Two Kitchens - Rachel Roddy - Review, Recipe and Giveaway

Two Kitchens: Family Recipes from Sicily and Rome by Rachel Roddy, the award-winning Guardian Cook columnist and winner of the Andre Simon and Guild of Food Writers' awards, delivers a glorious book highlighting the food that comes from her two kitchens - one in Sicily and the other in Rome. (Because we index every recipe from the Guardian Cook, you can add any of Rachel's 137 recipes from there to your Bookshelf as well.) 

Rachel's first title Five Quarters (also published as My Kitchen in Rome) shares the story of her love affair with Italy that blossomed when first visiting the neighborhood of Testaccio, the wedge-shaped quarter of Rome that centers around the old slaughterhouse and the bustling food market. With that visit began a new life. In Five Quarters she journals a year in her small Italian kitchen, shopping, cooking, eating, and writing. It sounds like a dream, right?

In her latest book, Two Kitchens, Rachel's beautiful writing, stunning photographs and scrumptious recipes makes this title a must have. Simon Hopkinson provides a quote on the front of this book "I want to live under Rachel's kitchen table. There are very, very few who possess such a supremely uncluttered culinary voice as hers." I don't want to live under her table - I want to stand next to her, make a lovely meal and sit at her table to soak in her culinary wisdom. Since this is unlikely to happen, I will take the next best thing - cooking her recipes and enjoying her stories as if at her table. 

I have made four recipes from Two Kitchens and my family, guests and I loved them all. Those recipes were: Meatballs in white sauce (Polpette in bianco) - was my favorite and we are sharing that recipe with you today, Spaghetti with garlic, oil and lemon (Spaghetti aglio, olio al limone), Potato and aubergine cake (Gattò di patate e melanzane, and Sausages with grapes and red onions (Salsiccia all'uva e cipolla). The only suggestion I would do next time is to add additional seasoning to the potato dish - it was great but I would love it a bit more with a little onion or garlic in the mix. We had guests over when I made the meatballs and potato cake and they used some of the sauce from the meatballs on the potatoes - there were raves all around. 

If you remotely enjoy real Italian cooking, you need Rachel Roddy in your library. If you remotely enjoy beautiful writing, you need Rachel Roddy in your library. If you remotely enjoy beautiful photography - well you get the picture.  Her style of cooking is what has transformed me into an Italian food lover. 

Rachel and her publisher, Headline, are sharing the Meatballs in White Wine Sauce with us today. These may be my favorite meatballs ever - something about the sauce does it - almost a piccata like flavor. Headline is also offering three copies of this title to our members in the UK (see giveaway below).

Polpette in bianco (Meatballs in white sauce)
Add this recipe to your bookshelf (click the blue +Bookshelf button).

Serves 6

250g minced beef
350g minced pork
75g soft fresh breadcrumbs
75g Parmesan, grated
1 heaped tablespoon finely
chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 eggs
fine breadcrumbs, for rolling
6 tablespoons extra-virgin
olive oil
2 garlic cloves
200ml white wine (you may
need a little more)
salt and freshly ground
black pepper

A friend calls it the 'blessed curse of mamma's meatballs'. The meatballs are, to the person describing them, the best, their taste inimitable; just the thought of eating them is to be transported home. Italians take this idea to quite an extraordinary level, which I have learned to appreciate, love even, despite being English. The curse is that no meatballs will ever come close, even those made by other relatives. Vincenzo's family have proved this. Uncle Liborio, who is a chef and technically a much better cook than his mother, Sara, has made meatballs with meat from the same butcher, breadcrumbs from the same bakery, the same pan and water, and standing on the same patch of floor in front of the stove. The meatballs were good, but not Sara's, and therefore disappointing. The other part of the curse is that we all have to hear about everyone else's blessed meatballs.

