Pull Apart Caprese Bread

Simple Ingredients:

Easy Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

  2. Combine olive oil with basil, garlic, salt and pepper. Add tomatoes, set aside to marinate for 5 minutes.

  3. Slice bread bowl into 1/2 inch checkerboard, being careful to not slice completely through the bread. Place the bread on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.

  4. Stuff marinated tomato mixture in between the bread bowl slices, distributing evenly.

  5. Add mozzarella to the bread structure.

  6. Insert toothpicks in bread then carefully cover with a foil tent to prevent foil from sticking.

  7. Bake for 12 - 15 minutes, or until cheese has melted.

  8. Remove the foil, place under broiler for 4 minutes or until lightly browned.

  9. Transfer bread to a platter and drizzel with Gold Label balsamic vinegar for the perfect finishing touch.

  10. Serve and enjoy with your favorite Villa Graziella Organic wine!

RecipesAmy WrightComment
White Balsamic Peach Spritz

We are so excited to introduce our newest product, Organic Certified White Balsamic Condiment - but what is it and how do you use it?

Our Condimento Balsamico Bianco is a clean vinegar that adds depth of flavor to food without changing its color (like that of it’s counter part, balsamic vinegar.)

Versatile, it pairs with strong flavored dishes and more delicate, subtle foods. Deglaze roasted beef or pork, dress a lightly broiled fish, use in a dip for tempura fried vegetables, fish & meat, or drizzle over a fresh citrus salad.

This week, we have used it in a completely different way - in a fun fall cocktail - White Balsamic Peach Spritz!

Simple Ingredients:

Easy Instructions:

  1. Combine the peach preservatives, white balsamic condiment, and vodka in a cocktail shaker. Add ice and shake well.

  2. Strain into cocktail glass of choice and top with prosecco.

  3. Garnish with fresh basil leaf and sliced peaches.

  4. Serve an enjoy with your favorite lite bites or small plates. Saluti!

Tried, Tasted & True! At Villa Graziella Organic our team tries & tastes every recipe we feature. While we love to share our family recipes & those of talented home cooks & chefs, sometimes we adapt them so they are even easier to make. As with our products, our goal is for you to have a healthy & delicious experience using Villa Gabriella recipes. So try them out in your kitchen, feel free to tweak them & please tell us what you think.

We welcome your comments & feedback!
Grazie da Team VILLA GRAZIELLA
clientservice@villagraziellaorganic.com

Click here for inspiration recipe!

RecipesAmy WrightComment
Wine Aging: Oak Barrels vs. Stainless Steel Tanks
WINE AGING.jpg

The grapes are harvested, crushed and fermented. Next, in the vinification or winemaking process is aging. Lasting 5 months to several years, in stainless steel or wooden barrels, preferences range from heavily toasted wood for strong, prominent flavors to no wood aging. Is one better than the other? What’s the difference?

Luca at Stainless Steel Tank

Aging in stainless steel is neutral, it adds nothing more to wine than a container to hold it as it evolves and matures before bottling. Winemakers who steel age believe it “allows the grape varietal to speak without any influence of wood”. They maintain the terroir (vineyard’s elevation, type of soil, position of a hill or slope, weather nuances, orientation to the sun) is more clearly expressed in steel aging, resulting in complex yet not overly complicated wines. Advocates use a food metaphor, like homemade vegetable soup, steel aged wine taste better when flavors are left on their own to combine, evolve & unfold. Steel aging produces wines with fruit forward aromas and a fresh, crisp taste.

Some winemakers choose steel aging due to their durability over wood which needs to be replaced every two-three years. The cost savings using steel over several years to investing in wooden barrels costing up to $2,000.00 each are notable.

The opposite from steel, wood fermentation and aging affect the wine’s taste & mouth feel, adding aromas, tannins and textures. The Romans adopted wooden barrels for easier transportation than clay amphorae. Wooden barrels are porous, exposing the inside to outside air, allowing wine to slowly breathe or oxygenate. Smoothing, softening or “rounding out” wine, the evaporation concentrates flavors or mouth feel.

Oak the wood of choice, stores liquid without resin or sap residue and strong yet pliable enough to form a barrel. Oak aged wines impart a creamy texture from Malolactic, secondary fermentation, distinct aromas, and plethora of tastes; caramel, cinnamon, coconut, marshmallow, nutmeg, smoke & toasted bread. Oak can be new with strong flavors, or older and more nuanced. Charred or toasted the staves (vertical bands of wood) can be toasted lightly to densely charred imparting robust aromas & flavors.

