Casa Bellavista Charming Bed & Breakfast in Cortona countryside, Tuscany

Idea Regalo Contatti

Cooking school… by Simonetta

Simonetta introduces you to her kitchen, full of books, spices,  jars full of dried fruit… and naturally with her pots and pans hanging from the wall, because there is no room left.

Cooking courses are a full immersion in her lifestyle, a mix of food and culture, but also of practicality. Learn to make dishes which you can easily reproduce at your home,  and you will amaze yourselves creating ravioli, fresh pasta, gnocchi, pizza…

Simonetta will teach you the simple but important tricks of everyday cooking, such as how to substitute an ingredient at the last moment, but what really counts is to have a passion for food… and some fresh herbs at hand.

The dishes are those of traditional Tuscany, such as duck seasoned with wild fennel, meat ragout, tagliatelle with tomato sauce, cantucci biscuits, but also Renaissance dishes, such as duck with orange sauce and carabaccia, taken to France by Caterina De Medici in the XVth century, and then gained popularity as the famous Soup à l'Oignon.

Included are the classic dishes of Italian cooking, such as Pizza, Ricotta Cheese and Spinach Ravioli, potato gnocchi, stockfish salad, and many more!

Participants can be from one to a maximum of six people, all working with the ingredients to create the final dish, all following the various steps and being allowed to taste… but above all we aim to have fun

After the cooking course comes the best time - to eat the food, and so “tutti a tavola”, together with a good glass of wine…

Recipes by Simonetta


  • 1 kg. peeled tomatoes (canned)
  • 600 gr. chicken liver
  • 600 gr. minced veal
  • 200 ml. extra virgin olive oil
  • 200 gr. minced pork
  • 50 gr. parsley
  • 4 tablespoons parmigiano
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 celery stalk
  • 1 small carrot
  • ½ onion
  • salt and pepper

Finely chop the vegetables and herbs and sauté slightly in extra virgin olive oil for a few minutes.  Add the pork  Stir and cook for 15 minutes.  Then add the veal.  After 10 minutes add the chicken liver, previously chopped.  Cook over medium heat until the meat is dry (30 minutes).  Use a hand blender to crush the tomatoes.  Add them gradually to the meat and cook for at least another hour at very low heat,  stirring occasionally. Season with salt and pepper. 

Focacce with aromatic herbs and spices

  • 700 gr plain flour
  • 400 gr of warm water
  • 25 gr fresh yeast
  • 10 table spoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoons salt
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • rosemary, thyme, sage etc.

Place flour, yeast, oil in a bowl and mix until smooth, then add the salt, adding water if too hard. Work the dough energetically on a board for 10/15 minutes. 

Replace in the bowl, cover with cling film and put in a warm place, it is important that there not be abrupt temperature change, for at least two hours. 

Take a small amount of dough at a time, knead well and add the chosen aroma (Rosemary, Thyme, Salvia, Curry, Chilli, Oregano, Chives). Roll out to about 2cm and leave to rise again on a greased baking tray.

After at least an hour brush the dough with a mixture of equal parts of oil and water, add salt and cook at 180° for 15/20 minutes.

Fresh pasta with fresh tomatoes sauce

  • For the pasta
    • kg. 400 ‘00’ white flour
    • 4 eggs
    • Extra Virgin olive oil
  • For the sauce
    • kg. 1,5 tomatoes
    • basil
    • garlic
    • salt
    • Extra Virgin olive oil

For the pasta:

Place the flour in a large bowl and put the eggs, oil in the centre. Mix thoroughly and then turn onto a board. Knead by hand until smooth. Roll thinly with a rolling pin, then cut into strips.

For the sauce:

Fry the garlic in the oil until blond. Add the tomatoes, cut in half, then salt and cook for a few minutes. Add the basil at the last minute.

Boil a large saucepan of water, add salt and a drop of oil. Cook the pasta for a few minutes, drain and toss with the sauce.

Duck with wild fennel flowers

  • 1 duck
  • 10 sage leaves
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 2 rosemary sprigs
  • 2 teaspoons wild fennel flowers
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Mince the sage, rosemary, garlic, fennel flowers, salt and pepper.  Rub the mixture onto the duck, both inside and outside. Massage the outside for 10 minutes.

Place in a roasting pan (breast side down) and bake for at least 1 hour.  Turn the duck over and drain off the fat. Bake for another hour.

Cantucci: Tuscan biscuits with almonds

  • 500 gr. cake flour
  • 250 gr. Sugar
  • 300 gr. almonds
  • 150 gr. Butter room temperature
  • 4 uova
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • pinch of salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Place the flour in a mound on a board and make a hole in the centre.  Break the eggs into the middle, add the sugar and salt.  Mix well.  Add the softened butter, minced  lemon zest, almonds and baking powder.

Knead thoroughly by hand until everything is integrated.  Make into rolls of 3 to 4 cm. diameter and around 20 cm. long.

Bake on parchment paper on a cookie sheet  for about 20 minutes.

Allow to cool and then slice diagonally.  Place the slices back on the cookie sheet   and broil for just a few minutes on each side.

Potato gnocchi with fresh tomatoes

  • For the gnocchi
    • 1 kg. potatoes
    • 250 gr. flour
    • 3 tablespoons salt
  • For the sauce
    • 1 kg. ripe tomatoes
    • 50 ml.extra virgin olive oil
    • 15 basil leaves
    • 5 tablespoons parmigiano
    • 3 cloves garlic
    • salt and pepper

For the gnocchi:

Boil the potatoes with the skins in salted (2 tablespoons of salt) water.  Peel and pass them through a ricer or food mill, letting the potatoes fall onto a board. Add the flour to the potatoes. Mix and add the remaining salt. Knead until smooth.  Divide the dough and roll into a long, round strand (about 2 cm. In diameter) with your fingers. Cut into small pieces and crease slightly with a fork. Cook in plenty of salted water.

For the sauce:

Sauté the chopped garlic in extra virgin olive oil until it becomes golden. Cut the tomatoes into pieces and stir them into the garlic. Add salt and pepper to taste and cook for 10 minutes.  At the last minute stir in the basil (broken into pieces).

Combine the gnocchi and sauce.  Sprinkle with grated parmigiano.

Spinach and ricotta ravioli

  • For the pasta
    • 300 gr. flour
    • 3 eggs
    • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • For the filling
    • 500 gr. fresh ricotta
    • 200 gr. spinach, sautéed with extra virgin olive oil
    • 50 gr. grated parmigiano
    • salt and pepper
  • For the sauce
    • 70 gr. butter
    • 7 leaves of sage
    • pinch of nutmeg
    • salt and pepper

For the pasta:

Place the flour in a large bowl and put the eggs and extra virgin olive oil in the center. Mix thoroughly. Then place the dough on a board.  Knead by hand until smooth.  Roll  with a rolling pin until dough is thin.  

Put a little of the filling on a strip of pasta and then cover it with another strip of pasta.  Cut the ravioli with a mould...and continue until all the filling is used.

Prepare the sauce by gently melting the butter with the sage, salt, pepper and nutmeg.  Boil the ravioli in salted water and toss it in the pan with the butter sauce.  Serve with Parmigiano.