When in Rome…

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Music – “Arrivederci Roma” from Reader’s Digest Music: The Romantic Strings Play Hit Movie Themes Volume 2 by Romantic Strings. Released: 2007

Ahh….Rome in late September. Too bad I had only one and a half days to enjoy it! It was 1984 and I was waiting for my sister to join me for our flight to Cairo and 10 days in Egypt.

Despite my brief sojourn in Rome, I made the best of it and crammed several local tours into my one and a half days.

The Coliseum, Rome, Italy. Photo by Sue Jimenez

The Coliseum, Rome, Italy. Photo by Sue Jimenez

I managed the whirlwind tour of The Coliseum, the Pantheon, the Vatican, and a number of ancient ruins within the city limits. The weather was sunny and warm and delicious.
The Spanish Steps and the Church of Trinita dei Monti, Rome, Italy.

The Spanish Steps and the Church of Trinita dei Monti, Rome, Italy. Photo by Sue Jimenez

Our hotel, The Hassler, was right at the top of the famous Spanish Steps and what a view of Rome from my room!
Inside the Basilica of St. Peter, The Vatican, Rome

Inside the Basilica of St. Peter, The Vatican, Rome. Photo by Sue Jimenez


Unfortunately, I had little time to experience Roman food, although I did manage to have a fabulous “Mozzarella Salad with Sun-Dried Tomatoes” lunch at the hotel, in between tours. It was luxurious, accompanied by a glass of local red wine. In one of my cookbooks, “Food of the World – Italy” by Linda Doeser, published in 2003, I found a similar recipe.
Mozzarella Salad with Sun-Dried Tomatoes.  Photo and Recipe from "Food of the World - Italy", by Linda Doeser

Mozzarella Salad with Sun-Dried Tomatoes. Photo and Recipe from “Food of the World – Italy”, by Linda Doeser

The author notes in the book that “Mozzarella is often included in salads, but this recipe from Rome is a more sophisticated version, as befits Italy’s capital city”:

Mozzarella Salad with Sun-Dried Tomatoes
(mozzarella alla romana) (serves 4)

5 ounces sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil (drained weight – save the oil)
1 tbsp fresh basil, coarsely shredded
1 tbsp fresh flat leaf parsley, coarsely chopped
1 tbsp capers, rinsed
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 garlic clove, chopped coarsely
extra olive oil, if necessary
pepper
3.5 ounces mixed salad greens (oak leaf lettuce, baby spinach, arugula, etc)
1 pound 2 ounces smoked mozzarella, sliced

Put the sun-dried tomatoes, basil, parsley, capers, vinegar and garlic in a food processor or blender. Measure the oil from the sun-dried tomatoes jar and make it up to 2/3 cup with more oil if necessary. Add to the food processor and blend until smooth. Season to taste with pepper. Divide the salad greens between 4 individual serving plates. Top with the slices of mozzarella and spoon the dressing over them. Serve immediately.

(the author notes that Taleggio or goat milk cheese may be substituted for the mozzarella)

Bernini's Tabernacle, Basilica of St. Peter, The Vatican.  The Tabernacle is 6 stories high and is constructed over the site of the tomb of St. Peter.  Photo by Sue Jimenez

Bernini’s Tabernacle, Basilica of St. Peter, The Vatican. The Tabernacle is 6 stories high and is constructed over the site of the tomb of St. Peter. Photo by Sue Jimenez

Inside the Pantheon, Rome, Italy

Inside the Pantheon, Rome, Italy. Photo by Sue Jimenez

Rome is situated in the Lazio region of Italy, which is a rich, fertile area for growing vegetables. These are usually cooked with liberal amounts of oil, herbs and garlic. Snails are said to be a popular dish in the region, as is pasta, which is usually the larger, chunkier types, such as bucatini. A favorite pasta dish, spaghetti carbonara, comes from this region.

Statue of Charlamagne, St. Peter's Basilica, The Vatican, Rome, Italy

Statue of Charlamagne, St. Peter’s Basilica, The Vatican, Rome, Italy. Photo by Sue Jimenez


Remains of the Circus Maximus, Rome, Italy

Remains of the Circus Maximus, Rome, Italy. Photo by Sue Jimenez


I wish I had a few more days to see more of Rome and to spend some time exploring the diverse culinary regions of Italy. Sigh. Arrivederci, Roma!

Window of a shop on the avenue leading to the Basilica of St. Peter's, The Vatican.  A little bit incongruous, what?  Photo by Sue Jimenez

Window of a shop on the avenue leading to the Basilica of St. Peter’s, The Vatican. The well-endowed lady is holding a sign advertising “Kodak”. A little bit incongruous, what? Photo by Sue Jimenez

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About vintagecookbookery

Cookbook lover and collector with a burgeoning collection of cookbooks. Reading and researching food trends, history of cooking techniques and technological advances in cooking, what we eat and why and cookbooks as reflectors of cultures is a fascination for me. As of November 7th, 2013, I hold the current Guinness World Record title for the largest collection of cookbooks: 2,970 at the official count on July 14th, 2013 (applaud now, thank you very much!) The current (unofficial) number is now 6,037. What next? More shelves!
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