Luca at Oak Barrel

United States oak is porous with pronounced aromas banana, coconut, even dill pickle. Highly regarded French oak with a solid grain is prized for producing wines with structured tannins and refined butterscotch, vanilla aromas. Slavonian oak is known for fruit & woody note aromas.

Short cuts to save time and money are increasingly common using oak staves, chips, powder even oak concentrate, i.e. liquid oak during fermentation and aging to adjust a wine’s character.


Taste & terroir aside, not sure if you prefer steel to wood aged wine?

ask your trusted wine merchant for examples of both types of aging. Compare, contrast, learn and more importantly enjoy the tasting experience of different steel or oak aged wines.   


Amy WrightComment
Roasted Corn Salad

Roasted Corn Salad

Corn or maize was first cultivated by the indigenous people of Mexico over 7,000 years ago. It migrated through North to South America. It was introduced in Europe by Christopher Columbus. Native Americans bred corn from wild grasses and taught European settlers how to grow it.

A favorite vegetable, we added ripe tomatoes, avocado, parsley and Villa Graziella Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil for a simple & delicious salad or side dish. Makes approx. 6 servings

Easy Ingredients

  • 4 ears of fresh corn on the husk

  • 1 tablespoons Villa Graziella Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil

  • 2 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered

  • 1 large ripe avocado quartered

  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley finely chopped

  • 1 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper

  • 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt

Simple Directions

  1. Soak corn on husks for 1-2 hours in cold water

  2. Roast ears over medium heat-5 minutes on each side

  3. Remove from grill, place in a sturdy brown paper bag

  4. Allow corn to steam in the closed bag 10 minutes

  5. Cool corn & shuck from husks-which make great garden compost

  6. Mix corn with tomatoes & avocado

  7. Drizzle veggies with olive oil

  8. Sprinkle chopped parsley & combine

  9. Season to taste with pepper & sea salt

  10. Serve & enjoy!


RecipesChristi SinclairComment
Olive Oil Lemon Bundt Cake

Olive Oil & Lemon Bundt Cake

Using Villa Graziella Organic, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, we tweaked a recipe from the spruce for a moist, delicious dessert. Easy to make, suitable year-round, enjoy it after dinner, the next day for breakfast or as an afternoon snack. 8 Servings

Easy Ingredients

  • 1 cup Villa Graziella Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for bundt pan

  • 6 large eggs room temperature

  • 2 1/2 cups granulated turbinado sugar (Sugar In The Raw)

  • 1/3 cup lemon juice plus 1 tablespoon lemon juice, divided

  • 1/2 cup vanilla soy milk

  • 1 teaspoon sea salt

  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

  • Confectioners’ sugar for dusting

Icing ingredients

  • 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar

  • 1 tablespoon almond soy milk

  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

  • 2 teaspoons poppy seeds

Simple Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F, lightly oil & flour a 12-cup Bundt pan set aside

  2. In a small bowl, combine soy milk & 1 tablespoon of the lemon juice, mix until just combined, set aside

  3. Combine dry ingredients in a medium-sized bowl sift flour, baking soda, salt & nutmeg together until well-mixed, set aside

  4. Combine wet ingredients; in a large bowl, using an electric hand mixer on a medium-speed, beat together sugar, eggs & olive oil

  5. Beat for 4-5 minutes, until mixture is pale yellow color, add remaining 1/3 cup lemon juice & beat until combined

  6. Add the flour mixture with soy milk-lemon juice mixture; alternate between dry & wet ingredients. Start & end with the flour mixture, beating well between additions

  7. Mix until incorporated, do not overmix

  8. Pour batter into prepared Bundt cake pan, bake 50-60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean

  9. Allow cake to cool for 30 minutes in the pan on a wire rack, carefully turn the cake onto a plate or wire rack to cool completely

  10. Dust with confectioners' sugar or prepare below icing onto cooled cake

  11. Serve & enjoy at room temperature or cold. Can’t finish it all in 1 day? Cover tightly to prevent from drying out

Icing Directions

  1. Combine confectioners' sugar & poppy seeds in a medium bowl

  2. Gradually whisk in the almond soy milk & lemon juice until the mixture is smooth

  3. Icing should be runny enough to run down the sides of cake, but not too runny that it doesn't dry white on the cake

  4. If mixture is too thick, add a tablespoon more of almond milk, if too runny, add a tablespoon more of confectioners' sugar

