background first, Pietrasanta is a seaside town. It lines the coast of Tuscany which is about 40 minutes from our house.

Full disclosure: it is one of my favorite places in Italy. It’s a small town where the streets are narrow and are home to galleries, bespoke fashion houses, and quaint home furnishing stores. The main square has towering churches and art installations, and in the summertime there are always people sitting in the quad of cafes. It’s my happy place where artists and socialites converge in the most unlikely and amazing way. Sculptors covered in marble dust and fancy ladies all having an apero in one happy place. Did I mention that it is nestled near Cararra, and therefore the place to work and play?

Check out our finds including an incredible design studio we stumbled into.

I was hosting my One on One styling course during this visit. It was great to discover this new flea market with a student in tow. Of course I found some amazing things I will be using for styling in upcoming workshops here. The life of a stylist is always hunting, always looking, and always shopping.

 

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Baking in Italy:: Delicious Focaccia

Screen Shot 2018-07-12 at 4.30.43 PM If you follow along on Instagram, you might have noticed that I have made a lot of focaccia this summer. Focaccia is the perfect marriage of fluffiness and crispiness. It’s such a delicious part of meals here in Italy and is versatile too. You can use it for sandwiches or keep it simple. I love to use focaccia as an appetizer with olive spread, Parmesan cheese, Parma ham, and a crisp summer rose wine. It’s the perfect start to a perfect evening.

You can find the story behind focaccia, along with several yummy cocktails to serve with it, in Cocktail Italiano.

Focaccia
Serves 4

You will need:
– 3 cups double zero flour (super fine flour)
– 1 package dry yeast
– 1/3 cup warm water
– 1 cup water
– ½ cup extra virgin olive oil + 1 teaspoon for the cookie sheet + 3 tablespoons for finishing before baking, 1 tablespoon to finish after baking
– 2 tablespoons coarse salt + 1 teaspoon for finishing

To prepare:

Place the yeast in a small bowl with 1/3 cups water and let proof in a large bowl. put flour and oil and salt and water, combine until it forms a sticky dough, it should be very sticky. Flour your surface and turn the dough onto floured surface. knead gently for a minute until dough forms a soft dough.

On an oiled cookie sheet with a lip, spread the dough out to fit the cookie sheet. With your index fingers poke dimples into the top of the dough.

Let rest for 30 minutes, then repeat by poking dimples into the risen dough, and let rest for 30 minutes.

Before placing in the oven, drizzle with 3 tablespoons olive oil and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon coarse salt.

Bake at 400 for 30 minutes. Remove sprinkle with 1 tablespoon olive oil cool and eat warm or at room temperature. The key is to let the oil soak in as the focaccia cools.

 

 

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A Visit to the Enchanted Valley through the Palette of Steve McKenzie

Today I have a special treat for you. One of our guest instructors and one of my dear friends, Steve McKenzie, is sharing a bit about his experience in May at La Fortezza. Steve is a brilliant interior designer, artist, and textile designer in Atlanta. His workshop here in Italy with us is in September, and I cannot wait to welcome him and his students. Enjoy today’s post from Steve, and be sure to sign-up for one of the very few remaining spots for his workshop. Take it away Steve:

My wife, Jill, and I recently had the chance to visit Annette at her magical Fortress in a verdant valley in Northern Tuscany. I wanted to see everything as I prepare for the abstract painting class I will be leading there in September. Inspiration is everywhere, and I cannot wait to return.

The magic begins as you approach her home, and up on the mountain sits her Fortress. They have created beautifully appointed living and working spaces as well as incredibly comfortable guest quarters for the students that are unparalleled. It feels a little like a visit to a monastery where the furnishings and the views take you to a place of contemplation and inspiration.

These cozy places, coupled with a superb cocktail, encourage congregation and conversation.

We were greeted in typical Annette fashion with a delicious, as well as beautiful, Aperitivo of Negroni and nibbles, taken straight out of her new book, Cocktail Italiano. A delicious dinner of pasta and salad followed, reminding me of what a talented cook Annette is.  I am excited that a cooking lesson in the commercial kitchen will be part of our fall workshop.

Day two we had a chance to visit the charming local village, Fivizzano, on market day. It is charming and again, inspiration is around every corner. Following our visit to the market, we visited some of Annette’s favorite vintage and antique dealers. These are a must during the workshop on our free day.

I also strolled over to the La Fortezza vineyards with Annette and Jill. The beauty of this location really spoke to me and inspired me to paint en plein air.  During the workshop, we will take a picnic lunch out here and paint, eat and drink. The colors and vistas are one of the most inspirational places I have visited.

On the journey back to the house, I filled a market basket with wild flowers from the property as well as colorful roses from her rose garden. The most beautiful arrangement quickly came together in a beautiful pitcher from Annette’s copper collection. We will incorporate a quick floral arranging lesson during my workshop as well.

I can’t wait to return and share all the fabulous experiences with my students during the workshop September 19-24, 2018.

There are only a few spaces left, so register now

Thank you for guest posting today, Steve! As always, if you have questions about our workshop, feel free to send me an email or leave a comment below.

xx Annette

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