I Heart Rome, Recipes and Stories from the Eternal City

I Heart Rome, Recipes and Stories from the Eternal City by Maria Pasquale, Smith Street Books 2017, hardback $35, 272 pages

If your mother cooks Italian food, why should you go to a restaurant?

Martin Scorsese

Well, maybe your mother’s not Roman, and in that case you’ll want this book for both its classic recipes like Saltimbocca and Tiramisu and for its dive into authentic flavors like Coda alla Vaccinara and  Trippa alla Romana.

Tuscan food has a reputation for being muscular and simple. But Roman dishes are also simple–many of these recipes have only half a dozen ingredients or fewer–but there is also a richness to them.

As in the recipes above, they make use of less than luxurious cuts like tripe and oxtail. Or, rely on technique like the pasta dish cacio e pepe. After all, as Pasquale writes in this book, Roman food is based on cucina povera, the food of the poor.

She divides her recipes not by courses, but to follow the pulse of the city. A Margherita Pizza picked up at la pizzeria, fried treats like Suppli or Crocchette di Patate with an appertivo, or sweet cream buns, Maritozzo con Panna, with a coffee or digestive.

The recipes are mouth-watering, and some of them will be frustrating. You’ll have to hunt up fresh anchovies, purple-tinged globe artichokes, or the aforementioned tripe. But finding some cured pork cheek, guanciale, for a proper carbonara will be worth the trouble. If nothing else, you’ll learn a technique you can adapt with your local artisan bacon.

And there’s always Pasquale’s final chapter, A Casa, with recipes meant to be cooked at home–soups, pastas, sauces that are the basis of thrifty and delicious home cooking.

But with this book, you hardly need to cook. The flavors come through in Pasquale’s stories and its photographs. You can accompany her to the local coffee bar to start the day with an espresso and a cornetto. Join her in Cristina Bowerman’s kitchen to get some insight from Rome’s only female Michelin-starred chef. Learn how to navigate the vegetable markets and create an Italian cheese board.

Whether you find Rome in the kitchen or the streets, it will taste good.

 

About Appetite for Books

read, cook, eat, repeat
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