  5. Once cake has cooled completely, drizzle icing over top. Allow icing to set completely before serving

See inspiration recipe here https://www.thespruce.com/lemon-olive-oil-bundt-cake


Stuffed Zucchini
1.jpg
2.jpg
3.jpg
4.jpg
5.jpg
6.jpg
7.jpg

Stuffed Zucchini

In late summer, early fall, backyard vegetable gardens are abundant with zucchini, varieties range from Climbing, to Milan green, Round or White. Part of the squash family, zucchini originated in Central & South America and brought back to Europe by Christopher Columbus. The word Zucchini comes from the Italian word zucchini or little squash. We stuffed our zucchini with ground beef & turkey for a healthy & delicious dinner. Serves 4-6

Easy Ingredients

  • 4 zucchini, washed, dried

  • ½ pound ground turkey or beef

  • 2 organic eggs room temperature

  • 3 cups tomato sauce or puree, flavored sauce not necessary

  • ½ cup fresh breadcrumbs

  • ¼ cup fresh grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

  • 3 tablespoons Villa Graziella Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil

  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg, freshly grated if possible, pre-ground jarred quickly loses flavor

  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Simple Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350˚F

  2. Trim the stem & cut each zucchini in half lengthwise

  3. Scoop out the center sections with a melon baller or small spoon, set aside

  4. In a large bowl, combine eggs, cheese & meat with a fork or wooden spoon, do not overmix

  5. Add breadcrumbs, nutmeg, salt, pepper to the bowl & combine

  6. Using your hands, fill each zucchini halve with meat mixture, press to fill each halve so it mounds the top of the zucchini

  7. Spread tomato sauce or puree evenly over the bottom of a baking dish

  8. Arrange zucchini on top of the sauce, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle parmesan cheese

  9. Cover dish loosely with aluminum foil, bake for 30 minutes or when meat is browned, remove from oven & let rest 3 minutes

  10. Serve hot or cold, enjoy with Villa Graziella Chianti DOCG

Helpful tips: Shred remaining zucchini filling in zucchini bread, muffins or pancakes. Or cube zucchini filling, sauté in olive oil, add pesto for a side dish. Cook cubed zucchini in olive oil, blend into a vegetable soup.

Inspiration recipe found at the magazine of La Cucina Italiana

Fresh Strawberries & Red Wine
1.jpg
2.jpg
4.jpg

Fresh Strawberries & Red Wine

Did you know strawberries are a member of the rose family & the only fruit with seeds on the outside? Rich in vitamin C, the ancient Romans prized strawberries for their medicinal properties eating them to treat fever, fainting & even kidney stones. From spring through early fall, strawberries are a healthy & delicious dessert. They taste even better with a splash of red wine, lemon juice, a bit of sugar & fresh mint. The berries absorb the wine, and lemon juice while macerating making a naturally sweet syrup with fresh, juicy flavors. Serves 3-4

Simple Ingredients

  • 1 pint – 3 ½ cups of fresh, whole, organic strawberries

  • ½ cup Villa Graziella Organic Rosso Toscano IGT red wine, plus extra to flavor

  • ½ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

  • 2 teaspoons of sugar in the raw, plus extra to flavor

  • 1-2 sprigs of fresh mint

Easy Directions

  1. Place strawberries in a colander, gently rinse with red wine

  2. Transfer to a large bowl

  3. Trim green caps, cut in quarters or halves

  4. Add lemon juice, sugar in the raw & sprigs of fresh mint

  5. Mix thoroughly

  6. Cover & refrigerate 30 minutes to 1 hour

  7. Serve chilled top with fresh mint & enjoy!


Helpful hint: Look for unblemished strawberries, one berry that has turned will affect the others.

Once home, refrigerate strawberries and keep them dry, only trim & rinse right before using.

Inspiration recipe found here LaCucinaItalianamagazine


News from Montespertoli - Vineyard Update
vineyard

The Montespertoli vineyard is peaceful; Rows of healthy grapes bask in the bright July sun; larks & swallows fly amongst the olive trees while the gentle drone of bees buzzing in the background make for a lazy summer day. This harmonious biodiversity is kept under the watchful eye of Luca Nesi; vine canopies, clusters, plants and soil structure are carefully monitored daily to ensure the growing season progresses to veraison - when the first signs of color appear in the clusters and berries go from hard to pliable.

shutterstock_1089621935.jpg

Fortunately, the torrid June heat decreased to “normal” temperatures, currently in the upper 80’s. As a certified organic farmer & winemaker, Luca practices dry farming i.e. irrigation only via rainfall.

shutterstock_1353023294.jpg

The dry topsoil layer traps the moisture below forcing vines to work hard to retain moisture deep in the roots. This results in grapes with more fruitiness, concentrated flavors, deeper tannins and richer color. Deeper roots are also more robust and better resistant to disease. While dry farming conserves water, it relies on the increasingly erratic rainfall believed by many Italian winemakers to be a result of climate change.