This recipe is for meatballs in white (bianco) as opposed to red (rosso), i.e. tomato, sauce - but you could simmer them in tomato sauce if you wanted to. There is a moment of stove-top alchemy when the escaped breadcrumbs, meat juices, wine and olive oil come together into a thickish gravy that clings to the meatballs.  Served on a wide platter with the gravy poured over the top and a handful of parsley, they make for a pleasing and, due to their pop-in-the-mouth size, irresistible dish. Potatoes and greens (see page 100) or mashed potatoes make good partners.  

Knead together the meat, breadcrumbs, Parmesan, parsley (reserving a little for later), eggs, a generous pinch of salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Work the mixture, kneading and then squeezing the ingredients together into a soft, consistent mass.

Pour more breadcrumbs on to a plate. Take walnut-sized balls of the meat mixture and roll them firmly between your palms into small, neat balls. Roll the balls in breadcrumbs and sit them on a clean board or plate.  

Warm the olive oil in a large, deep frying pan. Crush the garlic cloves with the back of a knife so that they split but remain whole and add them to the pan. Fry gently until golden and fragrant, which should take a minute or so. Remove the garlic and add the meatballs. Fry the meatballs, increasing the heat a little and moving them around until they are brown on all sides.  This will take about 6 minutes.  

Add the wine, which will sizzle vigorously, and a good pinch of salt. Continue to cook the meatballs, nudging them around.  As the wine reduces into a thickish gravy, scrape it down from the sides of the pan and keep the meatballs moving so they cook evenly. You may need to add more wine. After about 5 minutes, taste a meatball to see how it is cooking. You may need to cook them a little longer; you may not. Adjust the seasoning if necessary and stir again.  Once cooked, turn the meatballs on to a warm platter, pour over the pan gravy and sprinkle over a little parsley to serve.



Headline Books is offering three copies of this title to our EYB Members in the UK only and Eat Your Books is offering one copy worldwide. One of the entry options is to answer the following question in the comments section of this blog post.

Which recipe in the index would you like to try first?

Please note that you must be logged into the Rafflecopter contest before posting or your entry won't be counted. Please be sure to check your spam filters to make sure you receive our email notifications. Prizes can take up to 6 weeks to arrive from the publishers. If you are not already a Member, you can join at no cost. The contest ends at midnight on September 19, 2017. 



  • Maefleur  on  8/12/2017 at 4:41 PM

    Lentil salad with orange zest and herbs

  • heyjude  on  8/12/2017 at 6:59 PM


  • DarcyVaughn  on  8/12/2017 at 10:48 PM

    Sardines stuffed like little birds

  • MattFr  on  8/13/2017 at 1:38 AM

    Salsiccia all'uva e cipolla Sounds so good

  • usingSpoons  on  8/13/2017 at 1:46 AM

    I have Five Quarters and love Rachel's writing there, and in her Guardian column. I think her best recipes are the ones that sound ridiculously simple, but are elevated by her writing and the detail of the recipe. So I would start with Potatoes and Greens, which sounds like a non-recipe but I'm sure has lots of delicious detail.

  • tupelo29  on  8/13/2017 at 3:14 AM

    Spaghetti with breadcrumbs and anchovies.

  • bcarpenter  on  8/13/2017 at 7:31 AM

    grape and tomato salad - sounds intriguing

  • vickster  on  8/13/2017 at 7:34 AM

    Potato and Aubergine cake. This book looks great!

  • hirsheys  on  8/13/2017 at 9:28 AM

    Caponata - I love caponata so much.

  • kristenlynnmcclure  on  8/13/2017 at 9:41 AM

    Baked tomatoes with anchovies, garlic and breadcrumbs

  • Klarisa  on  8/13/2017 at 9:44 AM

    Chicken with citrus and olives

  • love2chow  on  8/13/2017 at 10:56 AM

    Potato and aubergine cake (Gattò di patate e melanzane)

  • rchesser  on  8/13/2017 at 11:06 AM

    Sicilian layered sponge, ricotta and marzipan cake (Cassata).

  • FaithB  on  8/13/2017 at 11:21 AM

    I want to make the Sicilian Lemon Pudding.

