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Rome Snapshots and Pastitsio ala Italika

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It’s almost a week since we came back from our trip to Italy and was really busy to post as a lot of things had to be done after we returned. We had a great time and I wanted to share some of the shots from Rome. This was not an easy job having to choose from about 1.000 photos.

The Tiber River

Fountains: Fontana di Trevi, Piazza di Navone, Barberini (Tritone), Spanish Steps

Statues


One of the extremely enjoyable benefits of blogging is getting to meet other bloggers whose work I respect. We met Natalia, of Gatti, fili e Farina and her husband Andrea and had a great time together. Natalia showed us around in the Vatican on one day and another day she showed us around from Piazza di Venezia towards the Ghetto (Jewish neighbourhood), Galeria Spada, Piazza di Fiori, where she helped me choose some cheeses (buffalo mozarella, caccio, gorgonzola picante and another one with peppers, I am not sure about the name.  We ended in a pub serving forty different kinds of draught beer and some delicious appetizers.


The Colosseum


You probably all know that Rome is the city of architecture with so many beautiful buildings, fountains, piazzas etc. We visited most of the important monuments but there is still more to see, so we will have an excuse for another trip in the future.

The Italian people were fantastic and all the people we asked for instructions were more than willing to give explanations and very polite. I have seen a lot of similarities between Greeks and Italians and it is no wonder that Italians and Greeks have a saying “Una Faccia Una Razza”, in Greek we pronounce it “Una fatsa una razza” and literally, it means “one face one race” and refers to similarities to our culture, history and manners.

What can I say about the food and wine. Everything was delicious, especially the pasta dishes and I enjoyed a glass of chianti with every meal.

I could not resist trying the gelato with so many flavour to choose from and some tiramisu!!

When we returned I made Pastitsio, but this time made a twist to the traditional Greek recipe, using ground chicken and a sauce similar to Bolognaise sauce and of course used some of that caccio cheese, by sprinkling some on the pasta before adding the meat, some in the bechamel and of course some on top.  It was delicious.

Pastitsio ala Italika (Italian Style)

Ingredients

  • 1 packet (500 grams) tubular pasta No. 3 or No. 6 (boiled al dente)
  • 1 cup caccio, grated

Ingredients for the sauce

  • 500 grams minced chicken
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup celery, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 cup red dry wine
  • 1 (500 grams) can tomato sauce
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 3 carrots, grated
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 small bay leaf

Ingredients for the Bechamel

  • 1.5 litres milk
  • 1/2 cup olive oil (or olive oil based margarine)
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup of grated caccio cavallo cheese (the remaining mixed in the pasta and some sprinkled on top)

Directions

  1. Boil (al dente) and drain pasta and mix with some of the cheese.
  2. In a large skillet heat the oil and sauté the onion, celery and garlic until soft and transparent. Add the minced meat and sauté until white.
  3. Add the wine and mix until the alcohol evaporates and then add the tomato sauce and tomato paste and stir until smooth.
  4. Add remaining ingredients and bring to slow simmer.
  5. Simmer for about 45 minutes, until sauce is thick. Remove the bay leaf.
  6. Put half the pasta in a baking tin (about 33 x 40 cm.) and mix in 3 tablespoons of bechamel sauce.
  7. Spread the sauce on pasta, add the remaining pasta on top and cover with the bechamel sauce and the remaining caccio. See step by step recipe how to make the bechamel here.
  8. Top with Bechamel Sauce.
  9. Bake in a preheated oven at 180 degrees C until golden brown on top.

Other relevant recipes:

Pastitsio the Greek way
Pastitsio Lasagna Makaronia tou Fournou (Pastitsio the Cypriot way)Pastitsio Nistisimo (Vegan)

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Dmitri

Friday 16th of December 2016

What a great post! We Romans need more people like you, who will not only travel, but also describe their experience in this wonderful city rich in history and traditions. And you are absolutely right Italians and Greeks have lots in common, mostly because the Romans always wanted to be like the Greeks. The food here is delicious just like the Greek food and fusion cuisine is becoming more and more popular, so mixing Greek and Italian cuisines is mixing the best of two worlds. Thank you.

Ivy

Friday 16th of December 2016

Thank you Dmitri. Your site is also wonderful.

Alberghi a Roma

Saturday 6th of February 2016

Its nice

Earnestine Coltrin

Sunday 24th of January 2016

hi this is a nifty website that you've, thank you 4 sharing it with us.

Jess and Brandon

Friday 30th of January 2015

Amazing post. Beautiful pictures, and the food.. hmmm looks yummy and delicious.

The Leftover Queen

Monday 30th of November 2009

I really enjoyed reading about your trip to Rome! Brings back such memories!!! I miss the gelato more than anything else! :)

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