The Secrets of Roman Cuisine
Shopping, eating and cooking like a local in Rome
Before wearing our aprons and turning on the stove, many Italians start at the local food market to buy fresh produce. It’s not simply shopping for food. It’s more of a ritual. Through time, you learn to select the vendors that best suit your needs and standards. They are people you see and interact with at least twice a week, and quickly become some of your best friends.
We visit our local suppliers when shopping for food. Maria or Luigi have local, organic fruit and vegetables. Antonio handmakes fresh burrata and mozzarella every day and can customize the shape or size according to exactly what we need. Carlo has told us all about the flours and the sourdough they use to make their bread. Gianni is the person we go to when we need great wine and suggestions when pairing it with food. For Italians, it is important to put names, faces, and stories to the ingredients we buy and use daily. Shopping is more than a chore, it is an integral part of our social life.
Quality: The secret ingredient of Roman cuisine
We live in Rome and adore Roman cuisine. Italian food is always about ‘less is more’ and this perfectly sums up what our local dishes in Rome are all about. We use a few, simple, ingredients when preparing the traditional recipes. Amatriciana (tomato sauce, guanciale, pecorino), Cacio e Pepe (pecorino, black pepper), Carbonara (egg, guanciale, pecorino), Saltimbocca (veal, prosciutto, sage) are some of the most important dishes in Roman cuisine and use relatively few ingredients. So paying attention to what you buy, where it comes from, how it has been grown or raised turns out to be the most important ‘ingredient’ itself.
Cooking as Romans do
Most Italians grow up learning to cook with their mamma and grandmother and there is a rich culinary history that is passed down through the generations. A staple skill in the Italian kitchen is to be able to make fresh pasta from scratch which can then be made into perfect fettuccine, ravioli or lasagne. Many recipes are vague, with approximate measurements for weights and times (a handful of…. a pinch of… etc). This is because people learned to cook by watching and eating so know the amounts, flavors, and textures they are looking for simply by looking and tasting. The best way to cook Italian food is to use your instincts and senses. But if you’re looking for a great Roman cuisine cookbook, you can use one that we love: I Heart Rome, Recipes and Stories from the Eternal City.