7 Sienese recipes

Sample Sienese cooking at its finest with these recipes full of Medieval influences but packed full with modern flavours from seven of the Italian city’s finest restaurants.

1. Tomato bread soup with mussels and cuttlefish

Serves: 4


1kg fresh mussels
½ kg fresh cuttlefish
1 onion
500g canned tomatoes
Sprig of basil leaves
1 ground chilli pepper
300g stale bread
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt to taste


1. Fry the onion adding the tomatoes, basil and chilli pepper. Leave to cook for 15 minutes, add the bread and carry on cooking on a low heat for another 15-20 minutes.

2. In the meantime, steam the cuttlefish and lightly sauté the mussels in a pan with parsley and extra virgin olive oil.

3. Serve the bread soup putting the cuttlefish in the centre of the dish surrounded by the mussels.

Recipe supplied by Liberamente Osteria

2. Pappardelle with wild boar sauce and black olives

Serves: 4


2 bay leaves
1 garlic clove
1 onion
1 carrot
1 celery stick
250g wild boar meat
250ml red wine
1 tbsp tomato concentrate
10 black olives
260g pappardelle
Salt to taste
Extra virgin olive oil

1. Finely chop the vegetables, garlic and bay leaves and lightly fry in the oil over high heat.

2. Add the wild boar meat (previously minced), season with salt, add the red wine and reduce.

3. Cook for three hours. Half-way through the cooking, add the tomato concentrate. Cook the pappardelle in rapidly boiling salted water for about five minutes.

4. Drain and sauté the pasta with the wild boar sauce, adding the black olives.

Recipe supplied by Ristorante Pizzeria Due Archi
Address: Pian dei Mantellini, 48

3. Mushroom and pigeon risotto

Serves: 4


300g rice
50g porcini mushrooms
1 pigeon
Half a white wine onion
50g butter
50g grated pecorino cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
Extra virgin olive oil

1. Lightly fry the onion in four tablespoons of oil and half the butter in a saucepan until transparent.

2. Add the pigeon cut into quarters, season with salt and pepper and brown well. Pour some of the wine. When the wine has evaporated, baste the pigeon with a little stock, leave to evaporate and continue adding stock until the meat is cooked.

3. Bone the pigeon carefully and put the meat in the saucepan again.

4. Add the mushrooms, previously left to soak and then chopped up, and the rice, cooking everything by adding stock.

5. To serve, add the rest of the butter and sprinkle with pecorino cheese.

Recipe supplied by Trattoria Fonte Giusta

4. Pan-cooked rabbit

Serves: 4


500g boned rabbit
2 carrots
3 onions
2 celery sticks
3 garlic cloves
2 sprigs of rosemary
1 sprig of parsley
15 juniper berries
Chilli pepper to taste
750ml white wine
3 slices of ‘rigatino’ bacon (or normal smoked)
1 sausage
3 tbsp of tomato concentrate
1 cup of stock
Extra virgin olive oil


1. Lightly fry the carrots, onions, garlic, celery, parsley, rosemary, chilli pepper and juniper berries. When browned, add the bacon (cut into small pieces), the sausage and rabbit. Brown well.

2. Add the white wine and leave to evaporate; add the tomato concentrate, stock and leave to cook on a low heat for 40 minutes.

Recipe supplied by La Taverna del Capitano
Address: Via del Captiano, 6/8

5. “Cinta” pork fillet with speck and braised radicchio



4 “cinta” pork fillets, 5-6cm thick
4 slices of speck (Tyrol smoked ham)
1 red trevise or radicchio lettuce
250ml white wine (eg Vernaccia)
Vegetable stock
Cocktail sticks
Salt to taste
Extra virgin olive oil

1. Line the pork fillets with the slices of speck, roll and hold with a toothpick.

2. Put everything in a pan over a high heat, with a little of the oil.

3. Brown for some minutes, discard excess oil and and add the white wine, heating until nearly evaporated. Add the stock and carry on cooking for seven to eight minutes.

4. In the meantime, sauté the radicchio, thinly sliced, in a pan with some oil. Turn into the serving plates by placing the fillet without the toothpicks on a base of braised radicchio.

