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Photo ©John Sheldon

Main courses

Pratese stuffed celery


Historians in Prato have searched high and low for the true history of this local dish. We have one possible explanation (although this dish is delicious enough to not really need explaining), here it is:

Celery need a lot of care and attention to grow well. The cultivation process is quite complicated. The plants need constant watering and in fact they have grown well in the Prato area mainly thanks also to the abundant supply of water that came from the river Bisenzio. Consequently, this humble yet precious vegetable was treated well by Prato’s chefs who of course tried to find the most interesting ways to serve it, like stuffing it with delicate fillings.

  • 4 bundles of celery
  • 300 gr of ground beef
  • 150 gr of mortadella, finely minced
  • 1 Tbsp chopped parsley
  • 2 Tbsp of grated parmesan
  • Cheese
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Ground nutmeg
  • Half a clove of chopped garlic
  • 5 eggs,
  • 2 of which will be used for the mixture
  • 3 Tbsp of flour
  • olive oil
  • 300/400 gr of meat sauce   
  • Clean celery under cold running water and remove the extra filaments from the ribs. Cut the ribs into 7cm pieces and blanch in boiling salt water. Drain well and lay flaton a surface to cool and cover with a cloth to rest.
  • When they look as though they have expelled all the extra liquid, fill the celery ribs with meat filling, made up of veal, mortadella, parsley, Parmesan cheese, two eggs, salt, pepper, nutmeg and garlic.
  • Putting two celery ribs together so they form a sort of cylinder, prep the ribs for frying bybrushing them with the remaining three eggs slightly beaten and coat with flour. Proceed to fry in abundant olive oil and once fried lay the ribs onto paper towels to absorbany excess oil.
  • In a wide frying pan pour the contents of the meat sauce and bring to a slow simmer. Once the sauce has started to boil, gently insert the fried celery ribs.
  • Cover and let simmer on alow heat.
  • Place celery leaves on the top for decoration. (optional)

We suggest a red wine from Carmignano which goes excellently with this dish.