Celebrate Rome’s Birthday on April 21st with three of its most famous products.
Everyone loves a birthday party and, with plenty to celebrate, the citizens of Rome are no exception. This beautiful ancient city is chockablock with some of the world’s finest art and architecture, cultural attractions, and, most importantly, food, glorious food! Celebrate Rome by enjoying a few of the delicacies it’s given the rest of the world.
1. Pecorino Romano
Produced only in the regions of Lazio (where Rome is located), Sardinia and the province of Grosseto in Tuscany, this hard sheep’s milk cheese has ancient roots going back 2,000 years – it even fuelled the Roman legions. It has a pale ivory colour and an aromatic, tangy flavour, and it melts luxuriously when grated over hot pasta.
2. Sabina DOP
This aromatic olive oil originating in Sabina, Rome is made from a number of local olive varieties and is rich in natural antioxidants – an ideal ingredient of the Mediterranean diet. Each bottle of Sabina DOP features a numbered label that allows you to trace the oil and identify the olive grower, oil mill and production area.
3. Guanciale [gwahn-chay-lay]
Sometimes referred to as Roman bacon, this cut is made from the cheek or jowl of the pig, so it’s a little firmer and meatier than the belly bacon you’re probably familiar with. It is rubbed with sugar, salt, and regional herb and spice blends. Look for an IGP (Indicazione Geografica Protetta or Indication of Geographical Protection) designation on the package to make sure you’re buying authentic Italian Guanciale. It’s a richly complex addition to a charcuterie board, egg dishes, salads, soups, and pastas. In fact, it’s one third of the holy trinity – egg, Pecorino, Guanciale – that makes authentic spaghetti alla carbonara.
4. Ricotta Romana
You’ve probably cooked with ricotta, whether layering it in a lasagna or sweetening it and using it in a dessert, but have you tried Ricotta Romana? This DOP (Denominazione di Origine Protetta or Protected Designation of Origin) certified cheese is a specialty fresh, soft cheese made using the whey from sheep’s milk. Uniquely sweet tasting, thanks to the pastures the sheep are raised in the Lazio region, where Rome is located, this ricotta can only be made with sheep’s milk from the Sarda, Comisana, and Sopravvissana breeds. If you can’t find Ricotta Romana, look for ricotta from other regions of Italy – they all have a unique flavour.
Plus, here’s how to make a quick Spaghetti alla Carbonara!
We didn’t think it was fair to mention spaghetti alla carbonara without sharing our tips on how to make this creamy-tasting pasta. The success of this five-ingredient dish is all about using quality Made in Italy ingredients: Pecorino Romano, Guanciale and Extra Olive Oil. You’ll want to choose a high-quality Italian spaghetti to ensure you get the best texture and sauce coverage (look for one that is made with durum wheat, has a rough texture and is pale in colour). And, of course, use the freshest, free-run eggs you can find – it makes a world of difference to this dish.
Sauté 1/2 chopped onion with about four slices of chopped Guanciale in a little Extra Virgin Olive Oil until crisp. Season the mixture generously with freshly ground pepper. Whisk two eggs with about a cup of finely grated Pecorino Romano. Cook your pasta al dente and strain. Toss the hot pasta with egg and Guanciale mixtures until combined.