5. Serve alongside roast potatoes and seasonal vegetables.

Recipes supplied by L’Osteria del Bigelli

6. Beef fillet with pecorino cheese, mayonnaise and pears

800g fillet of beef

2 pears
3 egg yolks and 1 whole egg
50g grated ‘romano’ pecorino cheese
50g grated, well-seasoned ‘toscano’ pecorino cheese
Juice of 1 lemon
½ tsp white wine vinegar
1 tsp mustard
1l vegetable oil
½l extra virgin olive oil
Salt, to taste



1. Put the three egg yolks and the whole egg in a round-bottomed bowl, adding a pinch of salt, the lemon juice and slowly start stirring with a whisk adding the vegetable oil first and the extra virgin olive oil after, until the right density is reached.

2. Add the half teaspoon of vinegar and after that the mustard. Leave to set in the fridge for half an hour and after that add the cheeses by stirring from the bottom to the top with a wooden spoon.

3. Leave to set in the fridge for a further 15 minutes.


1. Peel and slice the pears and put in a bowl with water and the juice of half a lemon. We recommend the preparation of the pears while the fillet is in the oven because if the pears are left too long in the water and lemon, they will lose their flavour.

1. Grease a non-stick pan with extra virgin olive oil, heat and brown the whole fillet on all sides, season with salt and pepper. Once it is browned stop cooking and leave to rest on a grid placed on a baking tray for about five minutes.

2. Put the fillet with the baking tin and grid in an oven, heated to 200ºC, for about eight-nine minutes and after that, slice the fillet into 12 rounds, making sure the internal temperature is about 34-40ºC.


1. With the mayonnaise, make three circles with a diameter slightly larger than the fillet rounds, place the fillet in the circles, placing a slice of pear on top. Serve.
Recipe supplied by La Sosta di Violanta

7. Duck in red wine


1 duck
300g chicken or duck livers
250ml red wine
3 tbsp tomato concentrate
1 onion
2 garlic cloves
1 sprig of parsley
1 celery stick
1 sprig of rosemary
1 chilli pepper
A few sage leaves
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt, to taste


1. Finely chop the onion, garlic, parsley, celery, rosemary and put in a pan with the olive oil and the chilli pepper. When the vegetables are well-browned add the skinned duck. Add the chopped chicken or duck livers.2. Brown everything together and after that pour in the red wine. When reduced, add the tomato concentrate. Cover with warm water, salt and carry on cooking on a low heat for about an hour.

Recipe supplied by Trattoria Papei

Address: Piazza del Mercato, 6

These recipes have been taken from Great Sienese Cooking, which features 96 mouth-watering dishes born in the Middle Ages and are now part of the gastronomy of the new millennium thanks to the chefs of the city of the Palio. An original book with splendid photos by Bruno Bruchi, colourful graphics by Alessandro Grazi, publishing coordination by Barbara Latini, and made in collaboration with the Comune di Siena.

3 traditional Easter recipes from the South of Italy

Throw an Easter dinner party with classic Casatiello, Ciaudedda and U’ cutturidd’ recipes from the Italian South, taken from Katie Parla’s new recipe book…


Favas, Artichokes, and Potatoes


This springtime stew is made in that narrow period in which artichokes and favas are both in season and the young favas are sweet and tender. It’s not quite brothy, having absorbed most of the liquid during the simmering process, but it’s not dry, either. It can be a side dish or even a main, and in fact it’s quite popular as a secondo around Lent (minus the pancetta, of course).

Serves 4 to 6 

Reprinted from Food of the Italian South. Copyright © 2019 by Katie Parla Photographs copyright © 2019 by Ed Anderson. Published by Clarkson Potter, an imprint of Penguin Random House, LLC

Reprinted from Food of the Italian South. Copyright © 2019 by Katie Parla Photographs copyright © 2019 by Ed Anderson. Published by Clarkson Potter, an imprint of Penguin Random House, LLC


  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup diced pancetta
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 garlic clove, smashed
  • Sea salt
  • 3 tender young artichokes, cleaned and quartered
  • 2 potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • Handful of chopped fresh herbs (such as marjoram, thyme, mint, parsley)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ cup white wine
  • 4 cups vegetable broth or water, warmed
  • 10 ounces shelled fresh fava beans

How to make it:

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over low heat. When the oil begins to shimmer, add the pancetta. Cook until the pancetta fat has rendered, about 10 minutes, then add the onion and garlic and season with salt. Cook until the garlic just begins to turn golden, about 5 minutes, then add the artichokes, potatoes, herbs, and pepper. Season once again with salt and stir to combine the ingredients.

