I’m working on a menu for a week in Umbria for 21 people. One gluten free, one with allergies to oranges, tree nuts and watermelon, one vegan, two pescatarians, two vegetarians, and one no dairy. There is a pizza oven at the house.

Saturday arrival dinner

Selection of salame and cheeseĀ (if you’re thinking to yourself, “how boring is that,” you haven’t made it to Umbria.)

Poured polenta with black olive tapanade

Roasted beet with herbs and aged balsamic 

Roasted sweet and sour onion

Yellow jewel beans from Trasimeno with soffritto 

handmade fococcia with rosemary

Salad of wild greens, olive oil and sea salt

Biscotti with dried apricot and Vin Santo

Strawberry Tart (just to sing a little Spring song)


Umbrian lasagna with bolognese, besciamella, and Parm Reggiano

Handmade gnocchi with wild mushrooms (pre roll gluten free pasta and freeze)

Braised peas and new onion finished with torn basil

Salad of arugula, raw fennel, pieces of lemon

Panna cotta with wild strawberry sauce


Start Pizza dough

Arista (pork loin on the bone) with heads of garlic, lemon zest, rosemary and sage

White risotto garnished with baby artichokes finished with nepitella

Whole carrots with rosemary and peperoncino

Swiss chard and stems with olive oil and sea salt

Poached pears (vanilla bean and white wine)

Brioche with buttercream (kids)


Pizza Margarita/spinach or mushroom

Roasted Eggplant with tomato and basil

White bean puree with fried sage

Grilled Sausage from Trabalza in Mercatale di Cortona




LATE LUNCH (dinner at Bonci)

Chicken al diavolo with herbs and lemon

Fennel seed pannelle with tomato jam

Asparagus with aioli

Roasted new potato with sea salt


Flourless chocolate cake with red wine reduction 


Free day (no lesson, just dinner)

Fresh pea soup with mint and wild oregano

Handmade potato gnocchi with pesto (pine nuts will be okay because nut allergy will have departed)

Grilled Lamb Chop (or seared if they have a decent pan)

Caramelized fennel with local honey and red onion


Olive oil cake


Pasta al pomodoro with garlic and basil

Chianina steaks on the grill

Cauliflower steaks (balsamic reduction)

Broiled Caesar salad (never broiled whole, dressed heads of lettuce, but I’m going to try because I saw it in a book in the library.)

Marinated Lentils

Cherry tomato, whole radish and olive bowls

Roasted Plum Tart with mascarpone cream



Am I nervous? Yes. But, I have a mountain of a chef coming with me, and we are going to raise it all up to a whole new temperature of delicious.

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