Friday, March 31, 2023

Pasta with Roasted Cauliflower and Crispy Capers

We haven't posted many new cooking blogs for a while as we've shared many of our favorite dishes and only occasionally try a new one.  But, we recently found an intriguing recipe when we were looking for something to do with a cauliflower that we had left over and ran across Rigatoni with Roasted Cauliflower and Crispy Capers.

Basic ingredients:  rigatoni, cauliflower, capers, anchovies

We cut the cauliflower into small florets and toss them with olive oil, salt, and pepper.  They are then roasted in the oven for 25 minutes until golden brown.  At the same time, we boil water and cook 1/2 pound (.23 kg) of rigatoni until al dente.

Cauliflower to be roasted

Next, we prepare capers, anchovies, garlic, red pepper flakes, chopped flat-leaf parsley, grated lemon zest, and grated Pecorino Romano cheese.


While the cauliflower is roasting, we heat up some olive oil and cook several tablespoons of capers until crispy, about 3 minutes.  We remove the capers and, using the same oil, cook sliced garlic cloves, anchovies, and red pepper flakes for 1 to 2 minutes.

Cooking capers, garlic/anchovies/red pepper flakes

We add the roasted cauliflower, lemon zest, parsley, and 1/4 cup of the pasta water to the pan and stir as we cook a few minutes.  We then add the rigatoni, stir a little more, then remove from the heat, add the crispy capers and Pecorino Romano cheese, and serve, with a little extra cheese (as desired), accompanied by a small plate of sliced avocado.

All together, with pasta

Add capers and cheese

Dinner is served

What a tasty meal!

Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Dining in Rome

We start our culinary evening in Rome with aperitifs at Piazza del Popolo:  negronis and a limoncello spritz, accompanied by a plate of olives, potato chips, and tarallini (small knots made of flour, olive oil, wine, and a flavoring such as fennel seeds or red pepper flakes).


Dinner is at our favorite restaurant in Rome:  Trattoria Lilli.  We have a reservation and sit at a table outside.

Trattoria Lilli then and now

We start with prosciutto e melone, followed by bucatini all'amatriciani, spaghetti alla carbonara, and tagliolini a cacio e pepe.  And, of course, a carafe of the house dItalian wine (red).  Wow!

Prosciutto and melon


Returning to our hotel by the train station, we stop in for a final cocktail at the rooftop bar and restaurant.
Rooftop dining

It's been great, but it's time to go home and early in the morning, we will catch a train to the Rome airport and start winging our way back to the US.

Friday, March 24, 2023

A Wander in Rome

Our flight home leaves from Rome and we catch a local train from Polignano a Mare to Bari and the Intercity train from Bari to Rome, spending an evening in Rome before flying out the next day.

Getting to Rome

Outside the Rome train station (Roma Termini), we find the impressive statue "Conversazioni" by Oliviero Rinaldi.


Continuing down the street from the train station, we find creative parking solutions near the Fontana della Naiadi.

Park wherever it fits

Fontana della Naiadi

We stroll a few more blocks and reach the Spanish Steps, packed with tourists.

Arriving at the Spanish Steps

We continue down Via del Corso to Piazza del Popolo, a great place to stop for cocktails as the sun sets:  negronis and a limoncello spritz.

Piazza del Popolo

Negroni and limoncello spritz

Night arrives in the piazza

We finish up and head over to the River Tiber, which we will follow to dinner.

Down the streets to the river

Sidewalk bar on the river bank

We only have a late afternoon and evening in Rome, but we get the fabulous opportunity to walk through the city and enjoy the ambiance, the people, and the weather.

Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Dining in Polignano a Mare

We have several fabulous dinners in Polignano, starting with our first night at Il Grottino.  The menu looks interesting and we wander in and dine on clams and mussels, octopus, orecchiette with tomato and burrata, and seafood risotto

Clams/mussels, octopus

Orecchiette, risotto

Another evening, we have an epicurean experience at the famous Grotta Palazzese:  scallops with peas, cream, capocollo, and Nduja oil; cacio e pepe and prawn tartar; sea bass with roasted peppers, chard, and capers; and ending with a cheese selection.

Grotta Palazzese


View from the restaurant

Next, we return to Il Grottino for a dinner of clams and mussels, diavola pizza, sesame crusted tuna, and orecchiette with broccolini.

Il Grottino (again)

Street outside Il Grottino

We're only in Polignano a Mare a few days, but we dine incredibly well.