Extra-Virgin Olive Oil: Mediterranean’s taste

Extra virgin olive oil: a tasting experience

A splash of olive oil on your dish, a fragrant touch, an ancestral gesture connected to family history.
The golden thread that links the history of each Italian family with a thousand-year tradition. In other words, is a cultural, gastronomic and emotional heritage. Consequently, we must preserve it.

Is oil a dressing or food? Quality oil plays a decisive role in the success of a dish, no matter if at home or at a restaurant.

Within the Mediterranean diet model, scientifically considered one of the best nutritional system choices, and declared a UNESCO World Heritage, olive oil occupies a position of excellence.

The choice to replace other fats is absolutely personal. It’s a matter of personal taste residing in the territorial tradition of the kitchen.

But, as long as you speak in both cases of quality.

How should we consider quality Olive Oil?

The mix of variety, territory, maturation, climate and harvesting and extraction technique.

Is olive oil quality measurable?

There are measurable chemical parameters and quality assessment methods. Chemical analysis is defined by the components of acidity, polyphenols, and peroxides.

The control of genuineness is based on detecting the presence of compounds that are atypical.

For example, the presence of chemical products used for extraction.

How to know we are choosing the right one?

Firstly, read the label: extra-virgin olive oil is extracted, it is not produced.

To extract the oil it is necessary to use mechanical and artisanal machinery. It is important to focus on the origin of olives and the time gap between the harvest and the squeezing. It is evident that shorter is the gap, better is the result. We love to choose producers that take care of this.

Italian production law, requires artisan mills to certify all stages of production of their oil. From breeding choices, extraction, bottling, an artisan product guarantees more protection for the consumer.

Secondly, be sure olives grows in the same Country of the Producer.

In the same vein, better if milled and bottled by the producer itself.

Certainly, this will mean shorter time from hearvest to squeeze, in other words more quality. Big food Companies or  multinationals, that market the product with massive advertising campaigns, are, in short, bottling companies.

Rarely they are producers or farmers, often buying olives in different countries of the Mediterranean basin. In other words, those Companies are focused on buy and blend olives. They need, above all,  to obtain a homogeneous product for distribution.

Pairing olive oil and food

Maybe we do not enough consider the opportunity to match food and olive oil.

Do you usually use just one type, for all food preparations?

Extra virgin olive oil can be more or less intense, fruity or vegetal.

You can absolutely boost the overall flavor of your recipe, with the right pairing. For instance, a sweet potato salad could be more tasty just by adding some olive oil with a bitter taste. The contrast of flavors, to clarify, will definitely improve the recipe.

Write to us or take a tasting class. Enjoy your quality food.

Boost of Roman traditional food: Filetti di baccalà

If you come to Rome on Fridays do not miss to the famed baccalà (fried cod fillets). Inexpensive, delicious, a favorite of locals, the baccalà fillets are served wrapped in paper.

“Baccalà fritto” is one of the typical street food dish in Rome. Quick and easy to cook, we recommended to enjoy it still hot as an appetizer or even as a fish main course.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 pounds dried salt cod
  • 1 cup flour
  • mineral water
  • vegetable oil (or other oil for frying)

Method

Rinse the baccalà fillets,  for 48 hours in running water. Change the water every 8 hours, in order to remove most of the salt.
Clean the baccalà fillets, cut them into 1-inch strips, and drain. Pat dry.
Prepare the batter by adding the mineral water to the flour, whisking quickly to incorporate. The batter should “barely” come off the whisk when you raise it up. In other words, it should neither run off it quickly, nor stick to in entirely.
Heat the oil to hot but not smoking. Make sure you have it hot enough to start, or you will end up with soggy fish fillets. Coat the fillets with the batter, using your fingers to remove the excess. Then fry them for 10-15 minutes, turning them with a fork once or twice, until they are golden and crispy.
Drain on a wire rack or paper towels and serve hot !

If you want to find out the best places to taste the roman baccalà fritto, join our Campo de fiori, Jewish Ghetto and Trastevere Food Tour. 

