TAKE MY WORD

Author Bill Buford on Tuscany

"Genuine Tuscan cooking is hard to find. An exception is Osteria le Panzanelle, in Lucarelli, off the highway between Florence and Siena. The place is run by Nada Michelassi, a James Joyce scholar. Her food is true to the zona, which is why I love it. Take her panzanella, a tomatoey, herby dish made with stale Tuscan bread. It's normally awful--but it Michelassi's hands, it tastes magically of this place and no other."

--Bill Buford, whose book "Heat: An Amateur's Adventures as a Kitchen Slave, Line Cook, Pasta-Maker, and Apprentice to a Dante-Quoting Butcher in Tuscany" is out this June. Osteria le Panzanelle, 011-39/0577-733-511, panzanella, $6.

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