Increase the heat to high and add the wine. Bring to a boil and cook until the alcohol aroma dissipates, 2 to 3 minutes, then add enough broth to cover the artichokes halfway. Return to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook until the artichokes and potatoes begin to soften, 10 to 12 minutes. Add the favas, cover, and cook until the favas are soft and most of the liquid has been absorbed, about 20 minutes. If it looks like it’s drying out too much, add more broth as needed (you may not need all the broth). Season with salt and pepper. Serve warm or at room temperature.

U’ cutturidd’

Lamb Stew

This Easter dish from the Murgia, the plateau straddling central Puglia and eastern Basilicata, is ancient shepherd food. The stew is called cutturidd’ d’ pecura vecchia in dialect in Basilicata, where it is made with mutton, and u’ cutturidd’ in Puglia, where it is made with suckling lamb. It was traditionally cooked in a pignata, a terra-cotta vessel that would be sealed with bread dough to steam the meat inside as it cooked, like a South Italian shepherd’s pie. This is a simplified version cooked in a pot on the stovetop.

Serves 6 to 8

Lamb Stew (Shutterstock)

Lamb Stew (Shutterstock)


  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3½ pounds bone-in lamb shoulder or shank, salted in advance and cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 garlic clove, smashed
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • Sea salt
  • 1 peperoncino or 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • ½ (14-ounce) can whole tomatoes, crushed by hand
  • 2 quarts Brodo di Agnello (lamb stock) or beef stock
  • Leaves from 6 sprigs fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1 bunch wild fennel, chopped (optional)
  • Freshly ground black pepper

How to make it:

Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. When the oil begins to shimmer, add the lamb, working in batches as needed to prevent overcrowding, and sear for 3 to 4 minutes, until golden brown on all sides. Remove the lamb from the pot and set aside.

Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the garlic and onion. Season with salt and cook until the onion is soft and translucent, about 15 minutes. Add the peperoncino and bay leaves and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the wine and scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. When the alcohol aroma dissipates and the liquid has nearly evaporated, about 3 minutes, return the lamb to the pan. Add the tomatoes and enough stock so the meat is mostly submerged (you may not need all the stock). Season with salt. Cover the pot with the lid ajar and simmer until fork-tender but not quite falling off the bone, about 1½ hours. Add more warmed broth as needed to keep the lamb mostly submerged. Just before serving, stir in the parsley and wild fennel. Season with salt and black pepper. Serve at room temperature or reheated the next day.


Easter Bread 

South Italy’s tables are renowned for their decadent holiday meals, but nothing quite rivals the multi-day feast of Easter. Especially after the ascetic Lenten period, devout Catholics are eager to break their fast and commemorate the resurrection with symbolic foods. For South-dwellers and especially Neapolitans, Casatiello is the iconic savory bread for this holiday time. The best versions feature lard from recently slaughtered pigs and inlaid eggs symbolizing the Resurrection.

Serves 12

Reprinted from Food of the Italian South. Copyright © 2019 by Katie Parla Photographs copyright © 2019 by Ed Anderson. Published by Clarkson Potter, an imprint of Penguin Random House, LLC

Reprinted from Food of the Italian South. Copyright © 2019 by Katie Parla Photographs copyright © 2019 by Ed Anderson. Published by Clarkson Potter, an imprint of Penguin Random House, LLC

For the dough:

  • 600 grams (4¾ cups) bread flour
  • 2 grams (1 teaspoon) active dry yeast
  • 10 grams (2 teaspoons) sea salt
  • 1 gram (2 large pinches) freshly ground black pepper
  • 50 grams (¼ cup) lard, plus more for greasing
  • 300 grams (1¼ cups plus 2 tablespoons) filtered water

