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The Cooking and Cuisine of Lazio


Kevin72
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Pancetta is sold rolled or flat, like standard (American) bacon, in Italy.  Not sure which regions the flat kind is more prevalent in, though.

Flat pancetta goes under the name of pancetta tesa . My impression is that it's prevalent in at least Tuscany and Umbria.

Christofer Kanljung

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I know I'm not setting a good example, and apologies to Liguria, but I had to get a last Roman meal in this weekend. Hey, I made foccaccia earlier in the motnh, so essentially I've already made something Ligurian, right? :biggrin:

Anyways, we started with carciofi alla Romana, Roman artichokes braised with mint and frascati:

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Not much to look at, but oh, momma. I need to remember to start serving this with bread to mop up all that tasty olive oil left at the bottom of the dish.

When I think of Roman food I think of one thing immediately: bucatini all'Amatriciani.

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I used the last bit of my "treated" bacon slab to make this. I will make it with real guanciale, someday. But I have some to like the smokiness of the bacon in this sauce. In fact I'd rather make it with slab bacon than pancetta at this point (though I did use some pancetta this time to augment the small amount of bacon I had left).

Like mrbigjas said earlier, I, too, had a revelatory experience eating this dish in Rome where I was relieved at how much the real deal tasted like mine, minus the smokey flavor, of course.

The main were grilled lamb chops, wrapped with pancetta to keep them moist, then served with a simple arugula salad.

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Last year when I made these for my Roman month, I called them "scotaditti", ("burn the fingers", another dish name/descriptive along the lines of saltimbocca, here meaning they're so good you'll burn your fingers grabbing them off the grill) but Hathor pointed out, and my own experience confirmed, that to be really "scotaditti" they needed to be gristly, boney, shoulder chops. I considered going that route but then recalled that my wife's not such a fan of gristly, fatty cuts of meat and backed down.

All right, now I'm done. On to Liguria.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Had the pleasure of stealing a quick liquid lunch during work time a few weeks back at Lupa.

The on tap beer Moretti was out of this world. I've spent two full weekend afternoons trying to track it down.

The dish I had was the Ricotta Gnocci with Fennel Sausage. It was a perfect bowl of pasta if I've ever had one.

So, my copy of Molto Italiano arrived and it had the recipe from Lupa! Sorry no pic and it wasn't really very photogenic. My version did not look at all like Lupa's :raz: , the gnocci were much bigger and my sausage was chunky. Next time i'll size down the gnocci and maybe give the sausage a spin in the food processor before finishing the sauce. But, looks aside the taste was just right, it was a near exact replica.

As far as the kids go, my daughter is a challenge, she will not eat anything that remotely resembles tomatoes so she opted for butter and cheese with her gnocci. My two sons on the other hand will eat anything that remotely resembles sausage, including a stray digit if I am not careful. All I had to say to #1 son was sausage and I had my kitchen helper for the night. :biggrin:

I am looking at Sardinia but still missing Rome.

-Mike

-Mike & Andrea

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What did you think of the texture?  I found them to be really light and delicate and hopelessly addictive.  When I made them I was running low on ricotta and augmented it with sheep's milk feta, which added a whole new level to the dish and a nice tang to it.

The texture was the first thing I found remarkable! You are so right, they were very light and airy and so very different from potato gnocci which I find very dense and heavy. That was a really nice surprise.

-Mike & Andrea

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Had the pleasure of stealing a quick liquid lunch during work time a few weeks back at Lupa. 

The on tap beer Moretti was out of this world.  I've spent two full weekend afternoons trying to track it down.

The dish I had was the Ricotta Gnocci with Fennel Sausage.  It was a perfect bowl of pasta if I've ever had one.

So, my copy of Molto Italiano arrived and it had the recipe from Lupa!  Sorry no pic and it wasn't really very photogenic.  My version did not look at all like Lupa's  :raz: , the gnocci were much bigger and my sausage was chunky.  Next time i'll size down the gnocci and maybe give the sausage a spin in the food processor before finishing the sauce.  But, looks aside the taste was just right, it was a near exact replica.

As far as the kids go, my daughter is a challenge, she will not eat anything that remotely resembles tomatoes so she opted for butter and cheese with her gnocci.  My two sons on the other hand will eat anything that remotely resembles sausage, including a stray digit if I am not careful.  All I had to say to #1 son was sausage and I had my kitchen helper for the night.  :biggrin:

I am looking at Sardinia but still missing Rome.

