Tag Archives: ricotta

Toscano, Beacon Hill

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Where: Toscano - 47 Charles Street, Boston, MA 02114
When: February, 2012

There are two languages spoken within my office at work – “donor speak”, which is how we convey our mission and messaging to our donors and supporters, and “food speak” which is what Alicia, my office mate of almost 5 years, and I speak the rest of the time. We start the day asking about each others’ nights or weekends which revolves around what we ate or cooked and then we end the day by asking each others’ evening plans which involves what we are planning to eat or cook. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

It had been way too long since we had been out to dinner so we got a date on the calendar and decided on Toscano’s in Beacon Hill. I had walked by Toscano’s dozens of times before but never really noticed it or heard too much about it which, after having been there, I find surprising. The restaurant is a lot bigger than one would expect having been to a handful of the intimate (read: small) restaurants on Charles Street. It was modern but classic. The service was phenomenal with servers working together to make sure your glass never went empty and you had everything you needed. Looking around there was an elegant mother of three dining with her very well behaved kids, an older nicely dressed couple who looked as though they had been coming there for years, and a table of what appeared to be business men in suits. I could also see Toscano’s being a nice date place.Very versatile.

After debating between a bottle of wine and going by the glass, and choosing the glass, we were pleasantly surprised that their glasses of wine are actually Quartinos- a fourth of a liter. The perfect amount for a Tuesday night. I got the Sangiovese, Umani Ronchi which was just right with everything we ordered. Can’t go wrong with an Italian red when you are at an Italian restaurant really…

We started the meal sharing the Salumi Misti – Sliced Cured / Roasted Meats, Pecorino Toscano, Mixed Olives – and the Polpettini Fiorentina – Veal, Beef, Pork Meatballs, Florentine Style. The Salumi Misti plate was wonderful. I know there was prosciutto and salami on the plate but I am not exactly sure what the last item, at the bottom of the photo, was. We guessed that it was (obviously really) the roasted meat but what meat I can’t really tell you. This starter came with arugula and cheese which was a nice compliment to the olives and meats. I could have eaten an entire plate of the prosciutto alone, delicious. I had heard diners rave about the meatballs via Yelp before coming so I knew we had to order them. The meatballs, although impossible for a non-Italian like myself to pronounce without feeling silly (thank goodness for my Italian dinner date!), were delicious and huge. They were juicy and flavorful and the sauce was dynamite, a wonderful dipping sauce for the two kinds of bread that came out before our starters. Definitely a good choice.

For our entree we ordered the Gnocchi Quarttro Formaggi – Handmade Potato Gnocchi with Four Cheeses. The chef split the order for us which is always so nice instead of making a mess doing so at the table. The portions, again, were very generous. I noticed with the entree how simple the food is here. You won’t get some fancy inedible decorative piece on your plate. You won’t get some mile high presentation or anything that doesn’t need to be there. The food is honest, clean, well prepared, and delicious. The gnocchi, even in its cream sauce, were light, delicate, and well seasoned. It took everything in me to eat them one by one and not stab at my plate until I had a line of 4 on my fork to pop in my mouth.

Would you like to look at a dessert menu?” Bahahah. Of course.

As tempted as I was to get the Tiramisu the reviews were so mixed that I didn’t want to take the chance. Instead we ordered the Ricotta Cheesecake which was delicious. I know its not easy to have so many courses with cheese but we managed to power through it. The cake, like the gnocchi, gave the impression of being light and fluffy. It was just the right amount of sweet with the slight lingering tartness of the ricotta.

With dessert we ordered coffees and I have to say this is one of the best coffees I have had in a while. I’m not a coffee connoisseur or snob but this was truly delicious. I was raving about the coffee for days after wards, I need to find out the brand although I’m not sure I need a reason to be drinking more coffee than I already do.

Overall, the food was no frills, simple, delicious Italian fare (and large portions), the service was phenomenal, and the coffee alone would keep me coming back.

How did Toscano measure up? 4.5 Spoons!

Ristorante Toscano on Urbanspoon

Zucchini, Squash, and Ricotta Galette, Recipe

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With my overabundance of squash and zucchini from my Boston Organics delivery what better way to put it all to use in a galette? Its like a pie you can eat for dinner without feeling guilty.

I found this great recipe from Naturally Ella that I couldn’t wait to make, so I did! It was delicious and worked great as leftovers too. Enjoy!

Zucchini, Squash, and Ricotta Galette

Serves: 6-8

Ingredients
  • Crust:
  • 1 1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons butter, chilled
  • 2 oz cream cheese, chilled
  • 1/4-1/2 cup of ice water
  • Filling:
  • 1 medium zucchini
  • 1 medium yellow summer squash
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan
  • 1/4 cup mozzarella
  • Egg Wash:
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon water
  • Topping:
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • fresh basil
Instructions
  1. In a food processor (or a medium bowl) combine flour and salt for crust. Pulse (or cut) in butter. Once butter is mostly into small chunks, pulse (or cut) in cream cheese. (On a side note- I really love using a food processor to make this dough- less mess!) Once butter and cream cheese are in pea size pieces, pulse in 1/4 cup of water until dough begins to come together (adding a 1 tablespoon of water extra as needed.) Remove from food processor and shape into a disc (without handling the dough too much.) Wrap in plastic and place in refrigerator.
  2. To make the filling, spread zucchini and squash onto several layers of paper towels, sprinkle with salt, and let drain for 30 minutes. After that time, gently blot the zucchini and squash- set aside.
  3. For the ricotta mixture, whisk together ricotta, egg white, garlic, honey, thyme, and cheeses- set aside.
  4. Preheat oven to 400˚.
  5. On a lightly floured surface, roll the pie dough out to a 12-14″ circle and transfer to a baking sheet covered in parchment paper (you can also do an ungreased baking sheet but it wasn’t easy to remove the final product.) Spread the ricotta filling evenly over the pie crust, leaving a 2″ border around the edge. Next, evenly arrange the zucchini/squash into an overlapping pattern on top of the ricotta filling. Fold over the edges of the crust, pleating as needed to make and even circle.
  6. Combine the egg yolk/water and brush the outer edge of the crust. Drizzle olive oil on top of the zucchini/squash and place in oven.
  7. Bake galette until crust is golden brown and the cheese has puffed- somewhere between 35-45 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle with basil. Cut into wedges and serve. (this is great hot, room temp, or even straight from the refrigerator as a leftover!)