My Favorite Lunch in Venice – Spaghetti di Nero

grand-canal-walking-tours-veniceVenice is perhaps Italy’s most extraordinary city – a city of elegant palazzos, palaces, theaters and markets surprisingly situated in the middle of a lagoon, connected by a maze of canals and bridges. Guests on our Veneto cycling tours often ask us to include a couple of days where they can experience the wonders of this city. We happily oblige, as it is an amazing city with plenty to explore on walking tours. My partner Vernon leads us on walks through history, visiting the birthplace of explorer Marco Polo, and discovering the haunts of luminaries from Henry James and Proust to Casanova. Venice itself boasts an impressive history, with the Republic of Venice existing for over 1000 years, during which it was a major maritime power and center of trade between Europe and the Byzantine empire.

spaghetti-vongole-close-walking-tours-veniceMy walking explorations focus on the foods and wines of Venice. We’ll spend some time in the Rialto market appreciating the vast array of produce and seafood available here where the fertile valleys of the Po river meets the Adriatic. We enjoy a prosecco (or two) during a giro d’ombra, a tour of the Venetian wine bars where we snack on cicchetti such as baccala mantecato or carciofi castrature from the island of Sant’Erasmo during the spring.

seppie-rialto-walking-tours-venicebacari-venice-walking-toursDining in Venice can be tricky – there are many superb restaurants and trattoria, but also many tourist traps. It takes a bit of effort to find those special spots where the locals dine. Most restaurants right near San Marco or along the Grand Canal cater to tourists, especially avoid those with a host standing on the sidewalk accosting you as you approach with a large placard outside with photos of the standard “menu turistico”. But walk a few blocks closer to the Rialto market, perhaps risking a wrong turn or two, which always happens in Venice, and you will discover a small trattoria where what they serve today is the fish we just saw at the market that morning.

menu-venice-walking-tours-italyWhenever I am in Venice, my favorite lunch is a pasta with squid ink. In Venice, it is a white pasta, usually spaghetti or linguini, flavored with squid ink in the sauce, often served with sauteed squid. Back here in the US, it is hard to find squid ink. However, black pasta made from squid ink is available here and makes a dramatic dish. Here is a recipe I make at home using fresh local clams; a comfort dish that brings me back to dining canal-side on a sunny afternoon in Venice.

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venice-dining-walking-toursEnjoy with a crisp white from the Veneto, like a Garganega based Soave or Gambellara.

Spaghetti di Nero con Vongole

Serves 4-6

2 lbs. small clams
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 small onion, cut into 1/4 inch dice
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup white wine
1 lb. spaghetti di nero (squid ink pasta)
1 tablespoon flat parsley, minced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Carefully wash the clams, and put them in a colander to drain.

Put a large pot of water on the stove over high heat, and bring to a boil for cooking the spaghetti.

Heat the olive oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the onion, reduce heat and saute until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook just until aromatic, about 1 minute.

Add the white wine and the clams. Cover and bring to a simmer. Allow the clams to steam until they have opened, about 7-10 minutes, depending upon the size of the clams. Remove from heat, and discard any that do not open on their own. Remove the clams from the liquid and keep warm in a separate dish.

Salt the boiling water, and add the spaghetti. Cook until al dente, remove from the heat and drain.

While the pasta is cooking, place the clam steaming liquid back on the stove over high heat, bring to a boil and reduce it by 1/2.

Place the drained spaghetti in the pot with the reduced clam cooking liquids and toss to coat. Add the clams, season with salt and pepper – taste, as the clams can be quite salty so you may not need much salt. Garnish with the chopped parsley and serve.

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Frittelle al Radicchio Rosso di Treviso – Radicchio Fritters

frittelle-radicchio-private-ski-tours-italyCarnevale, from the Latin carne vale, meaning “farewell to meat” is one of the biggest festivals in Italy. Similar to our Mardi Gras, it marks the two to three weeks before Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the 40 days of Lent. Typically running from mid-February through early March, I enjoy stopping in Venice to indulge in the festivities on the way to our ski holidays in the Dolomites.

venice-carnevale-private-tours-italyVenice is the home of the largest and most elaborate of Carnevale festivals in Italy. Lasting for nearly 2 weeks, the many parades, concerts, dinners, and costume balls attract visitors from across the globe. Extravagant costumes and masks are worn throughout the city, reflecting the long tradition of masks in the history of this mysterious city.