Luca

As a custodian of his land, Luca’s dedication to its health and well-being is steadfast but always with respect for what Mother Nature commands. Reminding us the grapes and olives will speak for themselves again at this year’s harvest.

Amy WrightComment
Gascony Ham Cake
1.jpg
2.jpg
3.jpg
4.jpg
5.jpg
6.jpg

Gascony Ham Cake

August 15th is Julia Child’s birthday! We’re celebrating with a quick bread instead of a cake. One of Chef’s favorite regions located in Southwest France, Gascony is called “The Other South of France” but really known for their hearty cuisine & regional specialties including salted ham. We made a savory quick bread using Villa Graziella Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Enjoy it with a glass of wine as an appetizer or with a salad for dinner. Yields approx. 15 slices.

Simple Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup Villa Graziella Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil, plus extra for brushing the pan

  • 2 cups baked ham or thick prosciutto, cut into ¼ cubes

  • 2 cups coarsely grated or cut Gruyère or Emmentaler cheese

  • 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour

  • 1/2 cup milk

  • 3 large eggs, room temperature, lightly beaten

  • 1 package dry yeast

  • 1 teaspoon sea salt

  • 1 teaspoon cracked black pepper

*1/3 cup small-diced, pitted Niçoise olives (approx. 1 ¼ ounces), can also be added with flour & ham

Easy Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350◦ degrees, arrange rack in the oven to the center. generously brush a loaf pan with olive oil

  2. In a large bowl whisk eggs, milk & olive oil

  3. In a separate bowl combine ham & flour

  4. Add wet ingredients into bowl with ham & flour, do not over mix, combine with 10-12 swift strokes, batter will be thick with a few traces of flour

  5. Fold in cheese to batter

  6. Add salt, pepper, sprinkle yeast & mix

  7. Pour batter into a loaf pan, distribute evenly to each corner & smooth the top

  8. Bake until golden brown 50-60 minutes or if an inserted toothpick or knife into the center comes out clean

  9. Remove from oven & cool approx. 5 minutes, run a knife or spatula around edges to release.

  10. Slice, serve at warm or at room temperature & enjoy with a glass of Villa Graziella Bianco Toscano IGT

Helpful Hints: Overmixing causes bread to deflate once baked with holes. Any extra oil that oozes to the top, pour out before cooling. Overbaked bread is tough & dry, undercooked bread will collapse.

Inspiration recipe found at: Lee Bailey’s California Wine Country Cooking


Marinated Gulf Shrimp
1.jpg
2.jpg
3.jpg
4.jpg
6.jpg
7.jpg
8.jpg

Marinated Gulf Shrimp

Did you know shrimp are antioxidant rich & support brain & heart health? Lean & protein packed, we marinated wild, Gulf of Mexico shrimp. Grill each side for 3-4 minutes, twhile he honey causes the shrimp to caramelize with a subtle smokiness. Serve with grilled seasonal veggies, orzo & enjoy for lunch the next day in a salad. Serves 3 to 4.

Easy Ingredients

  • 2 pounds fresh, wild shrimp

  • 1/3 cup Villa Graziella Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil

  • ¼ cup fresh squeezed lemon juice

  • 2 ½ tablespoons organic honey

  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley finely chopped

  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire or Tamari sauce

  • 2 ½ teaspoons fresh minced garlic

  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Simple Directions

  1. Soak wooden bamboo skewers in cold water

  2. Peel & devein shrimp, refrigerate in a covered bowl

  3. In a large bowl, whisk olive oil, lemon juice, honey, parsley, Tamari sauce, minced garlic, salt & pepper

  4. Place shrimp in a large ziplock bag, toss to coat, seal & marinate in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

  5. Preheat grill to 160°F

  6. Thread shrimp onto skewers, piercing near the tail & also near the head, discard remaining marinade

  7. Lightly oil grill grate

  8. Grill 3-4 minutes per side, or until marinade begins to caramelize, do not overcook

  9. Remove from grill, let rest for 3 minutes

  10. Serve & enjoy with Villa Graziella Organic Rosato Toscano IGT

Helpful tips: Do not marinade shrimp more than 30 minutes to avoid shrimp becoming too soft.

Don’t have a BBQ? broil shrimp on a sheet pan in the oven at 350˚F for 7-8 minutes, turning once.

Click here for inspiration recipe:

https://www.theseasonedmom.com/marinated-grilled-shrimp/