  • Siegal  on  8/13/2017 at 11:39 AM

    Dried broad bean purée sounds good

  • Purplepeepers  on  8/13/2017 at 12:01 PM

    Roast shoulder of lamb with anchovies, garlic and rosemary

  • lpatterson412  on  8/13/2017 at 12:07 PM

    I want to try tuna with sweet and sour onions!

  • WildCottage  on  8/13/2017 at 1:12 PM

    First off would be Peaches in Wine for me!

  • Linkinn  on  8/13/2017 at 1:19 PM

    I love anything with lemons so it would have to be the Sicilian Lemon Pudding.

  • jezairey  on  8/13/2017 at 1:51 PM

    I, too, love caponata - so I would try that recipe first whilst planning my way round the others! Lots of delicious-sounding things.

  • lisatrev  on  8/13/2017 at 4:28 PM

    Cauliflower cheese with Parmesan and white beans. Sounds delicious!

  • LaurenE  on  8/13/2017 at 4:31 PM

    Sicilian Lemon Pudding

  • LaurenE  on  8/13/2017 at 4:38 PM

    Sicilian Lemon Pudding

  • ktwalla  on  8/13/2017 at 5:18 PM

    cauliflower cakes

  • sandradelgreco  on  8/13/2017 at 6:41 PM

    I would love to make the Sicilian lemon pudding, once I have the book I will make many of the dishes. I love her writing and her recipes are always perfect.

  • t.t  on  8/13/2017 at 10:29 PM

    Pasta with aubergine (Pasta con melanzane)

  • Dmartin997  on  8/13/2017 at 11:31 PM

    Sicilian layered sponge, ricotta and marzipan cake (Cassata)

  • Astrid5555  on  8/14/2017 at 1:27 AM

    Sweet-and-sour rabbit!

  • veronicafrance  on  8/14/2017 at 4:47 AM

    I would probably try one of the simple pasta recipes -- with lemon and parmesan sounds good!

  • ChefTamiMitchell  on  8/14/2017 at 5:26 AM

    Mmm so many choices

  • sipa  on  8/14/2017 at 12:35 PM

    Chicken with potatoes, anchovies and rosemary

  • FJT  on  8/14/2017 at 1:12 PM

    It's got to be the ugly-but-good biscuits!!

  • kmn4  on  8/14/2017 at 1:36 PM

    Lemon granita (Granita di limone)

  • matag  on  8/14/2017 at 3:06 PM

    Chicken balls with ricotta and lemon (Polpette di pollo e ricotta e limone)

  • jifar  on  8/15/2017 at 8:23 AM

    The peach and almond crumble for me

  • lgroom  on  8/15/2017 at 10:40 AM

    That Sicilian lemon pudding has me drooling.

  • infotrop  on  8/15/2017 at 5:41 PM

    Aubergine patties ... I was just looking for a good eggplant recipe.

  • RSW  on  8/16/2017 at 6:24 AM

    Meatballs in white sauce (Polpette in bianco)

  • sarahawker  on  8/16/2017 at 3:23 PM

    A sort of St. Joseph's soup (Maccu di San Giuseppe)

  • Laura64  on  8/16/2017 at 6:22 PM

    Almond semifreddo

  • Mariarosa  on  8/16/2017 at 8:29 PM

    My eye's drawn to the cauliflower cakes.

  • JuneHawk  on  8/16/2017 at 10:14 PM

    Prosciutto with peaches (Prosciutto con le pesche)

  • Amandaspamanda  on  8/18/2017 at 8:26 PM

    Spring or green soup (Minestra di primavera) - it's been a while since i've tried to make a new soup. This one sounds good!

