In This Issue
Zucchini - Summer's Bounty
Zucchini Ripieno (stuffed zucchini
Tuscan Mini Week - October
The Palio
Zucchini with Blossoms
  Zucchini with blossoms

Zucchini steamed with Mint or Basil
zucchini with mint

Quick Links



2014 Food & Wine Tours


Sept 27 -Oct 4th- 2 open spots 


Bologna & Tuscany

October 12 - 19 - open spots

Campania / Napoli

Sept 17 - 24th- sold out


Taste of Tuscany

October 6-10


Join us this year for a full immersion to the regions of Tuscany, Emilia Romagna and Campania - great food, wine, history and culture!   

2015 Dates planned... 


Vacation Villas
& Farmhouses

Casa Marta
Great accommodations for either a night or a week. When planning your stay in Italy, begin your 'country living' on a Saturday and depart the area the following Saturday for the best selection of villas and houses! 
There are several houses will good availability for this year. Call for more information.
Contact Mary: 972.342.8308 
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Living in Tuscany
Do you have a dream to live in Tuscany? An owner Mary works with for weekly rentals is selling 2 of his houses in the Chianti Classico. Located on an absolutely beautiful winery estate, owning a slice of Tuscany might be a dream come true! He's had several interested...but no one's bought yet. If you would like more info, contact Mary. Perhaps you can go see them this year - they are available for weekly rental through the end of this year.
Ecco La Cucina Cookbook

gina's cookbookGina's cookbook is now revised and updated with more than 20 new recipes. This collection of traditional Tuscan cooking, features dishes of the Siena area and some of her favorites. 



Cari amici,  
We hope you are enjoying the bounty of the summer season - with all the vegetables and fruits! Gina has featured Zucchini in her blogs this month celebrating this versatile vegetable with a different recipe each day. One recipe is featured on the link below to read more.

Gina will be the guest chef at Lilly's Bistro in Louisville, Kentucky for 2 dinners this week featuring the delights of the summer season. There are just a few spots left for the dinners. Call to them directly to make your reservations!
Click here to see the menu and more info.
We are excited for our fall cooking classes and culinary tours to begin next month. We'll be Campania and Tuscany! Forming a mini tour for early October - more info below. 

Gina and Mary  

Zucchini - Summer's Bounty 

This is the time of year that the zucchini you've left on the vine just keep getting bigger and bigger and  you're wondering if you should even bother to pick them.  Grandma called them 'gagootz".  And why wouldn't you call them that?! - it's such a fun name!  They're the huge zucchini that people refuse and won't buy and farmers can't sell.  But they're still juicy and can be stuffed and baked or grated for pancakes or relish or bread, which we'll get into later in this zucchini series.



Here's a picture of two foot long gagootz in the field.  I picked them and baked some great stuffed zucchini! Try to get them cheap at a farmers market.


So, get a big gagootz, slice it in half lengthwise and scoop out all the big seeds, leaving a margin of 1/2 inch around the edge.  Put the two halves in a baking dish, drizzle with great extra virgin olive oil and a sprinkle of salt, then stuff them and bake them til done.  You can dress them with a little pesto or tomato sauce, but I usually just eat them as is.   

To read more about Zucchini click here!



Buon appetito!

Gina signature 

Zucchini Ripieno (stuffed zucchini)


This is an excellent summer recipe when the zucchini in the garden have gotten too large and have big seeds, not great for sautéing but perfect for stuffing.


 2 large zucchini

 2 lb ground meat, beef, lamb and/or pork sausage 

Extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, chopped 

3 garlic cloves 

1 tbsp parsley, choppe
1 tbsp tomato paste
1-2 cups chopped tomato 
¾ cup grated Parmigiano or pecorino Roman
1 tbsp basil, chopped 
Bread crumbs, optional 
Sea salt & pepper


Cut the zucchini in half lengthwise, being careful to maintain even halves. Scoop out the inside of the zucchini, leaving the halves about ½ inch thick, depending on how big the zucchini are. Chop the zucchini you've scooped out and put aside.  Sauté the onion and garlic until the onion is clear, add the extra chopped zucchini and the tomato paste and chopped tomatoes, sautéing for a few minutes. Put the mixture in a bowl and add the meat, cheese, basil and salt & pepper to taste. If you'd like to add bread crumbs, mix those in as well. 


Place the zucchini halves on a baking dish and coat with olive oil and a sprinkle of sea salt. Stuff the mixture into each half, pressing down to fill, drizzle with olive oil.  Put a little water in the bottom of the pan to keep them moist.  Bake the zucchini until browned and bubbling. They can be served hot or at room temperature.

Italy in October?
We have a mini Taste of Tuscany tour beginning October 6-10 (dates changed slightly). This all- inclusive tour includes 4 nights lodging, cooking class with Gina in the old mill, wine tour day, truffle hunt and visits to 2 area hilltop towns. Special pricing for this week. Contact Mary - she will help you plan the rest of your time in Italy.
The Palio trip was second to none!
We had a fantastic time experiencing the Days of the Palio. The events leading up to the actual race were exciting and almost indescribable with all the traditions. Gina shared the insights and strategies of the events and race and really made it special for everyone.
The Palio (silk banner) pulled by oxen in Piazza del Campo
"I can't even begin to tell both of you how much I enjoyed my time in Italy soaking up the culture, food, wine, and most of all the Palio.  It was truly a "bucket list" trip that I will never forget.  I enjoyed our group and both of you could not have been more accommodating.  As I relive some of my memories, I am amazed at the pace we kept and the beautiful surroundings at every turn.  I have tried to explain this adventure to my friends, but soon discovered that it's just impossible to relate hundreds of years of tradition that IS the Palio and the deep pride imbedded in these people.  My best story to my friends is about following the horse into the chapel for the benediction by the priest.  I think that is one of my favorite memories." 
- Sherry H., Dallas, TX

Enjoying the Villa garden after the Trial races