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Welcome to delicious Destinations, a GourmetStation blog. Through the charater of T.Alexander and occasional real-life guests, our aim is to share with you light-hearted fun ideas about food, gift giving, entertaining and culture. At the same time we would love you hear from you. Please share your experiences from home or abroad.

Springtime at Casa Bellavista

Posted: March 19, 2007
by: Dave, Edie & Simonetta

Spring mornings are a special time of day at Casa Bellavista.  The sunrise warms the Val di Chiana.  Sometimes, the bells of the Abby di Farneta ring, breaking the silence.  The olive trees, fig trees and peach trees of the orchard stretch their branches to the warmth of the morning sun.  Across the valley, the City of Cortona awakens to a new day.


It is a bit of a busy time for Simonetta who operates this wonderful Tuscan bed and breakfast.  There is gardening to do, flowers to be watered and rooms to be readied for guests.  Even in Tuscany, beautiful days can be busy days. 


Spring is also when the Frutta e Verdura truck from the south of Italy starts its’ season of bringing prodotti fresci to Casa Bellavista. The truck brings a selection of finocchio, cipolle, pomodori, melone, limone, arance, spinaci, and  mozzarella fresca  di bufula.  The men, who drive the truck, are good negotiators of prices, but Simonetta is more than a good match for them and is able to do well in refilling the pantry for la cucina di Casa Bellavista.  One recent time, when the truck left, the kitchen table was full of pomodori, cipole, spinaci and some mozzarella fresca  di bufula.


Like many mothers, Simonetta had a challenge...what to do with spinaci freschi. Filippo and Carolina, her children, like many children do not consider spinaci to be their favorite vegetable.  The challenge was to figure out how to use the spinaci so Filippo and Carolina would eat it.  After a little time to think, the decision was easy.  It was time to make Gnocchi di Spinaci, a great spring dish. What a clever way for a mama to get her children to eat spinaci.



Ingredients: (Serves four persons)

· 600 grams of boiled spinach
· 300 grams of sheep’ ricotta cheese
· 80 grams of flour (0 grade)
· 2 egg yolks
· 100 grams Parmigiano  Reggiano
· Sage
· Butter
· Nutmeg
· Pepper
· Salt
· 250 grams béchamel sauce (very liquid)


Pass the spinach through a blender and wring out as much liquid as possible.  Add the egg yolks and ricotta cheese, the parmigiano reggiano, the flour and salt and pepper.  Work the ingredients together into classic gnocchi dough.  Roll the dough out and make the gnocchi

For the seasoning sauce, in a large pot dissolve the butter at a low temperature, add the leaves of sage, salt, pepper and nutmeg.  To bring out the flavour, cook for a few minutes on a low fire.  Then, add the béchamel (this will serve to render it all more creamy).  Boil the gnocchi in abundantly salted water.  Drain them and cook them for a few minutes in the prepared sauce.  To your taste, add the Parmigiano Reggiano and ground pepper.

Let us know if you like this recipe.  We may include it in the cookbook we are writing.

Boun appitito…


Edie and Dave

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