Boast of Roman traditional food: mozzarella in carrozza

Mozzarella in carrozza: the original recipe

Like many of Italy’s most delicious recipes, mozzarella in carrozza (“mozzarella in the carriage”) has humble origins too.  The idea comes from the custom among less well-off families, who could not afford to waste food, to use up stale bread and no-longer fresh mozzarella in a new and tasty dish.
Over time the recipe for mozzarella in carrozza conquered Lazio kitchens, to establish itself as a classic too in Roman tradition.
The name “mozzarella in carrozza” refers to the fact that the two slices of bread form the “carriage”, within which the cheese travels.

How to make mozzarella in carrozza

Ingredients

  • 6 slices white bread, crusts removed
  • 1 fist-sized ball mozzarella, cut into approximately 1/4-inch slices, then strips
  • 4 flat anchovy fillets, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 3 heaping tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 egg
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup olive oil, for frying

Preparation

Make sandwiches out of the bread and mozzarella, leaving a little margin around the edges unfilled with cheese and the anchovies fillet,  and press the edges together with your fingers to help seal. Pour the milk into 1 soup bowl, the flour into another, and beat the egg with salt and pepper in another. Warm the oil in the frying pan over medium heat. Dunk the sandwiches briefly, 1 by 1, in the milk, then dredge in the flour, then dip in the beaten egg. Fry in hot oil on each side until crisp and golden and remove to a paper towel.

The traditional food of Rome: what to eat in special days

The traditional food of Rome calls special food on special days.

Did you know we like to eat special food on special days here in the Capital?

Are food and culture connected? definitely yes!

Italy and Rome’s food has changed through ages and eras of cultural, social historycal and politica changes. Local products and traditions melted together with dominations and different cultures.

Ancient Roman food culture, evolved a lot an was highly influenced by other cultures. More the Roman Empire terriotires enlarged , more new products, food styles and recipes were popular. In other words the influence of the Greek one, firstly changing the wine making process and cooking techniques.

What we know today as Italian food, is the result of a millennial process.

Firstly the fall of Roman Empire, secondly the invasions from the northern gents and the arabs. Just imagine how many different  food styles mixed together leading to different traditions all over the Italian Peninsula.

In other words, territories dominated by northern cultures, basically hunters and sheperds, developed in cheeses and meat food tradition. Southern areas, likewise Sicily or Puglia, for example, developed a food style more mediterranean, fish, vegetables and spice art.

Christianism played a big part in selecion of foods and recipes connected to religious feasts. Economical situation influenced cooking styles and food as well.

At the end of the middle age with the discovering of new lands, everything changed. New exotic products coming from Americas decorating tables will play a part in the cration of  Italian new cooking style. Still today we are taking advantage of the tomatoes arriving from “the new world”.

Would you ever think Italy without tomatoes?

In the Renaissance period, Rome become a center of development, not only from the art and culture point of view. Also the cuisine raised as an art, in terms of chefs popularity and hospitality tradition. Bets chefs, as well as best artists used to cook for the Popes and their guests.

In those days an important cookbook by Bartolomeo Scappi, become the milestone of the modern cooking. Bartolomeo Scappi was the “bottigliere del Papa” (Pope’s Sommelier). The Opera dell’arte del cucinare (The art of cooking, 1570), listed more than 1000 different recipes.

From a writer of 1907, we know that this list was really popular already. Discover which recipes are most popular and traditional in Rome, according to our grandmother’s teachings.

Special days and recipes:

1st January =Capodanno. Lentils (zampone e lenticchie) and grapes
Carnival/Shrove Tuesday. Flat fried pastries (chiacchiere or frappe) and ravioli.
Lent (40 days before Easter). Chickpeas, codfish, maritozzo (typical roman pastry filled up with whip cream).
San Giuseppe (19th March). Pancakes, zeppole, bignè
Easter. Lamb, consommè, eggs, salami, pizza.
25th April. Cherries (that is not more like this, nowadays cherries comes on June).
24th May. Giuncata (a traditional homemade cheese with sheep milk and fragrant herbs).
26th Maggio (San Filippo Neri). Strawberries at lunch.
24th June (San Giovanni). Snails (yes! snails if you’re brave – Monti area).
2nd November (commemoration of the death). Dead bones cookies (fave dei morti).
11th November (San Martino). First wine tasting of the year (novello wine) with roasted chestnuts.
25th December (Christmas). Pasta with anchovies, eel, mullet, salmon, broccoli, nougat, Pangiallo.