For the filling: 

  • 60 grams (2 ounces) lard, at room temperature, plus more for the pan
  • 2 grams (heaping 1 teaspoon) freshly ground black pepper
  • 75 grams (2½ ounces) finely grated
  • Pecorino Romano or Parmigiano Reggiano
  • 150 grams (5 ounces) salami, cut into ½-inch cubes
  • 150 grams (5 ounces) cooked ham or mortadella, cut into ½-inch cubes
  • 150 grams (5 ounces) provolone or emmenthal cheese, cut into ½-inch cubes
  • 60 grams (2 ounces) semi-aged pecorino, cut into ½-inch cubes
  • 60 grams (2 ounces) cured pancetta, cut into ½-inch squares, ⅛ inch thick
  • 60 grams (2 ounces) prosciutto, cut into ½-inch squares, ⅛ inch thick
  • 4 hard-boiled eggs (optional)
  • 1 egg, beaten

How to make the dough: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine the flour, yeast, salt, pepper, lard, and filtered water. Mix on low until the dough starts to come together and there is no more dry flour in the bowl, about 2 minutes. Increase the speed to medium and mix until smooth, elastic, and soft, but not sticky, about 10 minutes.

Turn the dough out onto a work surface, shape into a tight ball, and return to the bowl of the stand mixer. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow the dough to rest at room temperature until it has almost tripled in size, about 3 hours.

When the dough has risen, make the filling: If you are going to bake eggs into the top of the casatiello, cut away about 60 grams (2 ounces) of the dough and set it aside to use as “egg cages.” Roll out the remaining dough into a rectangle that measures approximately 12 × 20 inches. (This can be done on an unfloured surface thanks to the fat content of the dough, which will keep it from sticking.) Using a spatula, spread the lard over the dough. Sprinkle the pepper and Pecorino Romano over the lard. Distribute the salami, ham, provolone, semiaged pecorino, pancetta, and prosciutto over the dough, pressing lightly and leaving a 1-inch border along the edge of the long side of the dough farthest from you.

Starting from the long side closest to you, roll up the dough as tightly as possible without tearing it so you have a 20-inch-long roll. Seal the roll by pinching the seam along its entire length, then pinching closed the open ends, stuffing in any rogue bits of cheese or salami before sealing Grease a Bundt pan.

Fit the roll snugly inside, connecting the ends by pinching them together. Place the 4 hard-boiled eggs (if using) on top of the dough, spacing them an equal distance apart. Gently press them into the dough. Roll the reserved dough into 8 equal strands and fasten them around each egg in the sign of a cross. Press the ends into the top of the casatiello. Cover with a kitchen towel and set aside to rise at room temperature for 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Brush the egg over the dough and bake until the casatiello starts to brown, about 1 hour. If it darkens too quickly, cover with aluminum foil for the remaining baking time.

Remove the casatiello from the oven and set aside to cool for 1 hour before unmolding. Unmold and allow the casatiello to rest on a wire rack for 2 hours and up to 18 hours before slicing. Serve at room temperature or lightly toasted.

Reprinted from Food of the Italian South. Copyright © 2019 by Katie Parla Photographs copyright © 2019 by Ed Anderson. Published by Clarkson Potter, an imprint of Penguin Random House, LLC

Reprinted from Food of the Italian South. Copyright © 2019 by Katie Parla Photographs copyright © 2019 by Ed Anderson. Published by Clarkson Potter, an imprint of Penguin Random House, LLC

Katie Parla moved to Rome in 2003 after graduating from Yale. She holds a sommelier certificate and a master’s degree in Italian gastronomic culture. She writes about Roman food and beverage culture, and has contributed to and edited many travel guides. She often appears as a Rome expert on the History Channel and the university lecture circuit. 

Her book Food of the Italian South includes 85 authentic recipes and 100 stunning photographs that capture the cultural and cooking traditions of the Italian South, from the mountains to the coast. Katie Parla shares rich recipes, both original and reimagined, along with historical and cultural insights that encapsulate the miles of rugged beaches, sheep-dotted mountains, meditatively quiet towns, and, most important, culinary traditions unique to this precious piece of Italy.