Roman cooking means goodness and wealth. Let’s discover the traditional entrees richness!
Rome is in the centre of the Universe, the caput mundi as it was during the centuries of the Empire, when some ethnic groups came from North Africa, from the heart of Europe, from the desolate barbarian Scandinavian lands or from the European East, from Balkans and from the East, to the world capital.
Despite of what incredible and various melting pot it has always been, Rome is a urban cat, not so pander but rich in history and intricate stories among its narrow lanes, among little hells and big heavens, melting sense of Christianity and intrigues among the buildings.
This feeling, between holy and profane, suburbs and nobility, you still breathe it among the noble buildings, the esoteric streets magic even in their atmosphere, the narrow lanes in Trastevere or via Margutta nowadays, looking for that mood, so dense and attempting, exalted by the director Daniele D’Anza in his tv-series “Il Segno del Comando”.
Walking around looking for the imagined Rome (it is just one, but every one of us has a different one in his heart and thoughts), you discover Roman cooking, mix of misery and nobility, sanctity and perdition, attraction and taste, with temptation and satisfaction.
Roman food means goodness and wealth, a tradition to be discovered.
The essence in Gabriele D’Annunzio’s words, in one of his most famous inspired and dreamt poems:
“Rome of ours you’ll see. You’ll see it from the hills:
From the radiant Quirinale to Gianicolo,
From Aventino to Pincio more radiant
In the extreme vespers, greatest miracle, lighting the skies…
Nothing is bigger and holier. It contains the light of a star.
Not only its skies it lights, but the world, Rome.”
'Roma nostra vedrai. La vedrai da’ suoi colli:
dal Quirinale fulgido al Gianicolo,
da l’Aventino al Pincio più fulgida ancor ne l’estremo
vespero, miracol sommo, irraggiare I cieli…
Nulla è più grande e sacro. Ha in sé la luce d’un astro.
Non i suoi cieli irraggia solo, ma il mondo, Roma.'
Discovering the more or less famous corners of the capital, you will meet the food of this city, sincere and frank as the thumb of Gianicolo cannon, elegant and simple as the inspiring Pines of Ottorino Respighi work, a culinary reality over the expectations.
Entrees of the eternal city: from the countryside to the table, authenticity and flavour of a simple and cared cooking.
Rome cooking: Sora Lella or Chef Rubio, so far from the elegance of the star chef Bastianich and the aggressiveness of Vissani, two of the characters different from the fashion cooking, but sometimes elegant and noble. Rome is the Italian capital also in the kitchen, but overall capital of itself.
So it means suburban, borgatara as Romans say, able to challenge the contemporary refined nouvelle cuisine idea, thanks to the disarming goodness of its entrees, sometimes so tasty to be a labyrinth hard to get out from, taking the place of the other courses.
That’s the case of fava beans and Pecorino cheese, a classic entrée before the following courses; unfortunately they get something so good and satisfying if you have them with a good fresh white wine from the hills, or a northern Lazio Est Est Est wine, because of the refined sensation of beans and cheese on a tempting bed of crescione (an aromatic herb), some homemade bread, a pinch of pepper to exalt the flavour of cheese and a little bit of oil.
Fava beans are like cherries: one leads to another.
Thanks to the good homemade bread of the capital, another simple and tasty recipe stands out on the first Roman menu pages: crostini con alici.
Accurately made, alternating bread and mozzarella cheese slices (better buffalo mozzarella if possible), on the spits and toasted in the oven (not grilled as for a different recipe), they are served with a cream of boned anchovies, browned in the butter and eased down on a slice of bread; fish and cheese together, something very strange for some cooks, but not in Rome, as you remember, holy and profane get married to find the deepest essence of the city, make a glorious taste, strong and delicate at the same time.
Roman entrees: along the way or in the capital trattorias
Another typical Roman entree is the supplì: born as an entree, now is a must-have for any occasion, along the way or before a pizza, as an entree or a snack.
Similar to the Sicilian arancini, its original recipe wants some pieces of offal in its mix of rice and meat, mushrooms and butter. The balls (big as a peach) have to be fried in a lot of olive oil and they get something excellent. Sometimes you can taste their modest but even good version, filled in with fused mozzarella cheese and the rice made red by the tomato.
On the same way, panzerotti are delicious fried small calzoni. The dough is made of flour, butter and egg, stretched out in a rounded thin layer, filled in with mozzarella cheese (or groviera cheese, even better), grated Parmigiano cheese and ham cubes.
As well as fried, golden and deprived of the excessive oil, the Roman panzerotti are ready to hit you as you can just abandon to the stringy soft filling, strongly tasty since the first taste.
Rome is a capital according to the popular imagination, but overall its countryside, its products from the hills and the valleys vegetable gardens, where the silent and snakey Tiber flows to the Tirrenian mouth, slaking vegetables and pastures, by its irrigation systems.
And from that countryside the Roman greengrocers (as they call them pizzicaroli), as you can see in Aberto Sordi’s movie “Vacanze intelligenti”(episode of the movie “Dove vai in vacanza?”), take the best of the products. Cooks are the final step of a happy traditional and ancient chain of production.
Entrees represent the pastoral Roman culture, based on abundance, richness and goodness, as you can discover during your trips, too.
If you walk around the markets, you will find lots of courgette flowers: you will appreciate those delicious bells, thanks to their easy but extremely tasty recipe. A well-made dough (flour, salt and brewer yeast) covers the flowers filled in with mozzarella cheese and anchovies, fried in boiling oil.
That’s it, just a simple exaltation of a taste, symbol of goodness and abundance of recipes and flavours. And what else, another typical product symbol of the city, from Roman countryside is the artichoke, the Roman mammola, made in its most original way “alla giudia” (Jewish style).
For sure you heard about it lots of times, from the most important characters of Rome, on TV, on the black and white RAI channel, by Aldo Fabrizi, Paolo Panelli, Bice Valori, Isabella Biagini, Enrico Montesano and Gigi Proietti, talking about bucatini all’amatriciana, coda alla vaccinara and carciofo alla giudia, the artichoke we are talking about. It is the triumph of simplicity and taste: crashed parsley, garlic, mint, salt and pepper, mixed with extra virgin olive oil to fill in the artichokes, deprived of their internal leaves. You have to cook them under some water and oil, chicken or capon soup also, for one hour, and then you can serve them as an entree or a side with meat, salami and cheese.
Whether you stay in a hotel or walk around the city, along Trastevere, Piazza del Popolo or Venezia, entrees are the best way to discover a food, a city, where abundance and tradition are the best discoveries you can do in the eternal city.
Do you want to stay in Rome?
For this location we recommend Hotel Panama Garden, ideal for discovering Rome thanks to its strategic location.