New Recipe: Recipes can bring a bit of Rome to you

Harking back to the early days of the pandemic, when newly shut-down businesses in the hospitality industry were offering up fan-favorite recipes in the spirit of solidarity and “please, don’t forget about us,” the Bettoja hotels in Rome are offering up some of their chefs’ favorite Easter recipes.

Travel to Italy still isn’t really happening. Italy again has closed schools in much of the country and is requiring people to stay home except for essential outings. It also is instituting a complete nationwide shutdown during Easter weekend — from Saturday through Monday — as the nation again tries to get its COVID-19 infection rate under control.

But not being able to travel to Rome doesn’t mean you can’t bring a bit of a Roman holiday to you.

This recipe for lamb chops calls for breading and frying the lamb before serving it with a vegetable relish of zucchini, eggplant, tomato, onion and red peppers.

The Neapolitan Pastiera is a cake with a texture closer to a cheesecake or custard than a typical American cake. While the original recipe didn’t mention it, some online versions of the recipe suggest starting the process on Maundy Thursday by cooking the wheat berries mixture and letting it cool overnight. Good Friday then is for making the pastry and filling. Saturday is for baking, and Easter Sunday is for serving it. If you don’t want to start that far in advance, at least one day in advance is recommended, to give the flavors time to blend before serving.


Lamb Chops

recipe by chef Renzo Di Filippo, Massimo d’Azeglio Restaurant, Hotel Massimo d’Azeglio


12 small ribs

2 eggs

1 cup of breadcrumbs

1½ tablespoons parsley

3 tablespoons thyme

3 tablespoons rosemary

3 tablespoons oregano

For the Caponata:

1 cup onion

1⅛ cups zucchini

⅓ cup red peppers

3 cups eggplant

14 ounces chopped or crushed tomato

2½ cups olive oil

In advance, heat oil in a heavy-bottomed pan over medium heat. Prepare the caponata by adding eggplant, zucchini, peppers, onions and tomatoes to the pan and cooking until heated through. Allow to cool to room temperature, so flavors can blend. If possible, cover and chill overnight.

Take three lamb chops, tenderize the meat and then dip each slice into the beaten eggs. Prepare the breadcrumbs, adding parsley, oregano, rosemary and thyme. Bread the chops. Heat the oil in a pan over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the lamb and cook until nicely browned on both sides and cooked to your liking.

Serve caponata at room temperature with warm lamb chops.

Serves: 4


Neapolitan Pastiera

recipe by chef Antonio Vitale, Roof Garden Restaurant, Hotel Mediterraneo



3 cups ricotta, drained

2¼ cups + 1 tablespoon sugar

6 eggs, separated

2½ cups wheat berries

4 strips lemon peel

1 teaspoon orange blossom water

¼ teaspoon vanilla

⅞ cup mixed candied fruit

1 teaspoon cinnamon

⅜ cup butter

1¾ cups milk

2 tablespoons Limoncello


4¾ cups flour

6 egg yolks

1¼ cups + 2 tablespoons butter, grated

1½ cups sugar

1 pinch salt

For the pastry: Pour the flour onto the work surface and make a well in the middle. Into the well in the center put the 1½ cups sugar, grated cold butter and a pinch of salt. Form a ball with the pastry, cover with plastic wrap and let rest for at least 30 minutes in the refrigerator.

For the filling: Cook the wheat berries in milk over low heat, adding 2 Tablespoons butter, the lemon peel and 1 teaspoon sugar. When the mixture becomes creamy, turn off the heat and leave to cool.

Mix the drained ricotta cheese with the sugar. Add the 6 egg yolks, one at a time, stirring well after each addition.

Remove the lemon peel from the cooked wheat berries. Beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Add the cooled cooked wheat berries and the egg whites to ricotta mixture. Stir until creamy and smooth.

Remove the pastry from the fridge and divide, setting aside one-third.

Roll out the larger part with a rolling pin to make a circle about ¼-inch thick. (To avoid using more flour, put the dough between two sheets of parchment paper during the rolling process.) Grease an 11-inch round baking tray and cover with the disc of pastry, trimming the edges that exceed the pan. Add the pasta scraps to the previously set aside dough and roll it out again, this time into a rectangle. Cut into strips about ¾-inch wide.

Pour the ricotta and wheat berries filling into the pastry-coated pan and level with the blade of a knife. Do not fill it to the top, but leave just a sliver of space. Criss-cross the pastry strips across the top of the filling.

Cook in a preheated 325-degree Fahrenheit oven for about 80 minutes.

Sprinkle the surface of the Neapolitan Pastiera with powdered sugar before serving.

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