When in Rome: Our Food Editor's Simple Italian Menu
Here's how to entertain like the Romans, with easy, elegant dishes.
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.
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.
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.
Artichokes braised alla Romana (in olive oil) until tender are even better when made in the morning and reheated just before dinner.
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.
Cooks in the know rely on a bitter or peppery green, such as arugula, to offset full-flavored meats.
Before serving, drizzle a savory dish with good olive oil to add freshness. One of our favorites, Paesano, is from Sicily.
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.