SI Vault
Samuel Chamberlain
December 21, 1959
A noted food authority invites you to a gastronomic tour of the Olympic City to prepare you for the many delights and varied surprises of the Italian cucina
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December 21, 1959

A Feast In Rome

A noted food authority invites you to a gastronomic tour of the Olympic City to prepare you for the many delights and varied surprises of the Italian cucina

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Lobster (aragosta) is not exactly plentiful in Rome, but it is obtainable in the more important restaurants. If you crave lobster thermidor or New-burg, several fine chefs in Rome are ready to prepare it for you—"S.G."

Roasts and meat dishes

Many American travelers in Italy complain that they find a superabundance of veal and chicken and not enough of the good substantial beef to which they are accustomed. This is not the situation in Rome, where a grilled steak awaits them in practically every restaurant. Veal is more plentiful, however, and appears in many more guises, as does lamb, though it is somewhat less favored. Pork is in scarce supply compared to veal, but among them all the meat larder is well filled.

Manzo is the basic word for beef, although it goes under a variety of names once it is grilled. Bistecca di manzo ai ferri is a simple beefsteak; filetto di bue alla griglia is a grilled fillet. Roman chefs borrow foreign names for their finest steaks—entrec�te ai ferri (thin minute steak) and tournedos Rossini, the legendary fillet of beef presented on toast fried in butter and topped with a layer of foie gras. Once in a while you will find hamburger grandiosely listed as filetto hach� all 'Amburgo. Beef also appears as stufato di manzo, a savory beef stew, or bollito, boiled, or simply as roast beef. But steak is the thing in Rome, and usually it is very good.

You will become well acquainted with vitello, fine, young, milk-fed veal. Light in color and delicate in texture, it is a Roman staple. The outstanding example is the famous saltimbocca alla romana, in which thin slices of veal are saut�ed with prosciutto, a leaf of sage and often a sprinkling of Marsala. As the first word of its name says, it "jumps into the mouth." But there are other favorites, too:

Scaloppine are, of course, veal escalopes—thin slices of lean veal pounded even thinner and prepared rapidly to order. They are cooked in butter or olive oil and combined with Marsala or Madeira wine. Scaloppine alla valdostana have a topping of melted Fontina cheese. The Romans' own favorite seems to be scaloppine alla pizzaiola, that famous red sauce of tomatoes, garlic and herbs.

Veal cutlets are known as costolette, chops on the bone, also pounded thin. They are usually served alla milanese, dipped in beaten egg and bread crumbs and sauteed in butter, an Italian classic.

Not pounded thin but allowed to assert their own personality are veal loin chops (lombate or lombatine). Sometimes they are cooked in white wine with mushrooms, but the time-honored procedure is to grill them. A majestic lombata ai ferri is a noble entr�e.

You may have heard of ossobuco—veal marrowbone, surrounded by meat, sawed into slices about two inches thick and cooked slowly with herbs, spices and vegetables for many hours. This Milanese specialty is found on many Roman tables, and is universally esteemed.

The Roman chefs also prepare the spare parts of the calf in many delectable ways. These include animelle (sweetbreads), cervello (brains), fegato (liver) and trippa (tripe), often accompanied by mushrooms, onions, capers or peas.

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