Verona, a favorite stop on our cycling and walking tours, has one of the oldest carnevale celebrations in Italy, dating from 1615. On the last day of Carnevale (Fat Tuesday) Verona has a huge parade with hundreds of floats.

frittelle-bag-custom-ski-tours-italyThe celebratory feasts of this period of course feature the rich foods forbidden during the Lenten period, so plenty of meat. There are a wide variety of dolce (sweets) that are part of the Carnevale celebration too. Frittelle, or fritters, are the most common sweet associated with Venetian carnevale. A quick bite enjoyed by party-goers as easy to eat indulgences before the austerity of Lent.

fig-grappa-radicchio-private-ski-tours-italyHere is a very unique sweet frittelle recipe from a cookbook on Veneto Cuisine published by Terre Ferma. When leading tours in Italy, I love to pick up these books on the local cuisine put out by the various regional organizations. They are the most authentic sources I have on regional cuisine.

precoce-radicchio-ski-tours-italyThis recipe uses one of the Veneto’s prized products, radicchio. There are many different varieties of radicchio grown in the Veneto, many more than we see in the US. The Radicchio Rosso di Treviso Tardivo is available from September to Carnevale. Its slightly bitter flavor pairs exceptionally well with the sweetness of the figs and apples. Enjoy with a bit more grappa, or a glass of dry prosecco.

Frittelle al Radicchio Rosso di Treviso

6 ounces butter
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons sugar
3/4 cup water
1/4 cup grappa
1 cup flour
4 eggs
1 apple, cored and shredded
1/4 cup dried figs, chopped and soaked in a little water, orange juice, or grappa
1 cup shredded radicchio
Zest of 1 orange
Oil for frying
Put the butter, salt and sugar in a saucepan over high heat. Add the water and grappa, stir until the butter is melted and bring to a boil. Turn the heat to low and add the flour; stir constantly until the mixture pulls away from the pan and forms a ball, about a minute. Remove the pan from the heat and transfer the dough to a large bowl or the bowl of your stand mixer. Allow to cool for 5 minutes.

Beat in the eggs one at a time; beating until the mixture is smooth. Do not add the next egg until the one before has been completely incorporated into the batter. The batter will be smooth and glossy.

Add the shredded apple, dried figs, finely chopped radicchio and orange zest, and stir until additions are evenly distributed in the dough. Chill the dough for at least 1 hour.

Heat 2 inches of oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat 350F. Scoop the dough into a pastry bag with a 1/2-inch tip, or a plastic freezer bag with a corner cut off. Drop about 1 tablespoon of batter for each fritter into the oil. Fry in batches, avoiding overcrowding. They will puff up as they cook, so allow adequate room. Cook until golden all over, turning occasionally, until puffed and ready to burst – about 7-9 minutes. Allow enough time for the inside to cook through. Remove from the oil and drain on paper towels. Sprinkle with sugar and serve immediately.

frittelle-custom-ski-tours-italy

Posted in Apples, Dessert, Figs, Radicchio, Travel, Uncategorized, Veneto Food | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Risotto ai Cavolfiori – Cauliflower Risotto

cauliflower-risotto-custom-ski-tours-italyWe are visiting Sudtirol on a couple of cycling tours next season, our Bike the Wine Roads of Trentino-Alto Adige adventure. We cycle along lovely bike paths that follow the Adige river, predominately flat, but surrounded by majestic steep hills. We see acres of apple orchards along the way, and many terraced vineyards cut into the hills. But hidden amongst the vineyards and apples are farms producing a wide variety of fruits and vegetables – strawberries, raspberries, cabbage, radicchio, lettuce, potatoes.

val-venosta-cycling-private-tours-italyOne doesn’t always think of this type of terrain being conducive to cultivating vegetables. But with over 300 days of sunshine a year, Sudtirol offers a particularly beneficial climate for quality produce. Warm days with lots of sunshine ensure the vegetables ripen, but the cooler nights slow this process down just enough to allow flavors and aromas to develop. The farmers in this region are committed to sustainable farming methods, moving towards totally organic, assisted by the fact that many pests cannot tolerate the higher elevations.

