Kristina Gill and I have been online pals for a couple of years now, we met through her column on Design Sponge which I have been lucky to contribute to a couple of times, and in a couple of days we are going to hang together while she is visiting NYC while on tour for her new book co-written with Katie Parla, Tasting Rome.
Tasting Rome is the kind of book that really transports. Kristina’s evocative photography captures scenes in back alley ways of butchers with pigs on their backs and friends enjoying an apertivo, and the little moments, off the beaten path that really illustrate what it is like to really be somewhere. They are the kind of peeks into daily life that a tourist like me would only hope to see.
The recipes range from Rome's traditional pastas, pizzas and naturally leavened breads, to the offal of Rome's Quinto Cuarto, and the North African inspired dishes of Rome’s Libyan Jewish population, with a few sips and sweets tucked in at the end, of course. This food is deceptively simple, relying on beautiful in-season ingredients and time-worn techniques to gorgeous results.
Rome has always on my list of places to visit and eat my way through, but truthfully, this book made it shoot straight to the top. Maybe because in Rome it is acceptable to eat super soft, yeasty rolls filled with whipped cream (maritozzi con la panna) for breakfast with your espresso? Brb, gonna buy a plane ticket.
Also, after a little photographic research, I discovered that I may have made my maritozzi a little um messier than the ones sold in Rome, but I don't think anyone that ate one minded one bit.
GIVEAWAY: Clarkson Potter is giving away a 3 (three!) copies of Tasting Rome here! Each winner will also receive a set of three 8x10 prints from the book, an 18x24-inch hand drawn map of the center of Rome by Lena Corwin and a set of exclusive recipes which aren't in the book. To enter please leave a comment below with your favorite pasta. Giveaway open worldwide, and entries will close on Thursday, April 7 at midnight EST. The winners will then be chosen at random, announced here, and alerted by email. Winners will have 48 hours to claim the prize! Good Luck!
Disclosure: Clarkson Potter sent me this book to review, all opinions are my own.
Maritozzi con la Panna | Sweet Buns with Whipped Cream
These rolls are unbelievable soft and light, thanks to the generous amount of yeast, and a quick trip through the oven. You could certainly eat them plain or with a bit of butter, but I don't know why you wouldn't fill them with a generous spoonful of sweetened whipped cream.
For the Sponge
1/2 cup warm milk (105ºF and 115ºF)
1 1/4 tablespoons active dry yeast
1 cup bread flour
1 tablespoon sugar
For the Dough
7 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
4 large eggs, at room temperature
2 1/2 cups bread flour, plus more for dusting
For the Egg Wash
1 large egg
1 tablespoon whole milk
For the Filling
2 cups heavy cream
1 tablespoon sugar
Make the Sponge: In a medium bowl, whisk the yeast into the milk, then add the flour and sugar and stir to combine. Cover the mixture with plastic wrap and set aside until puffy, about 20 minutes.
Make the dough: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter, sugar, salt and eggs on low speed.
Switch to the dough book. Add the sponge, mix for a few turns, then add half of the flour. Mix on low until the dough is smooth, about 5 minutes. Add the remaining flour and mix again on low until the dough is smooth, about 2 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.
Allow the dough to rest in the bowl for 10 minutes, then run the mixer on low for 10 minutes to stretch the gluten. Meanwhile, line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and divide it into twelve equal-sized pieces (each about 2 1/2 ounces.) Using one hand, roll each piece into a tight ball, pressing it against the counter to ensure a smooth, tight, surface. Next, using both hands, roll each ball into an elongated loaf shape, fatter in the middle and tapered on the ends, about 4 inches long, similar to a small football.
Place each maritozzi on the prepared baking sheets, spacing them at least 1 1/2 inches apart. Cover with plastic wrap, then a kitchen towel, and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 2 hours.
Preheat oven to 350ºF.
Make the egg wash:Whisk the egg with the milk in a small bowl. Immediately before baking, brush the tops of the maritozzi with the egg wash.
Bake until deep brown, 12-15 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheet before transferring to a wire rack.
While the maritozzi cool, make the filling: Whip the cream and sugar to firm peaks.
Slice each maritozzo in half without cutting it all the way through. Fill with the whipped cream, dividing it evenly, and serve immediately.