Who wouldn’t love to sit in the sun at an outdoor café in Italy sipping a chilled glass of wine and eating a favorite Italian meal? Unfortunately, we can’t travel to Italy yet and many of us are still staying close to home. But that doesn’t mean we can’t create a bit of Italy in ourselves. Coleen Kirnan and Rhonda Vilardo, the owners, and hosts of Tuscan Women Cook, the unique and popular culinary vacation located in the heart of Tuscany, want to bring a bit of Italy to home kitchens during this pandemic. Tuscan Women Cook is about celebrating the food and culture of the Tuscan region of Italy ensconced in the charming village of Montefollonico.
A favorite summer meal is Pasta Fredda. Pasta Fredda, “cold pasta” or “pasta salad”, is the perfect pasta dish for spring or summer, although it can be served year-round. It is generally served chilled or at room temperature and is a popular dish throughout Italy for warm weather picnics and buffets. Tuscan Women Cook has prepared the recipe using just five ingredients plus the pasta. Feel free to add your own ingredients—vegetables, beans, nuts, seafood, poultry, and cheeses such as Parmesan and feta.
1 package (8 ounces) short pasta, such as farfalle or tubetti *
20 cherry tomatoes cut in half
7 ounces bocconcini (small balls of mozzarella cheese), or any size fresh mozzarella cut into 1.5-inch pieces
¾ cup black olives, pitted and cut in half
6 or more fresh basil leaves, torn into two or three pieces
Extra-virgin olive oil
Salt to taste
Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta following the box instructions for the time, or until al dente. Drain and cool to room temperature. Combine chopped tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil in a large serving bowl. Add the pasta to the tomato mixture, combine, and drizzle with olive oil to taste.
* If you have small amounts of different shaped pasta in your pantry, combine them for a unique presentation.
Arianna Moldovan, from Tuscan Women Cook, shows you how to prepare Pasta Fredda:
Recipe reprinted with permission of www.TuscanWomenCook.com.
During each day of Tuscan Women Cook’s week-long program, their group of 18 participants learn to cook authentic Italian recipes from some of the best cooks in all of Italy…the local grandmothers, or “nonnas.” These extraordinary women teach their cooking classes sharing family recipes that have been handed down from generation to generation.
And after a day of cooking, eating, and wine tasting, participants are taken on shopping and sightseeing trips in the many beautiful villages and towns of Tuscany, with maybe a little more wine tasting and afternoon gelato sampling, ending each day with a memorable gourmet dinner in the region’s top locales.
Los Angeles-based Coleen Kirnan and Rhonda Vilardo are two inventive business dynamos who decided to take a career risk that changed their lives. In 2016 they purchased Tuscan Women Cook, a career move that changed both of their lives personally and professionally.
For more information on Tuscan Women Cook, visit their website, www.TuscanWomenCook.com.