More than a simple garlic!
‘Aglione di Valdichiana’ is still cultivated according to traditional techniques that have been handed down since the time of the Etruscans, the ancient inhabitants of Tuscany before the Romans. And to think that this specialty was almost extinct! Only in recent years has production been resumed by some small producers from Valdichiana. Now this garlic is included in the list of PAT (Prodotti Agroalimentari Tradizionali); a regional and national list of traditional agricultural products. This says a lot about this special type of giant garlic, whose bulbs can weigh up to 800 grams compared to 150 grams for a regular garlic. But, besides the dimensions, what are the features that distinguish this Aglione from its “cousin” aglio?
• The scent is spicy and delicate at the same time; this is because the Aglione is free of alliin, a substance that is a natural component of fresh garlic. This gives the garlic a strong and pungent smell that lingers so easily on the hands.
• Its sweet taste makes it a perfect replacement for the classic garlic in any recipe: from pasta sauces to meat or fish.
• Its easy digestibility! And the good influence on the immune system.
In Valdichiana cuisine, Aglione is most commonly used in the preparation of the tomato-based sauce of the same name, with which one can combine pici (a pasta from Tuscany, similar to a thicker spaghetti). The recipe? Nothing could be simpler: after heating (without coloring!) in a pan some extra virgin olive oil and a clove of Valdichiana Aglione sliced, add the best tomato sauce and a leaf of crumbled bay leaf plus salt and pepper udm as needed. This is the real Aglione sauce. Mix with the paste and nothing else. Cucina povera. Simplicity and beauty. It doesn’t get any better!