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Tuscany in the Fall: Ristoro L’Antica Scuderia

Tuscany in the Fall: Ristoro L’Antica Scuderia

Tuscany in the off-season is a rare pleasure. Fewer tourists, no sticky, hot nights once the summer heat has passed, and a slower pace. On our last night, we headed to the tiny Medieval town of Badia a Passignano, set in the hills of the Chianti Classico region, or as a friend used to call it “The Black Cock Place” – referring to the black cockerel that is the emblem of the area’s wines (get your mind out of the gutter). The stables there have been transformed into a stylish osteria, named aptly, Ristoro L’Antica Scuderia (Italian for “The Old Stables Restaurant”).

Ristoro L’Antica Scuderia, Badia a Passignano, Italy

This isn’t the only fabulous restaurant in the tiny town – La Scuderia is right down the street from the Antinori restaurant Osteria di Passignano, which is attached to the Antinori wine producing family. If you leaf through a wine menu in America, chances are at least one of its Chianti’s will be an Antinori wine. But I digress. The much more casual Scuderia boasts some incredible charcuterie…

Charcuterie Board at La Scuderia

a great selection of local cheeses…

Cheese board at La Scuderia

and some of the thinnest, most evenly charred pizzas I’ve ever had:

Thin Crust Pizza at La Scuderia

Cutting the Thin Crust Pizza

Beyond the pizza oven, the restaurant’s tiny kitchen is entirely women-run, and home to an incredibly pared down truffle pasta. The chef, who grew up in a restaurateur family, and was responsible for refurbishing the restaurant to its current glossy state, can be seen here preparing this dish. Three words. Truffle. Pasta. Butter.

Chef cooking the pasta for the Truffle Pasta

Pasta going into the pan with butter

Shaving the white truffles

Truuuuuffles!

Ever the optimist, I communicated with her via my limited and unbeautiful Italian, and there was a lot of polite nodding, but what was incredible to me was that she runs an entire restaurant out of a pizza oven and a minute kitchen, and not only are the dishes up to snuff, they are all the more beautiful in their simplicity. She moved with precise, almost brusque gestures, but whether it was a plate of perfectly al dente pasta with butter and chiffon-thin shaved white truffles, or incredible charcuterie, each dish was made with the confidence that comes with being a female chef in a macho field in a macho country…or just the sure knowledge that she is damn good.

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About francoiseeats

I'm currently working as a freelance travel and food writer, and photographer. I spent two years at StarChefs.com, the culinary on-line magazine for the industry insider. My articles have been published in New York, NY and Richmond, VA. After graduating from Columbia University and recovering from the tragedy of not being able to read Camus books for a living, I attended The Culinary Institute of America, where my scone consumption rose drastically. Fluent in French and Italian, I've worked in some of New York's top restaurants and covered food-related stories in a number of publications, from The Richmond Times-Dispatch to Time Out New York.

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