cauliflower-sudtirol-private-tours-italyOn our ride down through the Val Venosta, we pass through many small towns, each known for a favorite specialty – Pala pears in Glorenza, strawberries in the Martello Valley, white asparagus in Castelbello, apricots and cabbage in Lasa. Lasa, or Laas, as all towns in Sudtirol have both Italian and German names, is the largest area of cauliflower cultivation anywhere in Italy. Cauliflower is also grown Eisack and Puster valleys and on the Ritten plateau.

risotto-ingredients-custom-walking-tours-italyCauliflower traces its ancestry to the wild cabbage, originally from Asia Minor, which back then resembled kale more than the vegetable that we recognize today. As it evolved into its current form, it appeared in the Mediterranean region, where it has been found on tables in Turkey and Italy since at least 600 B.C. Italians introduced it to France in the mid-16th century, where it became the rage at the court of Louis XIV.

risotto-cooking-custom-cycling-tours-italyThere are many ways of preparing cauliflower – roasting, steaming, poaching, or enjoying it raw. I found a very interesting recipe for a cauliflower risotto Jamie’s Italy cookbook by Jamie Oliver. The cauliflower is poached in the risotto stock, and becomes so soft you can crush it and it disappears, becoming part of the creamy risotto – delicious! I’ve adapted it a bit here, replacing the anchovy flavored breadcrumbs with bacon or pancetta flavored, more in keeping with the traditional cuisine of Sudtirol.

Enjoy with a nice crisp white wine from Alto Adige, such as this wonderful aromatic Kerner from Abbazia di Novacella.

Risotto ai Cavolfiori

1 cup stale bread pieces
2 slices pancetta or bacon or speck from Alto Adige
1 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 head cauliflower
2 tablespoons butter, divided
6 cups vegetable or chicken broth
1 onion, cut into 1/4” dice
2 stalks celery, peeled and cut into 1/4” dice
1 cup risotto rice (Vialone Nano, Carnaroli, Arborio)
1/2 cup white wine
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup grated aged grana cheese

Place the bread, pancetta and hot red pepper flakes in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a saute pan and fry the breadcrumbs, stirring and tossing until golden brown. Remove from heat.

Trim the leaves off the cauliflower and cut out the stalk. Finely chop the stalk and cut the florets into small pieces, about 1 inch in size.

Bring the stock to a simmer in a large pot, and add the cauliflower florets.

Combine the remaining olive oil and butter in a heavy, large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the diced onion, celery and chopped cauliflower stalk and slowly cook over low heat until soft and translucent, about 15 minutes. Stir in the rice to coat with the oil, and cook for 1 minute.

Add the white wine and stir, cooking until absorbed by rice. Begin to add the broth, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring after each addition and waiting until the broth is absorbed by the rice before adding the next 1/2 cup.

After about 10 minutes of cooking, when the grains of rice are beginning to soften, begin to add in the cauliflower florets as you add the stock. The florets should be quite soft at this point, and you can crush them into the rice. Continue to add the stock and cauliflower until the rice is cooked – it should be tender, but still firm to the bite, al dente. You may not use all of the stock – you should cook just until done, not until the stock is gone! The amount of cooking time will depend greatly on the type of rice, the age, and relative humidity, so use your judgement.

Turn off the heat. Add in a last 1/4 cup of broth, the remaining tablespoon of butter, parsley and the grated cheese. Cover the pan and allow to sit for 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, garnish with the seasoned bread crumbs and some celery leaves, and serve immediately.

risotto-close-private-ski-tours-italy

Posted in Kerner, Risotto, Travel, Trentino Food, Uncategorized, Vegetables, Wine Pairings | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Nals Margreid – Wines from Alto Adige

nals margreid exterior bike tours italyItaly’s northernmost wine growing region is Alto Adige, also known as South Tyrol. Located in the northeastern corner of Italy, this region was part of the Austrian-Hungarian empire until the close of World War I. It is a fascinating region to visit, with an eclectic mix of cultures and cuisines – a intriguing and lovely area we explore on our cycling tours, hiking tours, and ski adventures. The mountainous terrain and the proximity of the Mediterranean combine to create one of Italy’s most diverse regional cuisines. These same influences make possible the extraordinary diversity of wines produced in this region.

