Rainy Day Food In Rome

Today in Rome the sky is full of clouds and at any minute it looks like it will rain. There is a chilly breeze blowing through my bedroom doors, the curtains flutter crazily.  It is a perfect night for chicken (or beef) broth with Passatlli, something new I learned to make while up north in Pavullo. (it’s a dish common in the northern regions of Italy) It is a quick homemade type of pasta, the batter is passed through a ricer over hot chicken (or beef) broth.  Its preparation reminds of Matzo Ball Soup however the pasta is not in the shape of balls, but thick tubes. It  also has much in common with Spatzle, a type of noodle/dumpling found in cuisines of Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

In addition I will get myself a slice of pizza from across the street, my favorite is tomato piccante (spicy) it has no cheese on it, only roasted red cherry tomatoes crowding each other along side hot peppers flakes and a slight hint of garlic. All this heavenly goodness lays on a bed of olive oil drenched crispy dough. I never thought I’d like pizza without cheese, but this pizza is so concentrated with the rosted cherry tomatoes and hot pepper flakes that the pure simplicity of it makes its flavor deep and powerful.

Too many times people over do it when they cook, myself included…  too much of this and that, hiding the essence of the main ingredients. For example last night I had Portobello mushroom sautéed in butter, salt and pepper, their flavor was intense and earthy, not over powdered by too many herbs and spices.

I am finding as I eat my way though this incredible country, that this is how food is  prepared here, simply, elegantly and the main ingredient the star.

Roasted Cherry Pizza

Roast a pan full of cherry tomatoes until they pop out of their skin and become slightly brown, but don’t worry too much about them turning brown because you’re going to put them on the dough and re-cooked them anyway. Next spread pizza dough out on a heavy olive oiled pan. Then rub chopped garlic all over and top with hot pepper flakes, now add the roasted tomatoes, spreading them out, they should be side to side with no space in between. –Salt and pepper. Bake until the sides are crispy and then enjoy! No cheese allowed!


4 eggs

3 cup grated parmesan

A few dashes of olive oil

2 two cups fine ground bread crumbs

Pinch of nutmeg

A table-spoon of flour

2 quarts of  chicken or beef broth

Mix all the ingredients together. It should be a thick paste, almost like the thickness of a heavy cake frosting, if too thick add another egg, too thin add more flour. Place spoonfuls of the mixture in a ricer and press over the chicken broth… watch as they expand and float…Whola…. Passatlli!


About johncpicardi

Welcome to my blog. I am the author of the novel Oliver Pepper's Pickle and the published plays The Sweepers and Seven Rabbits on a Pole, both plays have been produced off Broadway and around the US. I am a graduate of Johnson & Wales University where I majored in Culinary arts. I have a BA from The University of Massachusetts and an MFA from Carnegie Mellon University. This blog is about food and food memories and every other fantastic and scrumptious thing to do with it. My appetite and passion for food is large and runs deep, sometimes its indulgent and wild and other times wholesome and simple, often humorous and always immeasurable. I grew up outside of Boston and spent many hours of my childhood in front of the TV watching Graham Kerr (The Galloping Gourmet) and Julia Child prepare all kinds of luscious meals that would make my mouth water. Other days I’d follow my mother and two grandmothers around their simple, tidy kitchens as they busily prepared hearty fragrant meals, hand-cut pastas, preserved fruits and vegetables, baked yeasty breads, spicy cookies and frosted lopsided cakes. I was there by their side asking questions and helping where needed and there were plenty of times I was ordered to leave if I was in their way. It was a given that by the time I graduated High School I would be going off to Johnson & Wales University to study Culinary Arts. Those years were fine and good. I loved the hands on creativeness of cooking whether it be the simple lesson of washing a sink full of colorful salad greens, trussing a chicken or peeling a gorgeous carrot or the complicated lessons of making a French Country Pate or Julia Child’s Cassoulet or making Brioche, it all thrilled me and my dream had arrived!
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2 Responses to Rainy Day Food In Rome

  1. Mary DiTullio (Russo) says:



  2. Judy Coletta says:

    Love it Johnny. I feel like I am there with you.


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