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. 


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  • Maefleur  on  August 12, 2017

    Lentil salad with orange zest and herbs

  • heyjude  on  August 12, 2017


  • DarcyVaughn  on  August 12, 2017

    Sardines stuffed like little birds

  • MattFr  on  August 13, 2017

    Salsiccia all'uva e cipolla Sounds so good

  • usingSpoons  on  August 13, 2017

    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  August 13, 2017

    Spaghetti with breadcrumbs and anchovies.

  • bcarpenter  on  August 13, 2017

    grape and tomato salad – sounds intriguing

  • vickster  on  August 13, 2017

    Potato and Aubergine cake. This book looks great!

  • hirsheys  on  August 13, 2017

    Caponata – I love caponata so much.

  • kristenlynnmcclure  on  August 13, 2017

    Baked tomatoes with anchovies, garlic and breadcrumbs

  • Klarisa  on  August 13, 2017

    Chicken with citrus and olives

  • love2chow  on  August 13, 2017

    Potato and aubergine cake (Gattò di patate e melanzane)

  • rchesser  on  August 13, 2017

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

  • FaithB  on  August 13, 2017

    I want to make the Sicilian Lemon Pudding.

  • Siegal  on  August 13, 2017

    Dried broad bean purée sounds good

  • Purplepeepers  on  August 13, 2017

    Roast shoulder of lamb with anchovies, garlic and rosemary

  • lpatterson412  on  August 13, 2017

    I want to try tuna with sweet and sour onions!

  • WildCottage  on  August 13, 2017

    First off would be Peaches in Wine for me!

  • Linkinn  on  August 13, 2017

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

  • jezairey  on  August 13, 2017

    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  August 13, 2017

    Cauliflower cheese with Parmesan and white beans. Sounds delicious!

  • LaurenE  on  August 13, 2017

    Sicilian Lemon Pudding

  • ktwalla  on  August 13, 2017

    cauliflower cakes

  • sandradelgreco  on  August 13, 2017

    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  August 13, 2017

    Pasta with aubergine (Pasta con melanzane)

  • Dmartin997  on  August 13, 2017

    Sicilian layered sponge, ricotta and marzipan cake (Cassata)

  • Astrid5555  on  August 14, 2017

    Sweet-and-sour rabbit!

  • veronicafrance  on  August 14, 2017

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

  • ChefTamiMitchell  on  August 14, 2017

    Mmm so many choices

  • sipa  on  August 14, 2017

    Chicken with potatoes, anchovies and rosemary

  • FJT  on  August 14, 2017

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

  • kmn4  on  August 14, 2017

    Lemon granita (Granita di limone)

  • matag  on  August 14, 2017

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

  • jifar  on  August 15, 2017

    The peach and almond crumble for me

  • lgroom  on  August 15, 2017

    That Sicilian lemon pudding has me drooling.

  • infotrop  on  August 15, 2017

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

  • RSW  on  August 16, 2017

    Meatballs in white sauce (Polpette in bianco)

  • sarahawker  on  August 16, 2017

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

  • Laura64  on  August 16, 2017

    Almond semifreddo

  • Mariarosa  on  August 16, 2017

    My eye's drawn to the cauliflower cakes.

  • JuneHawk  on  August 16, 2017

    Prosciutto with peaches (Prosciutto con le pesche)

  • Amandaspamanda  on  August 18, 2017

    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  August 18, 2017

    Potato and aubergine cake (Gattò di patate e melanzane)

  • BMeyer  on  August 19, 2017

    Chicken with citrus and olives

  • ravensfan  on  August 21, 2017

    My big batch sauce

  • Titch  on  August 22, 2017

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

  • Joy001  on  August 22, 2017

    Summer salad of farro, eggs, tuna and capers

  • Clove  on  August 22, 2017

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

  • Signe  on  August 22, 2017

    Pickled peaches!

  • Nataliecrue  on  August 23, 2017

    The Cassata

  • dvajefink  on  August 23, 2017

    Meatballs in white sauce!