  • Scotsman61  on  8/18/2017 at 10:22 PM

    Potato and aubergine cake (Gattò di patate e melanzane)

  • BMeyer  on  8/19/2017 at 7:05 PM

    Chicken with citrus and olives

  • ravensfan  on  8/21/2017 at 2:38 PM

    My big batch sauce

  • Titch  on  8/22/2017 at 1:26 PM

    I would try the Baked tomatoes with anchovies, garlic and breadcrumbs, I've never tried baked tomatoes before

  • Joy001  on  8/22/2017 at 3:41 PM

    Summer salad of farro, eggs, tuna and capers

  • Clove  on  8/22/2017 at 4:38 PM

    Pasta with cauliflower, anchovies, saffron, pine nuts and raisins sounds brilliant!

  • Signe  on  8/22/2017 at 6:17 PM

    Pickled peaches!

  • Nataliecrue  on  8/23/2017 at 1:14 AM

    The Cassata

  • dvajefink  on  8/23/2017 at 12:35 PM

    Meatballs in white sauce!

  • schesshire  on  8/23/2017 at 6:21 PM

    Aubergine fritters!

  • Toni03  on  8/24/2017 at 1:49 PM

    Olive oil, lemon and oregano sauce (Sammurigghiu)

  • jdub1371  on  8/24/2017 at 2:31 PM

    Sesame seed biscuits (reginelle). I have my grandmother's recipe for these, but they never come out quite right. I'm always willing to try another one.

  • motherofpearl81  on  8/24/2017 at 6:48 PM

    Sweet and sour aubergine stew (Caponata)

  • lils74  on  8/25/2017 at 9:44 AM

    Oh my goodness- the spaghetti with garlic, oil and lemon is what I'd make. I think lemon is an underrated pasta sauce ingredient.

  • wester  on  8/25/2017 at 4:27 PM

    Lentil salad with orange zest and herbs sounds good.

  • LizyB  on  8/25/2017 at 4:43 PM

    Chicken w/citrus & olives -- I make a version of this and would like to see how she does it!

  • Julia  on  8/25/2017 at 8:46 PM

    Little oranges (Arancini).

  • sequoia55  on  8/25/2017 at 10:49 PM

    cauliflower cakes

  • sequoia55  on  8/25/2017 at 10:58 PM

    peach and almond crumble

  • Dutchmary  on  8/26/2017 at 1:04 AM

    Chicken with citrus and olives!

  • Sladea86  on  8/26/2017 at 1:33 AM

    Aubergine parmigiana my favourite and I don't have a recipe!

  • janrodda  on  8/26/2017 at 2:06 AM

    Rachel's writing makes me want to try all of her recipes, but if I had to choose I'd start with spaghetti with breadcrumbs and anchovies

  • colinf  on  8/26/2017 at 2:13 AM

    Sicilian lemon pudding looks great

  • Mayandbill  on  8/26/2017 at 3:47 AM

    Am always keen to try a new caponata recipe.

  • Yllas  on  8/26/2017 at 4:19 AM

    any pasta with anchovies and breadcrumbs gets my attention, maybe add capers, possibly black olives...... 😘

  • Nickargenta  on  8/26/2017 at 8:45 AM

    Hard to choose one as there are a ton of recipes I want to cook from this book. Pasta with cauliflower, anchovies, saffron, pine nuts and raisins immediately aroused my curiousity.

  • Foodycat  on  8/26/2017 at 10:24 AM

    I'm a sucker for an ice cream, so I think the almond semifreddo.

  • luccio  on  8/26/2017 at 10:27 AM

    Pizza al taglio

  • iza27  on  8/26/2017 at 10:59 AM

    Lasagne is one of my favourite 😊

  • Emmydee  on  8/26/2017 at 11:15 AM

    Aubergine patties would be my first choice, sounds delicious!

  • jim.windle  on  8/26/2017 at 1:46 PM

    Deep fried anchovies

  • mziech  on  8/26/2017 at 2:05 PM

    Potato, onion and caper salad (Insalata di patate, cipolla, e caperi)

  • musingsondinner  on  8/26/2017 at 5:13 PM

    There's a lot here that's beautiful, but I've always wanted to make polpette di melanzane (aubergine patties). I'm sure I'd be inspired to get round to it!

