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Agretti.  Also known as “Monk’s Beard.” It’s not well-known outside of Tuscany.  But, today, I’m sharing a spring-time secret that Lulu and I enjoy here in Arezzo – with you – wherever you are!

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Don’t imagine that if you’re in Tuscany during the spring you’ll readily come across Agretti. In fact, some quite smart American expat friends of mine who have lived here for many years and are fluent in the language and most of the customs, had never heard of it before.  But, I was fortunate enough to be taught about this springtime delicacy from the terrific sorelle, or sisters, who run the small bottega known as “Frutta a Go-Go.”  Love that name.

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Marianna and Gioanna encouraged me to buy Agretti for the first time last spring.  The Mediterranean plant looks like a blend of chives and Kentucky bluegrass to me. You can buy it fresh, loose and in handfuls from the market or pre-packaged in grocery stores like I did yesterday.

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It’s easy to prepare.  Here are all the ingredients I used from my kitchen as le sorelle told me to simply boil it in salted water just like pasta, then drain and drizzle with olive oil – extra virgin, ma certo!

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In just about three or four minutes, drain it, place it on a platter, sprinkle it with a little extra sale grosso and olio oliva and ecco!  You have a fresh-spring tasting accompaniment to any April or May meal.

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Look around in Italian or specialty grocers near you.  Agretti is worth the search.

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Buon appetito! (…piatto pulito as Lulu would add!)

Ciao!

Gina

 P.S. Have you ever cooked Agretti?  Ever heard of it? What recipe did you use? Would love to hear from you!

 And, of course, for more stories of the wonderful food of Tuscany, you’re invited to buy my new book, “Because I’m Small Now and You Love Me” – adventures between me and Lulu here in Arezzo!  A must for any one who loves traveling and children – but not necessarily traveling with children. 😉

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