nals margreid view ski holidays italyOn a recent visit to the region, I stopped by one of the more well-known wine producers in this region. Nals Margreid is a cooperative of about 140 small growers located in Alto Adige. The cooperative was formed in 1985 by the merging of The Cellars Nalles, established in 1932, and Magre-Niclara, established in 1954. A wine cooperative is a collection of growers who join together to share technology and centralize functions such as production, vinification expertise, and marketing. Cooperatives are typical in this region, where vineyards tend to be small and located at higher altitudes in mountainous terrain. Today, the growers of the cooperative cultivate a wide range of local varieties in over 150 hectares (about 370 acres) of vineyards.

nals margreid cantina cycling tours sudtirolThe vineyards of Nals Margreid are distributed over 13 wine growing areas in South Tyrol (or Sudtirol), from Nals, a small town in the north between Merano and Bolzano, to Margreid in the south. These areas vary great in their micro climate and soils, as well as elevations that range from 650 feet to 3000 feet. Don’t let the northern location fool you – this region enjoys an average of 300 sunny days each year. Warm currents from the Mediterranean arrive from the south, colder air from the north is blocked by the main ridge of the Alps. The result is a significant change in temperature between day and night, allowing the grapes to develop a great balance between fruity ripeness and crisp acidity.

nals margreid vineyardsThe growers of Nals Margreid use organic methods wherever possible. The overarching principle that drives all aspects of production is the importance of preserving the characteristics of the soil, micro climates, and grape varietals in the wine; the notion the French refer to as “terroir”. Winemaker Harald Schraffl oversees the production of all the Nals Margreid wines, seamless blending of the fruits of a wide variety of vineyards and varietals. The winery produces several blends, varietals, as well as a handful of single vineyard wines.

nals margreid tasting ski holidays italyI have had a few Nals Margreid wines here in the US. Masciarelli Wine distributes Nals Margreid at stores here in the Boston area. A few I’ve sampled here in the US include:

nals margreid sirmian ski holidays italy

 

 

 

Sirmian Pinot Bianco 2010

An award winning wine from Nals Margreid, this Pinot Bianco consistently earns 3 glasses from Gambero Rosso. A Pinot Bianco with enormous structure and depth, with aromas from apples to citrus and peach. Creamy, with a salty minerality and fresh acidity, it is an excellent apertif with, and pairs well with light pasta and risottos and fish.

 

 

 

 

 

galea schiava full bottle wine bike tours italy

Galea Schiava 2011

A very interesting, and relatively unknown varietal from Alto Adige, Schiava is a black skinned grape that carries many names; in Alto-Adige with its dual languages of German and Italian, it is Vernatsch in German, while Italians use Schiava, which means ‘slave’. This same varietal grown in limited quantities in Germany, where it is known as Trollinger. These wines have been primarily produced for export to German-speaking countries to the north, but just recently Nals Margreid has begin exporting to the US.

The Galea Schiava is produced from 100% Schiava grapes which have been cultivated in the exceptional Galea Vineyard. Some of the vines here are more than a hundred years old, and the strict selection process ensures the grapes used in production will result in a top quality wine.

This wine is bright ruby red, lighter in color, with a wonderful fruity nose. It is a very drinkable, lighter wine, with lots of berries flavors that mix with a nice earthy spiciness and a sound acidity. The finish is persistent, with a slight pleasant bitter note. The best pairing for a lighter wine like this with a sharp acidity is an antipasti featuring the traditional mountain cheeses and cured meats of Alto Adige. It would also go well with pizza, or a pasta with meat ragu.

 

nals margreid lagrein ski holidays italyLagrein 2010

Lagrein is a red grape native to the Lagarina valley in Trentino-Alto Adige. A very distinctive, native red with strong herbal notes, it is used in red and rosé wines. Lagrein grapes produce wines that exhibit a high acidity, and even the free run juice is tannic. In order to produce varietal Lagrein wines, winemakers either age in oak barrels, or for younger fresher wines, process the juice to remove some tannins before fermentation.

The Nals Margreid Lagrein is an intense garnet red, with strong aromas of berry and cocoa. Pleasant and fresh on the palate, with flavors of dark berry and cherry, and notes of tobacco and mushrooms. Full flavored and dry, with a nice acidity makes it a great wine to pair with game, braises and stews.

