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San Donato’s Recipes Advent Calendar: Tonno del Chianti

San Donato’s Recipes Advent Calendar: Tonno del Chianti

So for this episode of San Donato’s recipes and cooking with one we have a special entry, who surely isn’t quick but it is definitely worth the wait.

Don’t be deceived by the name and the appareance of this dish. The flavour, the hazelnut color, the soft consistency, which can be “broken with a breadstick”, would rightfully make you think of tuna and yet it isn’t.

Chianti’s tuna is a recipe from the Tuscan peasant tradition. In particularly hot summers, the “lattonzoli”, which are suckling pigs, got easily sick and the farmers were forced to slaughter them. To avoid wasting the meat, they cooked the pork in a mixture of wine and spices and then preserved it in oil so that it would last until the following winter.

The recipe, which has remained unchanged over time, was rediscovered and made famous by the theatrical butcher Dario Cecchini in Panzano in Chianti.

The wine in the picture is Vernaccia di San Gimignano Riserva Benedetta

Fast and furious cookers beware!

This marvellous dish takes about 1 to 2 months to make! You’ve read correctly month, and yet we LOVE IT!

The recipe, although long and slow, is very easy to make and does not require precise doses. All you need is time, patience and high quality ingredients. I recommend, once at work, to make a lot of it, since it takes a while to prepare but keeps for a long time. Once you get past the initial prep time hurdle, it’s all downhill. Just forget the jars in a cool, dark place, and take it out

So if time isn’t your enemy, roll up your sleeves and get cooking!


Divide your pork into large pieces; Cecchini’s original recipe specify using the thigh, pork loin also works.

In a container, cover the pieces with coarse salt and leave to rest in the fridge for 3 days, shaking the jar from time to time.

Once the “purging time” has passed, wash the meat thoroughly under cold water. Place it in a large pot with the bay leaves, the rosemary, peppercorns and juniper berries then cover everything with wine. DO NOT BE SPARSE!I use Vernaccia, the important thing is that it’s a good quality dry white.

Simmer over a low heat for at least 5 hours: the meat must always be submerged in the wine and, if necessary, top up with more wine.
Turn off the heat only when the pork is very soft and prone to falling apart.

Let it cool inside the liquid.
Fray the meat without cutting it, using a fork or your hands, but never a knife.

Stuff it in a jar with fresh rosemary, bay leaves and peppercorns. Fill with plenty of extra virgin olive oil.
Top up with oil the next day, tapping the jar well to avoid air bubbles.

The fake tuna must rest in the dark and out of the fridge. The original recipe calls for at least two months of rest before being consumed; one is usually more than enough.

A long time coming but definetely worth the wait!


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