-Mike

What a coincidence! I made ricotta gnocchi last night for the first time and was following the recipe that Batali has on foodtv. (I assume the same as Molto book) Super good, delicate, subtle but flavorful. Should have taken a photo though it would have revealed my poor quenelle making skills. I dressed mine with butter, roasted tomatoes (got to use up last years frozen roasted tomatoes before this years comes in) and fresh squash blossoms from the local farmers market. Brilliant dish, much faster than potato gnocchi, lighter, easier to make and will definitely be added to my repertoire. I want to try them in broth next and I may head down the coast to the nearest goat farm that makes nice goat 'ricotta'.

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I'd like to give a Rome-related shout-out to Andrew Fenton's funny and highly jealousy-inducing blog on moving to and living in la cita eterna, with lots of food-related goodness as well: click here.

There should be a green with envy smiley face for me to mash on right now!

-Mike & Andrea

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I'd like to give a Rome-related shout-out to Andrew Fenton's funny and highly jealousy-inducing blog on moving to and living in la cita eterna, with lots of food-related goodness as well: click here.

Aw shucks; thanks Kevin. I'm afraid that I haven't updated the blog for a long time, but now that I have a little more free time, I intend to get a few more posts-- including food-related ones-- up before I head back to the US...

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  • 1 month later...

A couple of food pics from two Southern Lazio meals I had: I happend to spend a few days off there recently. The cuisine of the area is more similar to that of Campania than Lazio, which is no surprise, given that till the early XIX century the area up to Gaeta was part of Campania. Still, since we have no Campania thread yet, the pics fit nicely here :smile: .

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Appetiser of Provola and Mozzarella bocconcini. Provola is smoked buffalo milk mozzarella. This one is from a pretty good producer in Fondi called Casabianca

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Roasted pepper salad, preparing and plating. Not necessairly typical of Lazio, more sort of pan-southern Italian. The peppers come from Fondi's MOF, Mercato Ortofrutticolo Fondi, i.e. greengrocers market, the largest in the south of Italy. Normal customers are only admitted after 11 AM and you can only buy stuff by the case, but it's a great bargain (and the quality is mostly high) if you have a few days of cooking before you.

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Telline (wedge shells), self-fished, and telline with spaghetti. These are small clams that are also called arselle in Veneto. They are a bit of a pain to eat, given the size, but I think the taste more than makes up for it: sweet yet packed with a good amount of iodine aroma.

Finally something I did not make myself, but instead bought from a bakery (Chinappi) in Gaeta: Tiella.

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Tiella Gaetana, essentially a stuffed bread/pizza, comes in a range of flavours, though we decided to have the absolute classic, i.e. octopus tomato and gaeta olives.Other common fillings are escarole and olives, escarole and baccalà, anchovies, zucchini and sheep's cheese. I must admit that, although I knew the speciality by name, I had never had a taste before and that the input to do so came from William Black's very enjoyable book "Al Dente".

Edited by albiston (log)
Il Forno: eating, drinking, baking... mostly side effect free. Italian food from an Italian kitchen.
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Yeah, those clams look terrific. I really think that the smaller the clam, the better the flavor.

The tiella looks interesting, too: the escarole filling is very typical of Campania, no? It reminds me of the sort of torta rustica that my friend's mom (who lives in Cuma) makes.

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Kevin, you are absolutely right, they are pretty small so when you cook them there's a lot of waste shell-wise. Usually you would take twice the amount of clams compared to the pasta.

Andrew, I am slowly coming to agree with your point on clams. For a long time I firmly held to the belief that vongole are the best clams, but as much as I like them, I think that telline have an even richer flavour.

The tiella and some of the stuffed pizze made around Naples definitely seem connected, though tiella gaetana has a hicher stuffing to crust ratio. Hard to say who got the idea first. Yet given that the word pizza first appeared in a document from gaeta in the X century I would almost think the Neapolitans got the idea from Gaeta.

Edited by albiston (log)
Il Forno: eating, drinking, baking... mostly side effect free. Italian food from an Italian kitchen.
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Yeah, those clams look terrific.  I really think that the smaller the clam, the better the flavor.

The tiella looks interesting, too: the escarole filling is very typical of Campania, no?  It reminds me of the sort of torta rustica that my friend's mom (who lives in Cuma) makes.

