If you’re planning to visit the eternal city, (or if you ever catch yourself daydreaming about Rome) you need to pick-up a copy of Elizabeth Minchilli’s new book, “Eating Rome: Living the Good Life in the Eternal City.” In her new book that is based off her popular blog, Elizabeth takes readers into the trattorias, caffees, open air markets, and pizzerias that Rome is famous for. In our May pasta spotlight, we sat down with Elizabeth to ask her a few questions about the book, how she manages to eat pasta everyday, her life in Rome, and more!
1. We know from reading your blog that you live in Rome. You must have every type of delicious Italian food at your fingertips! What are some of your favorite Roman meals to order at restaurants?
If you follow me on any sort of social media, and especially Instagram, you already know about my passion for artichokes. Romans love their artichokes, and I am no different. When they are in season, in the spring, I could eat them every day. But all year long? Carbonara is my food of choice.
2. We also know that you are American, but you have been living in the eternal city since you were 12 years old. How did you end up there?
I first came to Rome with my parents when I was 12. After a three week trip to Italy they decided to pack up the kids and move to Rome for two years. After that, I was always trying to get back on my own. After spending summers there with my family, I finally moved here to work on my dissertation on 16th century garden architecture. It was then that I met my Italian architect husband and never left.
3. Tell us about your new book. What can people expect?
My blog was the starting point for the book, and is the inspiration for a collection of recipes, lists, tales and tips that I’ve collected over the years I’ve spent eating my way around the city. So yes, there are recipes, but there is also a lot of advice on where to eat, shop and snack if you do make it to Rome. And photographs: lots of pasta, pizza, and of course artichoke-filled photographs that I took myself.
But the greatest opportunity in writing this book is that it allowed me the chance to go beyond the blog. So you’ll find stories too. Stories about my family, my neighbors, my friends and all of the people who have taught me how to shop, cook, and eat my way around the city I am lucky enough to call home.
4. Unlike in America, we know that people in Italy eat pasta before salad. Are there any other “food rules” when it comes to eating pasta in Italy?
One thing that is never done is eating bread with pasta of any kind. Bread is meant to accompany the courses that have no starch (which makes sense, right?) like the antipasto, the main course or a vegetable or salad. The only time bread comes anywhere near pasta is if there is some sauce left at the bottom of the bowl that you want to scoop up.
5. Here at Pasta Fits, we teach people how pasta can “fit” into a healthy diet and lifestyle. We know that most Italians eat pasta every day! How do you fit pasta into your everyday diet while still staying healthy?
Pasta in and of itself is a healthy food. I think that often Americans end up eating not only too much pasta, but pasta with too much stuff on it. Italians keep their portions under control, never more than 100 grams per person. And the sauce itself is usually not as abundant as you would get in the states.
6. You share a ton of mouth-watering pasta dishes on your blog. Are there any ingredients that you love to pair with pasta? And do you have a favorite sauce?
When I’m at home, and trying to make a healthy every day pasta for dinner, I often will boil the vegetables along with the pasta, and then simply dress it with a bit of extra virgin olive oil and maybe a grating of cheese. This technique is typically used in Puglia, where the broccoli rabe is cooked along with orecchiette and then tossed in anchovy and garlic infused olive oil. But I’m always experimenting with seasonal vegetable and have done it with cauliflower, zucchini and broccoli.
7. Finally, can you share with us your favorite pasta recipe?
Well, since I’ve gone on so much about Carbonara, it would be just mean not to give you the recipe. Get the recipe here!
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