Roman Jewish community, the largest and oldest in Italy, has a long history. Life of Jews in Rome, despite marked by the alternation of inclusion and exclusion, marginalization and integration cycles, became one with the Roman community life to the point that it’s difficult to say where the Jewish cuisine starts and where the Roman one finishes, and vice versa.

Once settled permanently, the Jewish community became the most anciest core of Rome, the most traditional, keeper of knowledge and flavors. Women of the Roman Ghetto, as well as women of Rome, were used to cook very tasty meals with cheap ingredients, but they maintained their own cultural identity observing the Jewish Kosher dietary laws.

The Roman-Jewish cuisine is made of homemade style meals, it uses ingredients which women have always on hand, even if sometimes an economic effort is required.

A prominent role is played by vegetables, of which the less noble parts are often used, tastefully and fancifully prepared, sometimes combined with legumes or fish.

It is based on Sephardic tradition, which is the southern branch of Jewish population, coming from Spain, Portugal, Southern France and North Africa, characterized by a mediterranean, fancyfull and coloured cuisine. The following recipe represents exactly the concepts of “cucina povera” and “home cooking” which have been passed down verbally for generations of Jewish mothers and daughters, embodying the historical memory of Rome.


Recipe:

Servings: 4 people

Preparation time: 1 night + about 3 h


Ingredients:

  • Dried borlotti beans 200 g (you can use fresh and other beans)
  • Tomato sauce 100 g
  • 1 cup of vegetable stock
  • I glass + 4 tbsp of virgin olive oil
  • 1 white onion
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 2 tufts of Romaine lettuce
  • Cherry tomatoes n 20
  • Icing sugar 1 tbsp
  • Fresh basil leaves (or thyme or oregano)
  • Fresh leaves of parsley
  • Salt
  • Ground black pepper

Preparation

  1. These are the ingredients you will need to prepare the recipe. They are few and easily available on the market. I recommend you to choose fresh and quality products!
  2. If you use dry beans, soak them in cold water for 12 hours. After 12 hours their volume will double. Drain and rinse them. If you use fresh beans you can skip this step.
  3. An hour before starting to cook the beans, start with confit tomatoes. Prepare an emulsion with ½ glass of oil, a squeezed garlic, a few of chopped fresh basil leaves (or oregano or thyme), a pinch of salt.
  4. Cut the cherry tomatoes horizontally, place them on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Sprinkle them with the emulsion, add a round of ground black pepper and a sprinkling of icing sugar. Bake at 140 degrees for about two hours (use convection setting).
  5. At the end of cooking the cherry tomatoes will be well caramelized and lacking of their vegetation water. Their scent will invade your home. Put them aside.
  6. While the cherry tomatoes are cooking, prepare the beans. Finely chop the onion and fry it in a thick-bottomed pan (or pressure cooker) together with two whole cloves of garlic and half a glass of oil. Remove the garlic as soon as it browns. Add the beans, mix well, cook for 1 minute. Then add the tomato sause, the stock and a glass of water. Put the lid on and cook over low heat for 1 hour and a half (if you use the pressure cooker 40 minutes will be enough). Don't salt!
  7. At the end of cooking the beans are supposed to be intact but with a melting consistency. Add salt if necessary. Put them aside.
  8. Cut into strips a tuft of lettuce and place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of oil, salt, pepper, finely chopped parsley.
  9. On another baking sheet put the lettuce leaves, this time whole, and season as above. Bake both the lettuce tufts for about 10 minutes in the oven with grill mode. Be careful not to burn!
  10. Mix the beans well with the lettuce. Add salt and pepper if needed.
  11. Serve them in a bowl by adding some confit tomatoes, lettuce leaves and a drizzle of oil.

Wspólnie działamy na rzecz Europy zielonej, konkurencyjnej i sprzyjającej integracji społecznej.


 

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