Le Torri Dinner

Wednesday night was the night of the traditional Le Torri dinner.

The Cantini family (papa Paolo, mama Maria Pia and our host, son Gabriele) not only welcomed us with a beautiful buffet on Saturday when we arrived, but also offered a dinner mid-week that we happily did not pass up!

We don’t have photos of the welcome buffet, but here is a just sampling of a few of the dishes we enjoyed. There were many other dishes – almost too many to remember!

A quartet of crostini misti: fresh tomato, garlic and chili pepper, sauteed bell peppers and onions, chicken liver pate, and a cooked tomato topping – Penne with fresh pesto sauce – Beef cooked with potatoes – Beef cooked with carmelized onions – Fried tidbits of mozzarella, zucchini, tomatoes, and coniglio (rabbit) – Potato salad with tuna and green beans – Mixed arugula salad with pine nuts – Skewers of cherry tomato, fresh mozzarella (bocconcini) and black olives – Caprese salad (tomatoes, mozzarella, basil dressed with olive oil) – Two kinds of pizza (cheese and sausage) – Fresh fruit salad – and a torte with fresh plums and pears. All this was washed down with house wine, sparkling water and sodas and followed by Vin Santo – a sweet dessert wine. We also had a chance to taste the Cantini olive oil and of course, we HAD to purchase a small bottle, along with a bottle of the house Chianti we were served.

The Wednesday dinner was a more formal affair. Nineteen of us sat down to Maria Pia’s spectacular Tuscan dinner.

The menu looked great.

We started with antipasti, including crostini mista, similar to what we had at the welcome buffet, along with Maria’s home-pickled artichokes and a Tuscan olive assortment. In addition to the crostini, we enjoyed prosciutto-wrapped breadsticks and salume (salami). The first primi piatti (first course) was home-made Tagliatelle all’ Amatriciana – wide noodles with tomato-bacon sauce. The second primi piatti was Crespelle (crepes) stuffed with a fantastic ricotta e spinaci mixture with a white cream sauce. The secondi was mixed grill including steak, pork, chicken skewers (spedini), and sausages, all prepared by Paolo in his outdoor wood-burning oven.

The contorni (side dishes) were grilled eggplant and bell peppers, mixed vegetables and a combo of home-made onion rings, french fries (almost like hot potato chips) and deep-fried zucchini. Needless to say, there were multiple bottles of house Chianti, water and sodas to wash everything down. Yet to come was a fantastic tiramisu, accompanied by Vin Santo and Cantuccini (tiny almond biscotti). The traditional Tuscan way to eat the Cantuccini is to dip it into the Vin Santo until it almost dissolves and then spoon it out of the glass. We finished off dinner with Paolo’s special Limoncello, made from his home-grown lemons, and Grappa.

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