Monday, March 28, 2016

Roman Recipes

These two recipes are from a new book in which Katie Parla shares the tastes of ancient and modern Rome. If you try these, let me know how they turn out.

Recipes adapted from “Tasting Rome: Fresh Flavors and Forgotten Recipes from an Ancient City,” Katie Parla and Kristina Gill, Clarkson Potter (2016).

   Cacio e Pepe di Leonardo Vignoli

    Serves 4-6.  Cacio is Roman dialect for Pecorino Romano cheese. This dish (taken from a popular restaurant) is, like carbonara, a relative newcomer to Rome. “Tonnarelli” is the Roman name for Abruzzese “chitarra,” the squared off pasta made by pressing the dough through wire strings. — F.B.

   Sea salt

   1 pound spaghetti or tonnarelli

   2 cups finely grated Pecorino Romano

   2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste

       Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil over high heat. Salt the water. When the salt is dissolved, add the pasta and cook just until al dente. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine 1½ cups of the cheese, the pepper, and a small ladle of the pasta cooking water. Using the back of a large wooden spoon, mix vigorously to form a paste.

   When pasta is cooked, use a large strainer to remove it from the cooking water and immediately add it to the sauce in the bowl, letting the water on the stove continue to boil. Working quickly, toss the pasta vigorously, adding additional hot water a tablespoon or two at a time as necessary to melt the cheese and to obtain a juicy sauce that completely coats the pasta. Plate and sprinkle each portion with some of the remaining cheese and pepper to taste.

   Porchetta di Vito Bernabei

   Serves 10. Porchetta is popular right now, and this recipe from a pork butcher is simple compared to ones that ask you to roll a slab of pork belly around the core meat (often pork loin). I figure it’s just a matter of time until I spy a pre-seasoned, rolled, and tied porchetta in a butcher case (it’s already offered at, but I’d find it hard to resist seasoning my own. — F.B.

   1 (6- to 7- pound) deboned, skin-on pork shoulder

   3 tablespoons kosher salt

   1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper

   4 garlic cloves, mashed to a paste

   1 tablespoon chopped rosemary

   1 tablespoon peperoncino or red pepper flakes

   2 teaspoons fennel pollen or ground fennel seeds

   On a clean, dry, work surface, score the pork skin in a diamond pattern (or ask your butcher to). Turn pork over and massage salt into meat, then dust it with the pepper, garlic, rosemary, pepperoncino, and fennel pollen.

   Roll pork tightly, skin side out, and tie it securely with kitchen twine. Marinate in the refrigerator, uncovered, for at least 6 hours or overnight, allowing the skin to dry out.

   Remove from refrigerator 1½ to 2 hours before cooking. Preheat oven to 195 degrees. Bake porchetta until fork-tender, about 5 to 6 hours, then increase oven temperature to 500 degrees and let skin crisp for 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from oven, rest for at least 45 minutes, slice and serve.

Faith Bahadurian blogs at (also Twitter @njspice).