The Eternal City: Recipes and Stories from Rome, written by Maria Pasquale, features a fantastic collection of 70 recipes paired with beautiful photos and memories. A few highlights include Gnocchi Cozze e Pecorino (Gnocchi with Mussels and Pecorino), Olive all’Ascolana (Fried Stuffed Olives), Porchetta (Slow-Roasted Rolled Pork), Mini Panettone, and Torta di Patate e Broccoli Romani (Roman Broccoli and Potato Smash). I will also be sharing her recipe for Spaghetti Ajo, Ojo e Peperoncino following the review.
Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from Smith Street Books in exchange for my honest review. All comments and opinions are my own. This post contains Amazon affiliate links. If you purchase something through the link, I may receive a small commission at no extra charge to you.
Maria Pasquale is an award-winning food and travel writer and journalist. She was born to Italian parents in Melbourne, Australia and moved to Rome in 2011.
She created the blog, HeartRome, as a way to share her experiences in Rome with family and friends and it has now grown to over 45,000 followers in over 100 countries. Her work has been featured in USA Today, Condé Nast, Fodor’s, CNN, BBC Travel, Vogue, The Telegraph, and more.
Maria is also the author of I Heart Rome and How to Be Italian.
The Eternal City
Maria begins The Eternal City with a short introduction from her childhood in Australia to falling in love with Rome and finally moving to the city. The recipes in this book have been shared with her from Roman friends, restaurants, bakeries, food stores, and more.
Chapters are divided according to dining concept: La Trattoria, La Friggitoria, Il Forno, Il Mercato, La Pizzeria, Il Quinto Quarto, La Pasticceria, and A Casa.
I especially love the focus on local favorites and chefs, notable ingredients, modern-day dining concepts and trends, and seasonal market guides.
For those visiting the city, Maria has even put together a Food Lover’s Guide to Rome with a map of markets, delis, restaurants, gelato, pizza, and other food stores.
The photography is provided by Mark Roper. Most of the recipes are paired with a beautifully styled, full-page photo of the finished dish. There are also photos of the city, people, markets, and restaurants scattered among the pages.
Measurements are listed in Metric and US Customary. Titles are written in Italian (Romanesco) and English. Each recipe has a headnote with background information, personal stories, yield, serving ideas, and tips.
Spaghetti Ajo, Ojo e Peperoncino
The recipe for Spaghetti Ajo, Ojo e Peperoncino comes from the A Casa chapter. Spaghetti is paired with garlic, olive oil, and red chili for a quick and delicious meal. It comes together so easily too with only five ingredients!
Simply bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook the spaghetti until just tender, al dente.
While the pasta is cooking, infuse the thinly sliced garlic and finely chopped red chilies in olive oil with a little salt.
Toss the spaghetti with the seasoned olive oil, a little pasta water, and chopped fresh parsley immediately before serving.
I also made La Gricia, Mozzarelline Fritte, Pizzette, and Brodo di Mamma con Stracciatella (Mum’s Chicken and Egg-Drop Soup).
The La Trattoria chapter has notable favorites such as Carbonara and Cacio e Pepe, but this was my first time making La Gricia. It was absolutely wonderful and another easy pasta dish. Rigatoni is cooked until tender, then tossed in light white white Pecorino Romano sauce with pieces of crispy guanciale.
The Mozzarelline Fritte (Fried Mini-Mozzarella Balls) were Evan’s favorite. Bocconcini (fresh baby mozzarella balls) are coated in egg, then a seasoned breadcrumb mixture before frying until crispy and golden.
A popular Aperitivo, these Pizzette are fun bite-size flaky rounds with a tomato sauce topping. Laminating dough has always been a difficult skill for me (continuing to work on it!), so I was incredibly excited to peek into the oven and see the beautiful layers as they puffed up.
The Brodo di Mamma con Stracciatella (Mum’s Chicken and Egg-Drop Soup) was such a comforting meal. A homemade chicken vegetable broth is served with sliced pieces of chicken with an egg Parmigiano Reggiano mixture added at the last minute.
The Eternal City is a fantastic pick for those interested in the food of Rome and local favorites. Many dishes come together in as little as 30 minutes, while the dough-based, dessert, and stew recipes involve a bit more planning.
Most of the ingredients are readily available in larger American grocery stores. A few items that may require further searching include guanciale, veal, baccalà (salt cod), zucchini flowers, bocconcini, pork belly, sultanas, and Romanesco broccoli.
Spaghetti Ajo, Ojo e Peperoncino Recipe
Excerpt from The Eternal City
Spaghetti Ajo, Ojo e Peperoncino
- 400 grams (14 ounces) spaghetti
- 150 milliliters (5 fluid ounces) extra virgin olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves thinly sliced
- 2 red chilies seeded and finely chopped
- 1 small bunch flat-leaf parsley chopped
- Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil.
- Add the pasta and cook for the time indicated on the packet.
- Meanwhile, gently heat the olive oil in a frying pan and add the garlic. Cook over medium heat for a minute or two until the garlic begins to soften, then add the chili and season with a little salt.
- Cook for a further minute to infuse the oil, then turn off the heat so the garlic doesn't burn.
- When the pasta is al dente, drain it and add to the frying pan with a few spoonfuls of the cooking water.
- Cook over medium heat for a couple of minutes, adding the parsley and stirring together well to coat the pasta in the oil.
- Serve immediately.