Easy Italian food


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A green spring in Lazio

People tend to forget that beyond the wonders of the great urban center that is Rome lies a fertile and lovely agricultural region that produces succulent suckling pig and milk-fed lamb, excellent sheep's and goat's milk cheeses, but above all tender green vegetables and perfumed herbs that are used to great effect in the local cuisine. Perhaps the most famous vegetable dishes from this area are based on artichokes, though at this time of year, you should try the seasonal produce such as fava beans, baby peas, and broccoli. Tender fava beans, which are highly esteemed in the region, are often eaten raw, accompanied by Pecorino Romano and a crisp white wine such as Bianco dei Castelli. They also feature in a traditional dish called "fave col guanciale," for which they are cooked slowly with pig's cheek, spring onions, and broth. Delicate green peas are prepared "al prosciutto": they are cooked with onions, Prosciutto crudo, and broth, and traditionally are served with crostini. Spinach is sautéed with garlic, pine nuts, and raisins for a fragrant "spinaci alla romana," while a local broad variety of spring beans are cooked with tomato sauce and parsley for "fagiolini a corallo." You should also try a famous dish called "broccoli strascinati" (literally "dragged broccoli"), where the raw vegetable is cooked in olive oil with a hint of garlic. You can also enjoy trying out the many types of lettuces and herbs grown in the area. Cress, salad burnet, glasswort, and a flavorsome variety of catalogna called "puntarelle" are used to make delicious salads, while mint, sage and basil are some of the herbs that crop up frequently to add their distinctive flavors to the regional dishes. With such a range to chose from, who needs steak on the bone?


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Liguria Lombardia