 

Ciambelline al vino: a boast of roman biscotti recipe

Le Ciambelline al vino. Taste the traditional roman biscotti.

Grandmother’s donuts with wine. This simple but tasty cookie is  typical of the Roman hills and countryside.

Also named “ubriachelle” (drunk), these donughts are a must.

Ciambelline do not contain yeast and ingredients are only of plant origin, so no butter, milk and eggs.Despite this, the wine donuts maintain a nice crispness.

Therefore they are a perfect dessert for vegetarians and vegan people indeed. Is ana mazing way to counclude a meal too, since low calories and fats.

Tradition wants these crunchy donuts to be served together with something to drink (of course). Perfect pairing is , obviously, wine. A sweet wine like a Cannellino di Frascati is amazing for taste an regional pairing. However any kind of sweet wine is perfect, likewise Vin Santo or Passito. Served together means dreneched in. An amazing way to have an alcoholic dessert 🙂
Anyway the donuts alone, are not alcoholic at all, since alcohol evaporates during cooking. In other words, the ciambelline are ok for kids too. So, in the afternoon can be a nice companion for your tea or coffee or  hot chocholate or, why not, sand alone.

This recipe belongs to the enormous group of leftovers based recipes which Roman people are proud of.

Let’s try to bake those, and invite your kids to join you, this is an amazing team-building activity to stimulate cooperation. And with a sweet end.

Ingredients

  • 200 milliliters of white table wine
  • Milliliters 200 milliliters of extra virgin olive oil (EVO)
  • 200 grams of sugar
  • 1 seed of anise, crushed
  • flour 1 cup
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 200 grams of sugar cane

Preparation

To make the donuts to the wine must first dispense into a bowl, add the anise seeds, sugar and salt.
Sift the flour and pour in the slurry until a soft consistency of a pastry. (Probably will serve more flour than indicated in the ingredients). At this point you make a ball, place it in a bowl and let it rest for at least two hours in the refrigerator, covered with plastic wrap.
When they passed the two hours, cut into small pieces of dough and make it little rolls, like when you make the dumplings.
Joined together the ends, wetting them slightly so that sticking. Give them a round shape with a hole in the middle.
Put the sugar in a dish where you will pass the donuts, making adhere well sugar from one side only. Bake at 190°C for about 20 minutes.
Serve those at the end of a meal together with sweet wine, vin santo or grappa.

Where to taste some of the best? let’s join a Food tour with us!

How to cook Spaghetti alla Carbonara (Roman style recipe)

Is Carbonara pasta a typical recipe of Rome?

If you ask a Roman guy which are the first three traditional roman style dishes, he will answer: Bucatini all’Amatriciana (or Amatriciana), Tonnarelli cacio e pepe and Spaghetti alla Carbonara.

Origin of Spaghetti alla Carbonara

The origin of this famous and delicious dish is unknown. According to the legend, a Carbonaro (coal dealer) looking for rest from his work opened a restaurant called “Trattoria del Carbonaro”.
Others claim that the recipe takes its name from traditional dishes prepared by typical lumberjacks during work breaks.
Every chef and also every grandmothers make a different carbonara: there are those who only use the egg yolk, those who use the whole egg, those who pour the eggs into the pan of pasta, others pour the eggs in the bowl.
Some prepare it with the bacon, but in Rome you only use the “guanciale” (pork cheeks)!
Definitely Spaghetti alla Carbonara is one of the most difficult dish to prepare.  Altough if it is realized with a few ingredients. The challenge lay in balancing perfectly all ingredients.

Spaghetti alla Carbonara Roman style: the recipe

Ingredients

  • 500 g. of spaghetti
  • 100 g. of bacon (pork cheek meat)
  • 4 eggs (must be fresh)
  • grated pecorino and grated parmesan
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • salt
  • black pepper (quantity at will)

Preparation
While boiling water for the pasta (I recommend the amount of water must be at least three times the weight of the dough). Fry the bacon, cut into strips, with the oil in a frying pan until the bacon is crisp and “camel” colored.
In a plastic bowl mix the grated cheese and egg yolk salt and pepper.
Once the pasta is al dente, drain it without with the colander, transfer it from the boiling water to the pan with the bacon flavor making it on the fire for a few seconds (stirring quickly).
Add the pasta straight from the frying pan into the bowl, flip it over quickly and continuously.
Eggs melt creating a cream. Serve immediately.
You fail if the egg looks like an omelet crumbled, so is really important that everything is made at the same time.

