• Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Roman Recipes

Effortlessly Delicious
By , Cooling Your Jets Contributor
January 25, 2012

Rome is a complex city. The food, however, is surprisingly simple. Evolving from ancient times through the Renaissance to a more modern cuisine, Roman cooks have always revealed their ability to make even a basic plate of buttered pasta taste like a four-star dish.Working your way through this Cooling Your Jets menu might look like a Colosseum-sized task, but the only thing difficult about these dishes is their correct pronunciation.  


Arancini di Riso


1 1/2 cups bread crumbs

2 cups cooked risotto

1/2 cup grated Parmesan

1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped

1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped

2 eggs, beaten

4oz block of mozzarella cheese, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

Vegetable oil, for frying


When you eat as much risotto as Italians do, you’re bound to have some leftovers lying around. This explains the country’s obsession with Arancini – fried rice balls.

Serves 6

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes

Reserve 1 cup of bread crumbs in a bowl for breading.

In a large mixing bowl, combine risotto, 1/2 cup bread crumbs, Parmesan, basil, parsley and eggs. Mix well with your hands. Take about 2 tablespoons of the risotto mixture and form a 1-inch ball. Using your finger, make a small hole in the center and insert one cube of the mozzarella cheese. Cover the hole to completely surround the cheese. Repeat until the risotto mixture is gone. Roll each ball in the 1 cup of reserved bread crumbs.

Fill a deep saucepan about halfway with vegetable oil and heat to 350°F. Fry about 4–6 balls at a time until golden, about 5 minutes. Drain and serve.

Carciofi alla Giudia


2 lemons

6 artichokes, trimmed and stems peeled

2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped

2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for frying


Romans love artichokes almost as much as they love pasta. The vegetable is grown widely in the region and can be found in a variety of dishes. This fried version dates back to a time when Roman had a sizeable Jewish population.

Serves 4 to 6

Prep time: 25 minutes

Cook time: 25 minutes

Juice two lemons into a large bowl and fill with water. Soak artichokes in the acidulated water until ready to use (this prevents browning). Drain and dry. Gently open the leaves on each artichoke. In a mixing bowl, combine parsley, basil, garlic, salt, pepper and olive oil. Spoon a small amount of the mixture inside the artichoke leaves. In a heavy-bottom frying pan heat about 1/4 inch of olive oil. Arrange the artichokes, trimmed side down, in the pan and simmer slowly for about 25 minutes. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Panzanella Salad


4 tablespoons olive oil

1 loaf of crusty bread, cut into 1-inch cubes (yield 6 cups)

Kosher salt

2 tomatoes, seeded and cut into cubes

1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and sliced

1 small red onion, thinly sliced

1/4 cup fresh basil, coarsely chopped

1/2 cup small pitted black olives


1/4 cup sherry vinegar

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


In this traditional salad, the croutons are the star. Made with large chunks of toasted bread, each mouthful tastes a bit like a hearty Italian sandwich.

Serves 8–12

Prep time: 25 minutes

Inactive cook time: 30 minutes

In a large sauté pan, heat oil and add cubed bread. Cook over low heat, tossing often, until golden brown. Remove from pan and salt immediately.

Make the vinaigrette: Mix the vinegar, garlic and mustard. Slowly whisk in the olive oil until the vinaigrette comes together and thickens. Season to taste.

In a large blow add the tomato, cucumber, onion, basil, olives and toasted bread. Toss with the vinaigrette and adjust seasoning. Allow the salad to sit at room temperature for about 30 minute before serving. 

Cacio e Pepe


1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 pound thin spaghetti

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 1/2 cups Cacio di Roma, for grating (you can substitute Parmigiano Reggiano)

2 teaspoons Freshly ground black pepper

Kosher salt, to taste


Restaurants try to fancy-up this classic Roman dish, but sometimes it really is as simple as pasta and cheese.

Serves 4–6

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes

Bring 6 quarts of salted water to boil and add pasta.

