Roma: Authentic Recipes from In and Around the Eternal City

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The culinary journey that began with Umbria and Veneto, has arrived in the eternal city of Rome and its surrounding region of Latium. In Roma, Julia della Croce ventures from coast to countryside to reveal over 60 cherished recipes passed from generation to generation in this region rich with culinary tradition. While the area surrounding Rome exhibits both the traditions of the Greeks and the culinary refinements of the Etruscans, each of the five Roman provinces has maintained its own culture and culinary ...

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Overview

The culinary journey that began with Umbria and Veneto, has arrived in the eternal city of Rome and its surrounding region of Latium. In Roma, Julia della Croce ventures from coast to countryside to reveal over 60 cherished recipes passed from generation to generation in this region rich with culinary tradition. While the area surrounding Rome exhibits both the traditions of the Greeks and the culinary refinements of the Etruscans, each of the five Roman provinces has maintained its own culture and culinary character. From the fresh seafood in the coastal province of Latina; to the rustic aged meats and sturdy cooking of the most northerly province of Rieti; to the simple, seasonal dishes of Viterbo known for its aromatic olive oils; to the handmade pastas and rich, savory meat sauces of the landlocked Frosinone province; and finally to the lusty cooking of Rome itself, this collection beautifully captures the authentic tastes of this region's legendary food. Della Croce also lists her favorite places to stay, fun and historical local festivals, and where to find authentic regional Italian cooking and wine classes for those planning a Roman adventure.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Julia della Croce's "Roma: Authentic Recipes From In and Around the Eternal City" (Chronicle Books, $19.95), is a paperbound book with terrific photos by Paolo Destefanis. Della Croce, who is the award-winning author of 10 previous cookbooks, including "The Classic Italian Cookbook" (1996), reminds us that Italians say Rome has no cuisine of its own, but she asserts that that's not true. She points to Romans' bold use of pepper and other spices, their fondness for lard and other pork fat, along with olive oil, fennel, mint, cilantro and bitter chocolate (especially in stews and sweet-and-sour dishes).

In any case, it's a little hard to focus on the quite-thorough explanations of ingredients such as pecorino and puntarella when a flip through the pages makes you want to pick up a pan.

Della Croce's book is not as exhaustive as Dunaway's, but there's no shortage of wonderful dishes. Those I've tried have turned out so well, they've instantly joined my repertoire. "Jump-in-the-mouth" saut ed veal cutlets (Saltimbocca alla romana) sound like a silly escapee from a 1970s menu, but these simple little rolls of veal layered with prosciutto and fresh sage are irresistible. The instructions are a little goofy, though, insisting that you cut the meats into 2- by 4-inch rectangles, discarding any scraps. I did so, but I don't discard veal or prosciutto, so I just made raggedly little rolls with the extras, and they were just as delicious. The recipe also forgets to say to roll them up before securing with toothpicks. Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words.

For baby peas coddled in lettuce (Piselli alla lattuga), Della Croce calls for either fresh English peas or frozen baby peas. How good could it possibly be with frozen peas? Really good, it turns out. You line the pot with lettuce leaves, which impart a hint of flavor, and add finely chopped scallions and fresh mint leaves. I still don't understand why it's so good.

Another contorno (side dish), roasted onions with vinegar dressing (Cipolle al forno), is as simple as can be, with about five minutes of active preparation. But they're so meltingly delicious and beautiful that I've not only made them thrice, but I've also given the recipe to my mother, who loved it so much that she gave it to a friend and my brother. With that kind of exponential recipe blabbing, it's only a matter of time before they land on your table. -Los Angeles Times

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780811823524
  • Publisher: Chronicle Books LLC
  • Publication date: 3/1/2004
  • Pages: 168
  • Product dimensions: 1.00 (w) x 1.00 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Julia della Croce has been distinguished as one of America's best cooking teachers by the James Beard Foundation. Her writing on authentic Italian cooking has appeared in publications such as the Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Cook's Illustrated, and

Paolo Destafanis is a photographer specializing in travel and food. His work has been featured in magazines including Saveur, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Cucina Italiana, and Wine Spectator. He lives and works in a 13th-century tower in Tuscany.

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 14, 2004

    Dig In!

    By Bill Marsano. What luck: Only about a year ago we got Jo Bettoja's 'In an Italian Kitchen,' and now we have Julia della Croce's own book on the cooking of Rome and its region, Lazio. Two in one year may go a ways toward correcting the imbalance currently favoring the rather over-rated cuisine of Tuscany. (It's fine, really, but it is NOT the be-all and end-all.) So welcome to the feast! Roman cooking is rustic and robust, hearty and strongly flavored. The Romans are great carnivores, so meat recipes abound, but they are also, unlike some other Italians, devoted to fresh vegetables; thus there are plenty of 'contorni' or side dishes. The old favorites are here of course--saltimbocca and spaghetti all'amatriciana; trout in parchment and bruschetta (which, by the way, is pronounced 'broo-SKET-ta,' not 'bruh-shedda,' as on TV), but there are unusual and little-known recipes as well, such as farro and cabbage soup, beef stew with cloves, and tomato-braised lobster. Many of the very simple recipes date from the fall of Rome, when togaed dandies, conquered by the barbarians, had to give up their over-refined cuisine and eat the plain food of shepherds and farmers. The recipes are clearly written and legibly presented, one to a page. And there are plenty of handsome photographs to summon the atmosphere of Roma herself. There are more than recipes here, however. Della Croce, a good writer with a warm and generous spirit, approaches writing a cookbook as if she were an archeologist on an expedition; she digs deep to uncover and dust off aspects of the culture behind the cookery; she opens the door and welcomes you in. She seasons her text with old proverbs and dialect sayings, and quotations from ancient cookbooks, histories, plays and poems--just the sort of things that draw you into the richly textured culture that the photographs evoke.--Bill Marsano is an award-winning writer on wine and spirits, travel and other subjects.

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