The size of clams has nothing to do with flavor and it is a misnomer to make a blanket statement like that. Sometimes arselle have more flavor than vongole verace, sometimes the verace do. It depends on where they are fished (or in the case of arselle, where they are dug out of the sand), the day they are fished, the tides, myriad different things.

One only has to go to Bagno _ in Forte, and have spaghetti con le arselle or spaghetti con vongole verace, to see how things change day to day.

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gallery_9330_174_17738.jpg

Tiella Gaetana, essentially a stuffed bread/pizza, comes in a range of flavours, though we decided to have the absolute classic, i.e. octopus tomato and gaeta olives.Other common fillings are escarole and olives, escarole and baccalà, anchovies, zucchini and sheep's cheese. I must admit that, although I knew the speciality by name, I had never had a taste before and that the input to do so came from William Black's very enjoyable book "Al Dente".

Whether or not the dishes align more closely to Campania than Lazio, it is wonderful that you have taken our hands out of the bocca of Rome where we spent so much of our time that month. Thanks for the bibliographic reference, too.

"Viciousness in the kitchen.

The potatoes hiss." --Sylvia Plath

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Yeah, those clams look terrific.  I really think that the smaller the clam, the better the flavor.

The tiella looks interesting, too: the escarole filling is very typical of Campania, no?  It reminds me of the sort of torta rustica that my friend's mom (who lives in Cuma) makes.

The size of clams has nothing to do with flavor and it is a misnomer to make a blanket statement like that. Sometimes arselle have more flavor than vongole verace, sometimes the verace do. It depends on where they are fished (or in the case of arselle, where they are dug out of the sand), the day they are fished, the tides, myriad different things.

One only has to go to Bagno _ in Forte, and have spaghetti con le arselle or spaghetti con vongole verace, to see how things change day to day.

Good point Fortedei. I always wondered why one time the vongole rocked and another time it was those little bitty guys.

But, to tell the truth, its the roasted peppers that are speaking to me right now.

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  • 6 months later...

So, last night HBO's "Rome" was on...and I was hungry for some Lazio style food.

First course was some fettucine carbonara

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This has to be one of the easiest and most satisfying of pasta dishes. My problem has been finding some decent pancetta in NY. Anybody have a good source?

Secondi was fried artichoke hearts and sauted lemon chicken. The chicken wasn't particularly Lazio, but with the artichokes, it was a tasty combination.

gallery_14010_3559_51165.jpg

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This has to be one of the easiest and most satisfying of pasta dishes. My problem has been finding some decent pancetta in NY. Anybody have a good source?

If you go to Buonitalia at Chelsea market their pancetta pepata is pretty good, at least one of the best I managed to find. They also have guanciale for carbonara.

Never tried but someone told me that the butcher on 29th and 8th or 9th Ave? But I am not sure of the address!!!! How is it called? Giovanni? Makes guanciale...I never checked though it.

Edited by Franci (log)
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Judith, you live in New York for crying out loud!  Get guanciale instead!

Pero, dove???? :sad::shock::wacko: What I've come across looks so processed that you would barely believe that it ever was a pig! The pancetta I wound up with looks like some prosciutto cotto!

Franci, I will get on my bike and patrol the 8th and 9th avenues looking for pancetta and guanciale. I go to Chelsea market regularly, and Buonitalia...last time I was there the pancetta looked rather sad, but I'll give it another try.

Yes, I admit it. I'm just a spoiled brat. :laugh: I nurtured my last little bit that I brought back, like a miser with his gold.

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Franci, I will get on my bike and patrol the 8th and 9th avenues looking for pancetta and guanciale. I go to Chelsea market regularly, and Buonitalia...last time I was there the pancetta looked rather sad, but I'll give it another try.

Yes, I admit it. I'm just a spoiled brat.  :laugh: I nurtured my last little bit that I brought back, like a miser with his gold.

I agree that it's hard to find, I will never tell you that taste really good. The pancetta I used to buy was not at the counter but in the refrigerator in vacuum packs. If you manage to find better, maybe thanks to JMolinari, let me know, soon or later I'll move back to NY.

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i have no idea where it is, but check Salumeria Biellese. I've gotten guanciale there that was some of the best i've had (a place here in atlanta used to order it from there and resell it).

While I haven't used them, slkinsey vouched for them when I asked about guanciale sources as well.

Was this place in Atlanta the E 48th Street Market, by any chance?

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