 

 

During my visit to their cantina, I was able to taste a few more of their wines unavailable here in the US.

nals margreid chardonnay cycling tours sudtirol

 

 

 

Magrè Chardonnay

A nice crisp Chardonnay, with flavors of tropiclal fruit and ripe pineapples. Well balanced, salty, with a fresh acidity. A nice wine to enjoy with first courses and seafood.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

nals margreid sauvignon ski holidays italy

 

 

 

Mantele Sauvignon

A lovely Sauvignon with lively flavors of citrus, grapefruit, and melon with sweet floral notes. Well-balanced with a vibrant spiciness and a creamy consistency. Fresh, with great body and a long finish. Enjoy with vegetable dishes, and lighter pastas and risottos.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

nals margreid gries lagrein ski holidays italy

 

 

 

Gries Lagrein Riserva

Margreid’s Gries Lagrein Riserva comes from the historic vineyards of Gries, near Bolzano. This wine ages for 20 months in small barriques, mellowing tannins and producing a fruity and aromatic bouquet of ripe berries, cherry and chocolate. Full-bodies and well-structured, velvety and elegant, crisp and fresh. A wine to enjoy with grilled lamb, pork, beef and game.

 

 

 

 

 

nals margreid anticus cycling tours sudtirol

 

 

Anticus Riserva Merlot • Cabernet Baron Salvadori

This blend of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, this is a lovely, elegant red with ripe aromas of ripe forest berries, currants and violets. Nicely balanced, sophisticated, refined tannins and a persistent finish, it would pair wonderfully with hearty fare, like braised or roasted meats.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Where to purchase Nals Margreid wines in Boston area. If any of these don’t carry them, they will be happy to order them for you.

Downtown:
Federal Wine and Spirits
Boston Wine Exchange
BRIX
Bacco’s

South End:
BRIX
Urban Grape

West Suburbs:
Urban Grape (Chestnut hill)
Spirited Gourmet (Belmont)
Concord Wine & Spirits

North Suburbs:
Henry’s (Beverly)
Pairings (Winchester)
Leary’s  (Newburyport)

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Focaccia al Rosmarino e Aglio – Focaccia with Rosemary and Garlic

foccacia rosemary private bike tours italyWhenever I have a hankering for fresh homemade bread, but not the time nor energy to indulge myself in the rather time consuming process, focaccia is my treat of choice. Focaccia is a traditional Italian flatbread that is easily prepared – a simple dough that can be quickly made in a food processor, doesn’t need to be formed into a complicated shape, and with countless variations, there is always a new flavor to enjoy. I’ve long lost count of the many ways we’ve found it prepared on our Italiaoutdoors Food and Wine Italy tours. I turned to Carol Field’s book, “Focaccia”, for a start on this post. Dedicated to this single subject, it contains over 50 recipes for savory, stuffed, and even sweet focaccia.

foccacia oven bike tours italyFocaccia dates back to ancient Rome, when panis focacius was a flat bread baked on the hearth. The word comes from the Latin focus meaning hearth, or place for baking. It is most commonly associated with the region of Liguria, on the Mediterranean, where each small village seems to have it’s own favorite recipe, from flat and hard bread to soft, light, and loaded with the local fruity olive oil. Recco and Verese in Liguria are renowned for their focaccia filled with the local cheese, focaccia col formaggio. Other stuffings range from eggplants and tomatoes in Sicily, mussels in Puglia, and any conceivable combination of vegetables. A slice of focaccia stuffed with mozzarella and prosciutto has been a welcome snack along many of our cycling tours. In Puglia, some areas add mashed potatoes to the dough, resulting in a thick, light and fluffy focaccia. In central Italy, focaccia is called schiacciata or stiacciata, from the Italian word “to smash”. When in Venice, we find fugassa around Easter, the equivalent to Christmas’s panettone. A richer version, with the addition of eggs, flour, butter and sugar topped with sugar and almonds, crusty on the outside, moist and golden inside. In many wine regions you will find a sweet focaccia topped with grapes and sugar during harvest time.