  • dna  on  8/27/2017 at 4:16 AM

    potato and aubergine cake

  • Julia77  on  8/27/2017 at 8:29 AM

    Baked ricotta with herbs

  • RickPearson54  on  8/27/2017 at 8:42 AM


  • jd5761  on  8/27/2017 at 7:07 PM

    Potato and Aubergine cake

  • stephanieyee  on  8/27/2017 at 10:12 PM

    Baked tomatoes with anchovies and bread crumbs!

  • poneill  on  8/28/2017 at 4:31 AM

    Spaghetti with garlic, oil and lemon (Spaghetti aglio, olio al limone)

  • saladdays  on  8/28/2017 at 2:34 PM

    Lentil and chestnut soup

  • Katiefayhutson  on  8/28/2017 at 2:38 PM

    Almond pudding(Biancomangiare)

  • fbrunetti  on  8/28/2017 at 3:00 PM

    Braised lamb with mint

  • DFed  on  8/28/2017 at 3:34 PM

    The meatballs in white sauce are calling to me!

  • Cati  on  8/28/2017 at 3:40 PM

    Pasta with aubergine.

  • katietodd  on  8/28/2017 at 10:28 PM

    Something Sicilian like pasta with cauliflower, anchovies, saffron, pine nuts and raisins :-)

  • chasteph  on  8/30/2017 at 1:29 AM

    Pasta with aubergine. I love aubergines!

  • Karla123  on  8/30/2017 at 9:43 AM

    My tomato plants are heavy with fruit and my basil is loaded with fragrant leaves, so this lovely "Grape and Tomato Salad" will grace my table soon.

  • FrenchCreekBaker  on  8/30/2017 at 2:14 PM

    Sicilian layered sponge, ricotta and marzipan cake (

  • FrenchCreekBaker  on  8/30/2017 at 2:18 PM

    I too vote for the Sicilian layered sponge with ricotta and marzipan cake (Cassata)!

  • hilarycooks  on  8/30/2017 at 6:36 PM

    I would cook any and all of the recipes - I love Rachel's work - but one that caught my eye was the stuffed bread pie with bread and anchovies - oh yes.....

  • IngridO  on  8/31/2017 at 4:15 PM

    I'll try this one first - Sicilian fig and nut ring (Buccellato)

  • jyms  on  9/2/2017 at 2:03 AM

    I would try chocolate and almond cake.

  • kbiggs  on  9/2/2017 at 11:51 AM

    Meatballs in white sauce. Just looks great.

  • AnnaZed  on  9/3/2017 at 3:31 PM

    Tomato, cucumber, onion and bread salad (Insalata con l'acqua) (page 42)

  • fiarose  on  9/4/2017 at 11:11 PM

    sweet and sour eggplant stew, baked eggplant, cuttlefish with peas, pickled peaches, fish in spicy tomato sauce with capers and olives, red eggs...amazing!

  • bstewart  on  9/8/2017 at 6:06 PM

    Cauliflower wedges with breadcrumb or polenta crust!

  • choppergirl  on  9/8/2017 at 7:09 PM

    Pasta with fresh broad bean sauce

  • PennyG  on  9/9/2017 at 2:45 PM

    Ragu with Pasta.

  • HungryJamie  on  9/11/2017 at 2:26 AM

    Pasta with aubergine (Pasta con melanzane)

  • cake17uk  on  9/12/2017 at 1:32 AM

    Chicken with citrus and olives (Pollo con arance e olive)

  • kitchenclimbers  on  9/14/2017 at 11:21 AM


  • milgwimper  on  9/14/2017 at 8:16 PM

    Cassata ricotta and marzipan cake

  • ladybrooke  on  9/15/2017 at 10:01 AM

    Carla’s savoury tart

  • lindaeatsherbooks  on  9/19/2017 at 12:05 AM

    I've come to love cauliflower. I would like to first make the Pasta with cauliflower, anchovies, saffron, pine nuts and raisins (Pasta chi vrocculi arriminati).

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