tom and i spent a romantic (and far too short) weekend in rome in early september at the end of a family holiday in ireland. apart from being hot, dry, ancient and urban, the biggest difference between the two countries was the food. irish cuisine is pretty good, centring around seafood (zomg lobster) and various farm creatures. however, the noble potato is still prominent in many meals, as are broccoli and carrots – which seem to be brought out with every entree. meh.
rome, and italy for that matter, is a mouth asplosion. everything is good, from the streetcafe panini to the handmade pasta to gelato and coffee and wine (listed below are some of the places we ate at and recommend). everything that i could stuff in my mouth in italy felt touched by bernini. feeling slightly heady, we lamented (o woe!) on how we were going to eat when we returned back to canada. turns out, we raised the bar and tonight i made gnocchi w tomato sauce + spinach + oyster mushrooms, with a barbaresco wine and followed by a peach/blueberry pie (pasta recipe for 2 ppl). simple yet perfect.
Gnocchi – 1lb, Storebought at Festival Foods on College/Grace, but handmade by little Italian ladies. Cook in a large kettle of salted water til they float. Strain (if you don’t use right away add a wee bit of olive oil to prevent stickiness)
Sauce – 1 can San Marzano tomatoes, 2tsps chopped garlic. 1 small chopped onion, 3tbsps olive oil, 5 leaves basil, sea salt
- heat large skillet to medium heat, add onion and cook til translucent
- add garlic, cook for 2 minutes
- add tomatoes + liquid + basil + salt
- cook for 20 minutes, or until sauce becomes velvety
- remove from heat, remove basil leaves
- add to food processor or blender and puree til smooth
- strain through a medium sieve (not necessary so do so only if you don’t like seeds)
- set aside and keep warm
Oysters + Spinach
- melt 1tsp butter over medium heat til slightly brown in a medium size pan
- add wiped and torn oyster mushrooms (about 1.5c) + sea salt
- brown (don’t crowd them – make sure your pan is wide enough to accommodate all your mushrooms)
- when brown, add 3 handfuls of washed, dried spinach. stir in.
- when wilted remove from heat. set aside and keep warm
- add gnocchi to a bowl and spoon in 1/3c- 1/2c sauce per serving, or enough to coat the gnocchi generously. stir.
- serve each portion of gnocchi in their bowl
- divvy up the spinach/oyster mixture and spoon on top
- top with a bit of shaved pecorino and enjoy!
- Pizzeria di Ovi (Trestevere)
- Vecchio Roma (Jewish Ghetto)
- Caffe Sant-Eustachio (Piazza Navona)
- Trattoria da Bucatino (Testaccio)