Exploring The Career Of Italian Chef Valeria Piccini (With Some Of Her Best Recipes)

Italian cuisine has always enamored food enthusiasts around the globe with its harmonious blend of flavors, rich history, and the passion infused in every dish.

Among the many culinary geniuses Italy has produced, Valeria Piccini stands tall, offering dishes that are not only delicious but also echo the essence of Italian traditions.

Valeria Piccini Recipes

In this article, we’ll take a swift tour through Italian chef Valeria Piccini’s career, and we will share some of her best recipes.

Let’s get cooking!

Who Is Valeria Piccini?

Valeria Piccini is a renowned Italian chef acclaimed for her dedication to preserving the age-old culinary traditions of the Maremma region in Tuscany.

With a keen sense of flavor and a commitment to sourcing the best local ingredients, Piccini’s dishes are a testament to her profound respect for her culinary roots.

Her journey in the culinary world is inspiring, having started in the family restaurant and eventually ascending to be one of Italy’s most celebrated chefs.

Valeria Piccini’s Cookbooks

Valeria has released two notable cookbooks, both in Italian. These are:

1. Cucina madre (Italian Edition)

This cookbook by Valeria Piccini delves deep into the heart of traditional Italian home cooking.

Drawing inspiration from her own experiences, familial recipes, and the time-tested culinary traditions of Italy, Piccini presents a delicious collection of meals that pay homage to dishes that were passed down through generations.

The book is a treasure trove of authentic Italian recipes intertwined with personal anecdotes and memories that breathe life into every page.

2. Caino. La cucina di Valeria Piccini

Da Caino is the name of Piccini’s famed restaurant, renowned for its exquisite Tuscan dishes. In this cookbook, she unravels the culinary secrets behind her establishment’s success.

Every recipe is a reflection of her dedication to preserving the rich culinary heritage of Tuscany while introducing innovative twists.

Valeria Piccini’s Restaurants

Da Caino

Caino, in the hilltop town of Montemerano, is Valeria Piccini’s crown jewel.

The restaurant, which she runs with her family, is set in a picturesque locale and has been awarded multiple Michelin stars over the years.

The ambiance, combined with Piccini’s impeccable dishes, offers diners a holistic experience that goes beyond just food.

It’s a journey through the flavors and history of Maremma, narrated through every plate served.

Valeria Piccini’s Recipes

1. Apple Millefeuille With Star Anise And Spiced Ice Cream

The millefeuille, traditionally a French pastry, is given an Italian twist by infusing it with the aromatic star anise, while the apples provide a classic, fruity counterpoint.

The delicate layers of puff pastry are crispy yet buttery, enclosing a lush filling of silken pastry cream subtly perfumed with star anise.

The spiced ice cream is where Tuscany meets winter wonderland. The foundation of the crème anglaise offers a creamy base, enhanced with a whisper of cinnamon that evokes memories of festive seasons.

The melting chocolate and slivered hazelnuts add texture and richness that contrasts beautifully with the lightness of the millefeuille.

To complete this culinary masterpiece, the apricot sauce provides a tangy contrast, its natural acidity perfectly offsetting the sweetness of the dessert.

This recipe is not just a testament to Valeria Piccini’s ability to combine traditional elements with innovative ideas but also a showcase of how flavors from different culinary worlds can come together in harmony, creating a dessert that’s both familiar and excitingly new.

2. Acquacotta

This is a rustic soup that hails from the Maremma region of Tuscany.

Valeria Piccini’s rendition, the Acquacotta of Butteri, pays homage to the butteri, or the cowherds of Maremma, who needed hearty and nutritious meals to sustain their demanding work.

At its heart, this dish is an embodiment of simple yet flavor-packed ingredients coming together.

The sweetness of medium-sized white or blonde onions melds beautifully with the rich flavors of peeled tomatoes. As they stew together, the basil leaves infuse their aromatic essence into the mixture, reminiscent of the Tuscan countryside.

The meat broth adds depth and umami, while extra virgin olive oil lends a luxurious richness to the dish.

Into this bubbling concoction, fresh eggs are carefully dropped and poached, adding a touch of protein and a creamy texture that contrasts beautifully with the chunkier elements of the soup.

