Tag Archives: Rome

Butter and Anchovies Two Ways

The truth is, I am not a butter eater. In front of a loaf just out of the oven, I will reach for peppery olive oil and flaky salt. Butter can sit in my fridge, ignored, for months, until the baking itch attacks.

But since our last trip to Rome – where I ate my weight in gluten and dairy – I have been using that packet of butter surprisingly often. It was either melted into a puddle, mingled with anchovies and used to season pasta. Or eased in thin yet un-spread layers over toasted bread, and covered with whole, plump anchovies only seconds before the first bite. And anyway, as hazardous as this combination might sound, they are actually the perfect match – a classic case of opposites that attract each other.

Burro e alici (butter and anchovies) is a traditional Roman dish of poor origins, combining all the main nutrients in one simple and filling dish: fat from butter, proteins from the fish, and carbs from the bread or pasta. Cucina povera at its finest.

The bruschette are a very nice and quick option for aperitivo, especially if last minute. I like the butter to be in shavings that melt on their own over the warm bread, and whole anchovies for texture.

The pasta is not for the faint of heart, but I made it for an enthusiastic American who thought anchovies were the enemy only a couple of years ago. It has a strong, stubborn attitude, and attacks your nose with its fishy notes before you even taste the first forkful; but the sweetness of the butter will there, waiting to reward the brave hearts with its deeply satisfying lusciousness.

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Rome Postcards

This time – our second in Rome – we stayed in Testaccio. The courtyard of our tiny apartment seemed to belong to an old Italian movie: climbing roses, clothes hanging from the windows, old pensive(or rather nosy?) ladies at the balcony, and neighborhood cats. Emiko‘s little one really loved the cats – just as much as I did.

We spent our handful of days wandering aimlessly. It seems to be our favourite way to get to know a city – only second to plan visits around restaurant reservations. I got to peep through the keyhole at the top of the Aventino hill, the one where the edges make a perfect frame of St. Peter’s dome. We idled around the Orange Gardens, filling our lungs with the scent of orange blossoms, smiling at the sight of many inedible Seville oranges peeled, bitten and abandoned on the floor. Scenes from the stunning movie that is The Great BeautyLa Dolce Vita and Roman Holidays didn’t seem to apply any longer – came to mind along the way: nuns chasing pigeons, the deadly view from Gianicolo, the feeling of decadence, of langueur

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