Join us for a cooking class to learn from the masters!

Boast of seasonal food: artichokes are back to Rome!

The artichoke is the “prince” of Roman cuisine.

Definitely deserves a special praise in his season.

Many plants, known since ancient times, have spread to a double value. Not only as food, but also as medicine, this is the case of the artichoke.
Beloved variety by Romans are the typical Roman artichokes, named “Cimaroli”. Those arichokes are the ones that come on the main branches of the bush.
From every branch that it collects only one. This is the one who has the distinction of being the biggest and tender side ones.
During our food tour of Rome you will taste this special vegetable alla Giudia (Jewish style).
A famous Roman chorus says “these are artichokes, slender-stemmed and sapor tasty. They are called in Roman dialect” pure amazement, “soothe the crazy and greedy.  Giving prestige and pride to gastronomy, reconcile the bride with the groom . Tamed the most harpy mother-in-law, and at lunch, at dinner in the house and tavern. Gold crisp, delicious sake of all, these are the artichokes”.

But keep in mind, local poeple will eat artichokes only wneh in season. All our grandmothers teached us: atickokes comes Christmas to Easter. In other words, November to April.

More interested in the history of artichokes?

Some botanists believe that the plant arrived in Europe by the Arabs. In addition, the term “Artichoke” derives from the Arabic word “Karshuf” .
According to others, the plant was popular even to the ancient Egyptians. Popular all over already in the classical world.
Some ancient texts indicate the medicinal Roman artichoke as originating from Sicily. Cynara was its Latin name.
Anyway the real fortune and popularity of artichokes dates the beginning of 16th century. One of the alleged medicinal properties of the artichoke seems to have been to be a powerful aphrodisiac.
However, the beneficial properties of artichoke are many. Firstly, contains substances for cleansing the liver. Secondly, it is an excellent diuretic, rich in vitamins and revitalizing.
During the Renaissance, therefore, the cult for artichokes in Rome grew up. Consequently, the vegetable was so popular to be celebrated by a festival.  Currently, the festival “the carciofolata” takes place nowadays. Certainly even close to the area of greatest production of the Roman artichoke Ladispoli.

Cook the artichockes in many different ways:

The Roman- style recipe (steam the vegetables with olive oil and white wine).

The Jewish style version (fried two-times in olive oil).

You can store the smallest variety in jars. Name of this recipe is “carciofini”. After a hard cleaning, steam the baby artichockes with vinegar, then dry it and store it under extra virgin olive oil. Carciofini sott’olio are a typical ingredient for the aperitif finger food in Rome.

Sliced fried artichockes for risotto or on top of pizza. Generally served together with potatoes.

Pairing  wine with artichokes is, certainly, the real challenge. The vegetables is very rich in minerals and iron, with a strong bitter aftertaste. Any tannic wine (mostly red) will extol the bitterness. Much better to chose a white wine, mineral scented and with a little residual sugar and alcohol.

In conclusion, we recommend a white wine from Latium Oppidum from Cantine Sant’Andrea.

 

Boast of Jewish roman food style: Tortino di aliciotti e indivia

Aliciotti e indivia means anchovies and endive salad. Are you able to feed someone with these two ingredients?

Surprisingly, just with endive and anchovies, jewish-roman cooks serve a traditional pie.

Experience one of the most popular Roman-jewish recipes, a simple pie made with endive, fresh anchovies fillets, garlic, extra virgin olive oil, salt, black pepper.

Certainly, this recipe is deeply-rooted in the history of the Jewish quarter in Rome. When the Pope established “Ghetto”, to clarify, many jewish people could work at the fish market. Rome main fish market was located just outside the walls of the enclosure, by the river.

Jewish people must respect many restrictions including feed themselves with big sized-fishes. Leftovers from the cleaning worked as income. Often small sized fishes as coins. Anchovies were not popular to be served at the table of the clergy and the aistocratic families of Rome.

Consequently, anchovies were popular in the ghetto. Anyway very nutrient and easy to be preserved under sea-salt.