While pasta is cooking heat olive oil in a large sauté pan until almost smoking. When pasta is al dente, drain, reserving 1 cup of the cooking water. Add pasta and water to the oil. Add butter and toss over high heat for 1 minute. Stir in grated cheese and pepper. Add salt to taste and serve immediately. 

Saltimbocca alla Romana


4 (5oz) veal cutlets

4 thin slices sliced prosciutto

8 fresh sage leaves

All-purpose flour, for dredging

1 teaspoon Kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/4 cup Marsala wine

1/4 cup chicken stock

Lemon wedges


Prosciutto. Veal. Wine. Sounds like an entire dinner, right? Wrong. It’s the three main ingredients in this dish, which is probably one of Rome’s most beloved.

Serves 4

Prep time: 25 minutes

Cook time: 10 minutes

Place the veal cutlets side-by-side on a large piece of plastic wrap. Lay another piece of plastic wrap over the top. Using a meat mallet, pound out each cutlet until they are about 1/4-inch thick. Remove the plastic wrap and place one piece of prosciutto and 2 sage leave on each cutlet. Secure the prosciutto and sage with toothpicks. Pour about 1 cup of all-purpose flour into a bowl and mix in the salt and pepper. Dredge each cutlet in the flour and shake off excess.

Heat the olive oil and 1 tablespoon of the butter in a large sauté pan over medium flame. Add the cutlets, prosciutto side down, and cook until golden, about 3 minutes. Flip and cook on the other side for 2 minutes. Remove from pan and place on serving dish.

Add the Marsala wine to the sauté pan, stirring up the brown bits from the bottom. Allow the wine to reduce for about 3 minutes. Add the stock and remaining tablespoon of butter and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper before spooning over the veal. Garnish with lemon wedges and serve immediately. 

Abbacchio alla Romana


3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons butter

2 lbs. lamb shoulder, cut into 2-inch cubes

2 tablespoons ground rosemary

2 anchovies, rinsed, drained and finely chopped

2 tablespoons cup red wine vinegar

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon salt

1 cup white wine


Springtime in Rome means two things – beautiful weather and lamb. This quintessential dish pairs salty anchovies, rosemary and dry wine to create flavors that blossom, much like the season itself.

Serves 6–8

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 1 hour

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil and butter. Once the butter is melted, add the lamb and brown on all sides. While the lamb is browning, combine the rosemary, anchovies, vinegar, garlic and salt and mix well. Pour the mixture over the lamb and cook over medium-low until the meat is tender, about 45 minutes. Use the cup of wine to moisten the lamb throughout the cooking. Serve alongside Cacio e Pepe and fava beans.

Fava Beans with Pecorino


3 lbs. fava beans (yields 3 cups shelled)

1 small red onion, thinly sliced

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/3 cup red wine vinegar

3/4 cup Pecorino, grated, reserve some for garnish

Kosher salt, to taste


Beans are a staple in most Italian diets, and fava beans are a favorite in Rome. Another

springtime favorite, this straightforward dish is paired with tart red onion and salty Pecorino cheese.


Prep time: 25 minutes

Cook time: 1 minute

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Prepare a bowl of ice water to shock the beans. Place the beans in the boiling water and blanch for 1 minute. Remove from boiling water and place immediately into ice water. Remove the beans from their shell and place in a large mixing bowl. Toss with the oil, vinegar, cheese and salt. Serve with a garnish of Pecorino.

Savillum (Cheesecake)


10–20 bay leaves

3 eggs, beaten

8 ounces ricotta cheese

1/2 cup honey

2 teaspoons orange zest

1/2 orange, juiced

1/2 cup all-purpose flour


Italians take their cheesecake seriously. Recipes vary from region to region and the Roman version contains bay leaves and honey.

Preheat the oven to 450°F. Line the bottom of a spring-form pan with the bay leaves until it covers it completely. In a large mixing bowl, beat eggs and then mix in ricotta, honey, orange zest and juice. Slowly stir in the flour until it’s well-incorporated. Gently pour the batter over the bay leaves in the spring-form pan. Place inside a large roasting pan and fill with water until it’s about halfway up the spring-form pan. Bake until browned, about 35 minutes. Invert onto a serving plate and serve warm or chilled. 

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