  • schesshire  on  August 23, 2017

    Aubergine fritters!

  • Toni03  on  August 24, 2017

    Olive oil, lemon and oregano sauce (Sammurigghiu)

  • jdub1371  on  August 24, 2017

    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  August 24, 2017

    Sweet and sour aubergine stew (Caponata)

  • lils74  on  August 25, 2017

    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  August 25, 2017

    Lentil salad with orange zest and herbs sounds good.

  • LizyB  on  August 25, 2017

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

  • Julia  on  August 25, 2017

    Little oranges (Arancini).

  • sequoia55  on  August 25, 2017

    cauliflower cakes

  • sequoia55  on  August 25, 2017

    peach and almond crumble

  • Dutchmary  on  August 26, 2017

    Chicken with citrus and olives!

  • Sladea86  on  August 26, 2017

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

  • janrodda  on  August 26, 2017

    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  August 26, 2017

    Sicilian lemon pudding looks great

  • Mayandbill  on  August 26, 2017

    Am always keen to try a new caponata recipe.

  • Yllas  on  August 26, 2017

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

  • Nickargenta  on  August 26, 2017

    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  August 26, 2017

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

  • luccio  on  August 26, 2017

    Pizza al taglio

  • iza27  on  August 26, 2017

    Lasagne is one of my favourite 😊

  • Emmydee  on  August 26, 2017

    Aubergine patties would be my first choice, sounds delicious!

  • jim.windle  on  August 26, 2017

    Deep fried anchovies

  • mziech  on  August 26, 2017

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

  • musingsondinner  on  August 26, 2017

    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  August 27, 2017

    potato and aubergine cake

  • Julia77  on  August 27, 2017

    Baked ricotta with herbs

  • RickPearson54  on  August 27, 2017


  • jd5761  on  August 27, 2017

    Potato and Aubergine cake

  • stephanieyee  on  August 27, 2017

    Baked tomatoes with anchovies and bread crumbs!

  • poneill  on  August 28, 2017

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

  • saladdays  on  August 28, 2017

    Lentil and chestnut soup

  • Katiefayhutson  on  August 28, 2017

    Almond pudding(Biancomangiare)

  • fbrunetti  on  August 28, 2017

    Braised lamb with mint

  • DFed  on  August 28, 2017

    The meatballs in white sauce are calling to me!

  • Cati  on  August 28, 2017

    Pasta with aubergine.

  • katietodd  on  August 28, 2017

    Something Sicilian like pasta with cauliflower, anchovies, saffron, pine nuts and raisins 🙂

  • chasteph  on  August 30, 2017

    Pasta with aubergine. I love aubergines!

  • Karla123  on  August 30, 2017

    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  August 30, 2017

    Sicilian layered sponge, ricotta and marzipan cake (

  • FrenchCreekBaker  on  August 30, 2017

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

  • hilarycooks  on  August 30, 2017

    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  August 31, 2017

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

  • jyms  on  September 2, 2017

    I would try chocolate and almond cake.

  • kbiggs  on  September 2, 2017

    Meatballs in white sauce. Just looks great.

  • AnnaZed  on  September 3, 2017

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

  • fiarose  on  September 4, 2017

    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  September 8, 2017

    Cauliflower wedges with breadcrumb or polenta crust!

  • choppergirl  on  September 8, 2017

    Pasta with fresh broad bean sauce

  • PennyG  on  September 9, 2017

    Ragu with Pasta.

  • HungryJamie  on  September 11, 2017

    Pasta with aubergine (Pasta con melanzane)

  • cake17uk  on  September 12, 2017

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

  • kitchenclimbers  on  September 14, 2017


  • milgwimper  on  September 14, 2017

    Cassata ricotta and marzipan cake

  • ladybrooke  on  September 15, 2017

    Carla’s savoury tart

  • lindaeatsherbooks  on  September 19, 2017

    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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