In conclusion, this simple and tasty recipe is an historical memory of a past.

Let’s prepare the tortino di aliciotti e indivia.

Firstly, wash and clean the endive and select tender part of the plant.

Choose a oven pan and make layers of endive leaves and anchovies, salt and pepper until you reach the top of the pan. Add olive oil on top.
If you’d like you can add grounded garlic between layers.
Put the oven pan in the oven warmed up at 180 Celsius degrees for 30 minutes. The perfect “tortino” needs to be crispy, to reach this reuslt take the pan out from the oven, drain excess water away and bake it agaon for 15 minutes at 220° Celsius.
Perfect wine pairing: Trebbiano

Prosciutto e fichi (prosciutto and figs) traditional gourmet food

Pane, prosciutto and figs: the best of Roman traditional food

There are many seasonal products, beloved by local foodies.

September in Rome: summer is almost over and nature gives us a present: figs. A delicious, black-skin fig that comes only in this period.
Take some fresh homemade bread and put some slices of prosciutto together with figs to discover the incredible match od sweet and salt.
“Pane, prosciutto e fichi” or “pizza prosciutto e fichi” was a typical snack in Rome for long time.

Today it is for foodies and traditional food lovers. The secret is simple: quality ingredients!

Is not that easy to find this recipe in restaurants, bars or wherever.

But is a recipe you can quickly set by yourself following few easy steps.

Step 1: let’s visit a vegetable market and buy some seasonal figs. In spring time the sweet green ones are available. At the end of summer, however, you’ll find the black-skinned variey (settembrino).

Step 2: head to a good grocery store to buy some prosciutto. Since figs are quite sweet, we recommend you to choose a tasty one. Perfect kind Prosciutto di Bassiano DOP or Prosciutto from Norcia. Let’s ask thin slices.

Step 3: enter one of the amazing bakeries of Rome and ask for pizza bianca. Pizza bianca is not a focaccia, but it looks like. The best is thin and crunchy but you can always split in twice orizontally. You can ask to cut it directly to the bakerman. Amazing if just baked off and warm.

Step 4: Assembly: open your pizza. Split a fig in twice and put it in the pizza. When using Settembrino fig, you just wash it (peel is eatable and tasty). Put prosciutto slices on figs and cover with the second piece of pizza.

What you have now is an amazing, unforgettable , pizza sandwich. Salty and sweet flavour balancing together.

Thursty? let’s try this recipe with a Prosecco or a Franciacorta, or a Sparkling rosè. To die for.

 

 

Pomodori col riso (rice stuffed tomatoes): the summer Roman dish

Rice stuffed tomatoes (pomodori col riso): the original recipe

Rice stuffed tomatoes, better know in Rome as pomodori col riso, are a summer staple of Roman “fast food”, you can find them in every “rosticceria” for a gourmet and healthy lunch or snack.
Juicy tomatoes, smooth rice, and crunchy potatoes, very easy to prepare even for a lot of people, they are at their best eaten at room temperature.

Ingredients

You will need per person:

  • 2 medium-sized rounded, ripe BUT firm tomatoes
  • 3 spoons of rice (best Arborio or Carnaroli, but any NOT parboiled rice is fine)
  • 2 medium-size potatoes

To taste

  • Minced cloves of garlic
  • fresh chopped basil,
  • olive oil
  • salt

Method

Wash and dry the tomatoes. With a sharp knife, cut the tops off and set aside. You will use them to cover the tomatoes before placing in the oven. With a small knife and spoon remove the pulp inside the tomatoes, be careful not to make a hole.
Put the tomatoes pulp in a bowl, add garlic, basil, salt and a drizzle of olive oil, then toss in the rice and let it rest for at least two hours (or even overnight. The longer, the better).
Peel and cut the potatoes into small but not too thin pieces.
Fill each tomato until about 3/4 full. Do not overfill or your tomatoes will split open when the rice expands!
Place each tomato in a baking pan, greased with a bit of olive oil (or cover with baking paper) and ill in all the holes with the potatoes. Drizzle olive oil over everything and the rest of filling, if you have any, over the potatoes.
Bake in an oven for approximately one hour. Put an eye now and then starting for 45 minutes as, depending on the type of rice, cooking time will vary.