Breaking Meatballs

Take one Italian and one English woman. Together on a day smelling like chestnuts. In a Roman kitchen. The idea was outrageously simple. Meeting up at Testaccio local market after coffee, which more or less corresponds to the civilized Roman early morning hour, that is 11 a.m; getting our heads and spirits lifted and spinning around grocery shopping with overchatting attention to the selection of delicious ingredients. Later on, run back home to an authentic Testaccio apartment block - with walls painted in orange, just like the colour of those unforgettable Roman sunsents - where I'm sure I've seen the shadow of Pasolini walk past us (but at the time I must have been too taken into considering whether going for a in bianco or rosso - white wine or tomatoes based sauce - for our main course).

I wanted to share a secret with Rachel. This ginger hair, delightfully tall girl from Britain, mother of a tiny 3 years old munchkin boy named Luca, runs a spectacularly well written blog called Racheleats. There, she basically goes through the pros and cons of Italian food traditions, letting the reader have full access to her palpably genuine lifestyle in the Roman neighbourhood of Testaccio, let alone her IG celebrated sink. She also managed to get messy in a few of the most renowned kitchens of the boot, thus embracing the most genuine Italian gastronomic culture. Away from the emotionally constipated view some have of the modern Brits and more in line with a contemporary version of a character issued from Austen's "Pride and (no) Prejudice" Rachel Roddy tries it all. And she tried mine too. I'm talking recipes of course. On our morning together and following her recent article on the Guardian, where she gratifies the reader with the, oh so many versions of the italian polpetta, of which we can find thousands of reinterpretations (I already mentioned in a previous post that each one has their own madeleines, haven't I?), I told her about my own Nonna's meatballs. We made them on a white Formica table veined in green just like Gorgonzola cheese, that Rachel purchased from a nuns' community. Couldn't get any more Roman than that. What a difference between the wine used for cooking, so called vino sincero (sincere wine due to its tendency of making you drunk undoubtedly cheaply) that makes for some fantastic meals and the one usually served in trattoria's tables, slightly more refined and delicate to the stomach.  An up tempo people pleaser and scrumptious, comforting food. There is something dangerously addictive about these mouthwatering pops. Just try to believe, until #foodhappiness kicks in.

Ingredients for 6: - 250 gr. pork twice minced meat - 250 gr. fracosta beef meat - 1 garlic clove - 150 gr. extra virgin olive oil - 100 gr. Parmesan - 150 gr. breadcrumbs - 1 fresh parsley bouquet, finely chopped - 2 fresh free range eggs - salt - pepper - 50 ml. Whole milk - 230 ml. Of white wine

In a bowl, bring together the two different meats with the eggs, the parmesan, the parsley, half of the breadcrumbs, the milk, a tbsp of extra virgin olive oil, a pinch of both salt and pepper. Mix all the ingredients roughly with your hands in order to form a big mountain.

Place the remaining breadcrumbs on a big round plate, and have another ready beside it. Form small meatballs rolling them inside your hands, then cover them with breadcrumbs and position them one by one on the clean dish.

Warm up a pan with  100 gr. of oil and the garlic clove. Once it browns, pour in all the meatballs and let them cook for about 3 minutes each side at medium fire. Close the fire. Prepare a dish with some absorbing paper on top, and let the meatballs off the pan and on the scottex in order to get rid of the excessive oil.

Then, pour the wine of in the pan and let it warm up for 1 minute a high fire, then pour the meatballs in again and let cook for 5 minutes vivaciously. Serve warm and covered with parsley and its sauce.

With love and a mountain of meatballs,


* photo credits @Rachel Roddy

It's #romanity. Sneak peek #5

It's Sunday. Finally. The day ahead is for us only, no tough projects or serious intentions allowed. Sunday in Rome, particularly, is truly a treat. Walking through the eternal city as if it belonged to you, when the purpose of noise is to make silence resonate. A typical Sunday in Rome would involve, of course, looking for the perfect lunch. There's no better way than doing it in one of the city markets. The Campagna Amica one offers a choice of products coming from the Roman countryside and 100% naturally grown.


Once the selection of  the tastiest ingredients is dealt with, it's time to think about the perfect table sparks. Other than being a grace for the eye, flowers can also be poured into caster sugar and make for a wonderful cake decoration.


Every Italian table would have at least one loaf of bread, to be considered a respectable measure of conviviality.  Most of us opt for a "scarpetta": after overindulging in your Sunday's lasagna, you take a piece of bread and clean the rest of the plate off the delicious leftover sauce. Strictly with your hands. Beware of all imitations.


As my friend and partner in this project Cucina Digitale would put it - whether the weather - Sunday lunch is a sacred event.


Taking long walks with a #romanity attitude and your favourite Sunday paper are likely to make you stumble upon Locandas and Trattoria. The typical sunday specials around here are: Lasagna, bucatini all' Amatriciana, Vignarola, Roast Lamb with Potatoes. And #foodhappiness as a cherry on the cake. Can you read it on my face?


What's your favourite Sunday treat?

Happy thoughts to you all,


Blown away by the images? Blame it on Cucina Digitale amazing sight.