This is not going to be a happy post.
I mean… I am ok, no worries, all is fine and nothing terrible has happened but, well… today I was passing by the very center of Rome in open market’s hours and decided to stop by the market in Campo de’ Fiori. It has been years since the last time I have visited the square in the morning, years since I shopped at the historical open market of the square I lived by for a short but unforgettable period of my life. Something like 13 years ago.
Campo de’ Fiori used to host a market where the locals went early in the morning to get the freshest food and the best deals. Fresh fruit and vegetables, and delicacies such as burrata, which I first found in this very market something like… 25 years ago. It was a feast for the senses to visit the Roman market and I was so light thinking of seeing it again. But for some reason I was not sure I would have found it again.
And, in fact, the market does no longer exist. Where the local market was, with the fresh bounty from the local producers, lays instead a series of sad stalls of industrial products without identity, clearly designed for casual tourists. There are still open markets with quality local produce in Rome, but surely not in the historical market of Campo de’ Fiori.
Requiem for my favorite food market in my old town. And the worst thing is that the place still keeps its name, so that the causal tourist thinks she truly is visiting Campo de’ Fiori market and not some anonymous shopping venue which could be located anywhere, really. Should I make a sit-in to protest against the barbarization of Rome? Who wants to join?
Still on the road but with a good internet connection, I can do my favorite thing, i.e. writing about food. These orecchiette are something I am actually very eager to write about. They are indeed my very first home-made pasta. Ok, ok, this is NOT entirely true. I did make gnudi not so long ago, but I don’t consider them as pasta because… well, they are not made out of flour, right?
For my first attempt with the real thing I have been a little harsh on myself, choosing to make gluten-free pasta. I took a recipe calling for semolina flour and substituted most of it with buckwheat flour and a little of it with soy bean flour (which actually resembles semolina A LOT). The idea was to shape the dough like… I don’t even remember the name of the original pasta but anyway… buckwheat dough is not as elastic as semolina dough, so I improvised and the I-do-not-remember-what pasta became orecchiette. I truly had no idea of how to shape orecchiette before but it got pretty intuitive having a dough of the right consistency at hand. This buckwheat-soy dough felt in fact just perfect for the little ears.
I served these extemporary orecchiette with a spicy tomato sauce that fit perfectly and balanced well the pretty intense flavor of the buckwheat. I am still amazed of how good this pasta tasted and of how little time and effort it took to make from scratch. [Read More...]
The guy in the picture inhabits my mother’s balcony, in one lovely neighborhood of Rome. I may sound just a tiny bit partial, but right now my mom’s balcony feels like the Elysian fields to me, with flowers of every color and shape blooming and inebriating us with their scent. So glad I chose to visit in May this year.
I am realizing more and more that when you leave your home country you go through different stages. On the first stage, you miss everything of your homeland and seem not to tolerate even the taste of the water in your host country. After a while, you generally enter a second stage, when you finally get used to your new home and start to be utterly annoyed when you go back to your native country… why do they do this that way? why don’t they do like in xy country? how can they be so stupid (in my native country)? can’t they learn from others? gosh it’s so hot/cold/dry/wet/whatever here, next year I will stay home, my new home.
Then, after several years abroad you may enter a third, more painful, stage. So one time in which, as usual, you did not want to go back to visit your old folks, one sunny day, you may suddenly feel that, well, you don’t want to leave your crazy and irrational and oh so stupid native country again. Never ever again. I mean… look at that jasmine crawling over that pine three… look at those lemons almost ready to be picked, look at the turquoise of the open ocean, just a couple of miles away from where I grew up, and 10 miles away from the center of Rome. And look at those aubergines, and artichokes, and “puntarelle” – veggies around Rome are better than candies.
Yes, the third stage is so far the toughest. Looking forward to the fourth stage, any idea of what will that bring? By the way, greetings from Rome, or somewhere around it.
Another guy living in my mom’s balcony. Don’t ask me his name, I do sourdough, not flowers…
And here we are, contemplating the incredible bread bounty of the third edition of Panissimo. This time I will let the images and the names of the breads to talk, and remember that if you click on the name of the blog besides each bread you can access the full post with the complete method to make each of these baked wonders. And don’t forget to go to Sandra from Indovina ci viene a cena? for a sparkly roundup in Italian. [Read More...]