Why Roman food is hot right now

 cacio e pepe

There is no shortage of Italian cookbooks - we've all fallen in love with the cuisine of Tuscany, Sicily, and other Italian regions. But until just a couple of years ago there were no books dedicated to the foods of Rome. That has recently changed, with the publication of several cookbooks highlighting Rome's unique cuisine. Diana Henry explores why the food of Rome is getting a second look.

Diana recently spent some in the city, talking to authors like Eleanara Galasso, whose book As the Romans Do: Authentic and Reinvented Recipes from the Eternal City has just been released. Says Galasso, "Rome, for quite a while, has been about quarrels and Berlusconi. There hasn't been much room for food." But, she continues, "We're also down to earth - and Roman food, which is simple, anchors us." Her cookbook brings us the food, but also "depicts a movie set of crumbling palazzos, Versace dresses and gossiping nonnas."

Galasso is not the only one celebrating Roman cuisine. American journalist Katie Parla, who has lived in Rome for more than 13 years, is also enamored with the city. Her new book, Tasting Rome: Fresh Flavors and Forgotten Recipes from an Ancient City, takes us through all of the neighborhoods of Rome. Another Roman convert is Rachel Roddy, who recently published My Kitchen in Rome: Recipes and Notes on Italian Cooking, her second cookbook exploring Roman foods.

"If you look at a typical Roman menu," says Roddy, "you have the story of Rome and its people: the grilled lamb and rosemary of the Etruscans, the chickpea soup and anchovies of the ancient Romans, the offal of the slaughterhouse workers. This continues today with the hip natural-wine guys who want us to return to farmers' wine. It's all part of an evolving story."

Photo of Leonardo Vignoli's cacio e pepe (Cacio e pepe di Leonardo Vignoli) from Tasting Rome by Katie Parla and Kristina Gill

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