Stale Tuscan bread, known for its distinctively thick crust and chewy interior, is added, soaking up the flavorsome broth and adding body to the soup.

As with many rustic Italian dishes, the Acquacotta is finished with a generous sprinkling of grated Parmesan, enhancing its savory notes. For those who enjoy a touch of heat, salt, black pepper, and chili pepper are added to taste, ensuring a warming kick with each spoonful.

3. Salt Cod With Four Sauces

This particular recipe for Salt Cod with Four Sauces showcases the versatility and richness of flavors that can accompany this simple yet luxurious ingredient.

At the heart of the dish lies the thick, white slices of best-quality salt cod. Their naturally savory profile is enhanced by a crust of fresh breadcrumbs mingling with aromatic rosemary and the gentle kick of crushed chili peppers.

Add to that garlic, and each bite of the fish promises to be an explosion of flavors.

However, the true brilliance of this dish is unveiled through its quartet of accompanying sauces.

The fresh tomato salsa, vibrant and tangy, contrasts beautifully with the saltiness of the cod, making every bite refreshingly balanced.

The sweetness of the sultanas, having absorbed all the water’s plumpness, offers a delightful surprise, which pairs wonderfully with the earthy crunch of the lightly toasted pine nuts.

The thinly sliced onions, slightly caramelized, bring out a sweet undertone, while the capers, having shed their excessive saltiness after a soak, pop with a tangy punch that’s quintessentially Mediterranean.

4. Caino’s Coffee-dusted Cacio e Pepe

Traditionalists may raise an eyebrow, but true culinary artistry lies in the balance between respecting tradition and introducing innovation.

Valeria Piccini’s Caino’s Coffee-dusted Cacio e Pepe is a testament to this delicate dance of flavors and traditions.

Cacio e Pepe, which translates to “cheese and pepper,” is a Roman dish renowned for its simplicity: pasta, Pecorino Romano cheese, and freshly cracked black pepper.

It’s a dish that stands as a testament to the idea that sometimes, less truly is more.

But in Piccini’s hands, this beloved classic is given an unexpected twist.

Imagine the creaminess of the cheese, the bite of the pepper, and then a surprising hint of bitterness and depth from a dusting of finely ground coffee.

The coffee doesn’t overshadow; instead, it deepens and adds complexity, offering a subtle roasted note that complements the sharpness of the cheese and the warmth of the pepper.

The genius of Caino’s Coffee-dusted Cacio e Pepe lies not just in the addition of coffee but in the understanding of how its flavors can be harmoniously integrated into an age-old dish, creating a conversation between the old and the new.

5. Crunchy Ricotta Ice Cream Sandwich

From the rolling hills of Tuscany to the vibrant streets of Sicily, Italian cuisine offers a myriad of flavors that are as diverse as they are delightful.

One such creation that showcases the magic of Italian dessert-making is the Crunchy Ricotta Ice Cream Sandwich, a treat that promises a burst of freshness with every bite.

At the heart of this dessert is the ricotta ice cream. Ricotta, a soft and creamy cheese, brings a delightful texture and subtle taste that pairs beautifully with the sweetness of candied orange and citron peel.

The hint of rum, not too overpowering, adds a warmth that contrasts with the coolness of the ice cream.

When using Ewes’ milk ricotta, if available, the ice cream gains an added depth, making each mouthful even more luxurious.

Then comes the crunchy element: the biscuits. Filo pastry, known for its ultra-thin layers, becomes irresistibly crispy when baked.

Lightly buttered and dusted with a mix of cocoa powder and icing sugar, these biscuits provide the perfect counterbalance to the creamy ice cream.

To finish, a sprinkle of grated chocolate adds an extra touch of indulgence, elevating the dish from a simple dessert to a gastronomic experience.

In Summary

Valeria Piccini is a superstar in the Italian culinary scene, illuminating the path for many by showcasing the potential of traditional dishes when they’re crafted with authenticity and love.

Whether you’re seated at Da Caino or trying your hand at one of her recipes, you’re guaranteed a genuine taste of Italy, delivered with the warmth and passion only Piccini can provide.

Exploring The Career Of Italian Chef Valeria Piccini (With Some Of Her Best Recipes)

Recipe by Barbara HuntCourse: Other Recipes, Recipes


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Barbara Hunt


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