kneading foccacia active private bike tours tuscanyThe recipe below started from one of Carol Field’s recipes, with several modifications. Many recipes, and my own personal experience, recommend using a starter, or biga, to begin. This is a mixture of flour, water, and a bit of yeast that is allowed to enjoy a long, slow rise. This initial fermentation develops a richer flavor profile, giving your focaccia a more complex taste. I do this as often as I remember, but don’t always succeed in beginning the night before. When that happens, I begin the starter only a couple of hours in advance, using a bit more yeast. In a pinch, I skip the starter altogether, and increase the main recipe by the amount of yeast, water and flour needed for the starter. Not quite as good, but still satisfies!

foccacia sponge private bike tours italyHere’s my favorite version, with rosemary, garlic, sea salt and flavored with your best extra virgin olive oil. Salty and savory, best enjoyed still warm from the oven.

foccacia ready oven private bike tours italy
Focaccia al Rosmarino e Aglio

Makes 2 10-12” focaccia rounds

Starter:

1/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water, 110°
1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour

Dough

Leaves from 2 sprigs rosemary
2 cloves garlic
2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for kneading, adjusting if necessary
3/4 cups whole-wheat flour
1 tablespoon sea salt
1 1/4 cup warm water, 110°
1 1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling on top
Starter

To make the starter:

Sprinkle the yeast over the warm water in a medium bowl, whisk it it and let stand until bubbly, about 10 minutes. Stir in the flour. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let sit overnight. It should be bubbly and thick.

To make the dough:

Place the rosemary leaves and garlic into the bowl of a food processor. Using the steel blade, pulse until minced.

Add 2 1/2 cups of the all-purpose flour, the whole-wheat flour and the salt to the food processor. Scrape the sides to incorporate the garlic and rosemary. Pulse to combine.

Transfer the starter into a large quart glass measuring cup, with a spout. Add the 1 1/4 cup warm water, the 1 1/2 teaspoon yeast and the 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil. Stir gently to combine. Use a bowl if you don’t have a large enough measuring cup, then transfer.

With the motor running, add the liquid ingredients to the flour, pouring the liquid down the feed tube. The dough should come together into a rough ball of dough that leaves the sides of the food processor bowl pretty clean. If it is too moist to form a ball, add some additional all-purpose flour. Add this flour a tablespoon or so at a time, pulsing to combine after each addition. You want a rough ball of dough that holds together and pulls away from the sides of the food processor. When this happens, stop adding the flour. At this point, knead the dough by processing for 30 seconds.

Lightly flour a work surface, and turn the dough out on the flour. Knead for a few moments by hand to check the consistancy; you want the dough to be moist, but not so sticky that you cannot handle it. Add more flour if needed. Form into a ball.

Coat a large bowl with olive oil. Put in the ball of dough, flipping it around so all sides are coated with oil. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm area (68 – 72°) to rise until doubled, about 2 hours.

Brush two sheet pans with olive oil. Punch down the dough, and divide into two halves. Focaccia is best eaten the day it is made, so if you won’t consume two loaves, freeze one of the halves to use another day. (Place it as a ball into a resealable plastic bag. Defrost for a couple of hours at room temperature.)

Place each half on a sheet of parchment paper, and form into a round disc, about 1/2 inch thick. Pick up the parchment paper and focaccia and place on the sheet pan. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for an hour. While the focaccia is rising, preheat the oven to 425°. Use a baking stone if you have one.

Uncover, and dimple the dough with your fingertips, creating lots of little round indentations. Drizzle with more olive oil, and sprinkle with additional chopped rosemary and sea salt.

Place the focaccia in the oven, either on the sheet pan, or pick it up using the parchment paper and place directly on your baking stone. Bake until the crust is crisp and the top is golden, about 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from oven, and pan, and cool on a wire rack.

foccacia close private bike tours italyNote: No food processor?

Mince garlic and rosemary.

Place starter plus all liquid ingredients, garlic and rosemary in a large bowl. Mix to combine. Add the flours and salt, reserving about 1/2 cup of the flour. Mix to combine into a rough ball of dough, slowly adding the last 1/2 cup of flour as needed. You want a soft dough that is just dry enough to handle; if it sticks to your fingers, add a bit more. When it stops sticklng, stop adding flour.

Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 8 – 10 mintues until smooth. It should bounce back into shape when you poke it with your finger.

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