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When in Rome: Our Food Editor's Simple Italian Menu

Here's how to entertain like the Romans, with easy, elegant dishes.

Deputy Food Editor
Pork scaloppine with arugula and braised artichokes
Photography by: Chris Court

Rome is our deputy food editor Greg Loft's absolute favorite city. Here, he shares a few elemental lessons of the Italian table, as well as some of his favorite dishes inspired by the Eternal City. Their splendid simplicity is timeless, and you can re-create them no matter where you live.

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Photography by: Chris Court

START SMALL

In Rome, it’s customary to offer only one or two antipasti -- in this menu, hard-cooked eggs with a rich yet light sauce are all you need.

 

Get the Eggs with Pine-Nut Sauce Recipe
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Photography by: Chris Court

PASTA PERFECTION

Romans enjoy a small portion of pasta every day, and they prefer it cooked very al dente, about two minutes less than called for in most package instructions. The chewy texture is a wonderful foil for rich, velvety chicken livers.

 

Get the Rigatoni with Chicken Livers Recipe
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Photography by: Chris Court

AMAZING BRAISE

Artichokes braised alla Romana (in olive oil) until tender are even better when made in the morning and reheated just before dinner.

 

Get the Roman-Style Artichokes Recipe
Pork scaloppine
Photography by: Chris Court

BUON APPETITO!

Pork scaloppine cooks quickly, even when you factor in making a pan sauce that adds finesse as well as flavor. You’ll have plenty of time, then, to prepare the artichokes, wash the arugula, and open a bottle of wine.

 

BALANCING ACT

Cooks in the know rely on a bitter or peppery green, such as arugula, to offset full-flavored meats.

 

FINISHING TOUCH

Before serving, drizzle a savory dish with good olive oil to add freshness. One of our favorites, Paesano, is from Sicily.

 

Get the Pork Scaloppine Recipe
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Photography by: Chris Court

LA DOLCE VITA

Americans tend to think of dessert as the crowning moment of a meal or a guilty indulgence. But in Rome, it is seen as an opportunity to bring together a few choice elements instead of as a reason to work hard. So gather your favorite nuts and biscotti or other simple cookies. Add whatever seasonal fruit you have on hand, and include refreshing scoops of store-bought sorbetto. A single shot of hot espresso or a small glass of ice-cold limoncello after dinner is good for the digestion -- perhaps, in part, because it is such a civilized way to end the day.

 

Get Our Best Biscotti Recipes

 

Get the Limoncello Recipe