A traditional Roman Restaurant in Prati with the secret of ancient recipes

8 ancient Roman recipes shared by restaurant owner of the restaurant L’Arcangelo Roman Chef Arcangelo Dandini in the heart of the Roman Prati area. He is really a Roman, precisely from the Roman Castelli district; born in 1962 of a fourth generation of a family of Roman restaurateurs, always having been devoted to good food and tradition. From giblet ragout to the classic combination of ricotta and sour cherries, to original supplì and “papal” broths. Arcangelo Dandini tells the story of ancient dishes; whether the ancient traditions of the Jewish ghetto, the most popular street food, the influences of migrants from central and southern Italy or modern contaminations, there is no dish whose history he is not able to describe in great detail. With three establishments in the capital (Arcangelo, Supplizio and Chorus, as well as Garum in London) Chef Arcangelo Dandini continues to devote himself to the history of local gastronomy.

As well written also in the volume Memoria a mozzichi, the recipes of Roman cuisine according to Larcangelo Dandini , the authentically local recipes are those that were prepared before the great repopulation of the mid-19th century, with the arrival of workers from Center and South for the construction of the banks of the Tiber. It was then that he began to prepare the "triad" of the most emblematic first courses today: amatriciana, gricia, cacio e pepe. Even before, however, Roman cuisine was indebted to the Jewish community, as well as to the most highly placed cookbooks from the kitchens of princes and popes. Here a few examples, with dishes between "poverty and nobility" that are difficult to find today.

Roman Chicken Ragout with Tagliatelle

Quite different from the meat sauce we know today, this ancient recipe dates back to 1555.  "The custom of using the humblest offal, such as chicken giblets - a mixture of heart, liver, crest, stomach, gizzard and wattles - derives from the Jewish community's ability to make a virtue of necessity. A papal decree of 1555 by Pope Paul IV forbade them to use the noblest cuts of meat.  For this delicious Roman Chicken Ragout the entrails ragù is browned with oil, butter and marjoram, blended with wine and then cooked together with the tomato puree”.

Broth Apostolorum

"With the broth Apostolorum, we are talking about a recipe from the noble side of the Capitoline tradition. In Rome, in the centuries before the unification of Italy, no more than 50,000 people lived. A large number of them were anything but poor, indeed they were the 'cream' of society, including prelates, high ecclesiastics, princes and noblemen. Everyone used domestic cooks and one of the most illustrious, Bartolomeo Scappi - cook of Pope Pius V in the 16th century - left behind many 'high-ranking' recipes.  Such as the Lenten broth, in which the most bitter wild herbs such as wild chicory, mixed salad, parsley are added to a meat broth and refined with precious saffron and cinnamon. Then mix everything with pecorino and eggs, just like in stracciatella soup."

"Old-fashioned" Supplì "

Says Chef Dandini, “I only make my supplì with chicken giblets, Parmesan, basil and fennel seeds. Then tomato sauce and mozzarella in the center. With the amount of meat that is almost equal to that of rice, because that's how it used to be in the past". As Dandini explains, Rome's most loved street food “has a proven origin. It derives from the 'rice balls', or arancini, brought at the end of the 18th century by Napoleon's troops who occupied the city, on the basis of the cuisine of the Kingdom of the Two Sicily's". The name? “When it was split, the filling was found, or rather the surprise”. Over time, the Capitoline one has taken on an oval shape and, instead of keeping the filling in the centre, it is a real well-seasoned risotto, to which tomato sauce is also added.

Ricotta and sour cherries

A simple ancient simple recipe from the Jewish ghetto a shortcrust-based ricotta and sour cherry cake. In this case sheep's ricotta, with a more intense favour is used. The pairing of the fresh dairy products and the sour lash of wild fruits: ricotta and sour cherries creates a special taste sensation. Dandini says:" I serve it like this: only excellent ricotta cheese, a little icing sugar - which in the past was very precious - and chestnut honey. Mix everything with a drop of Sambuca and arrange in a cup. Then it is garnished with wild cherries, their juice and a few flakes of dark chocolate. The liqueur, honey and chocolate are my personal touch”.

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