Lazio is the second most populated region located in central Italy bordered by the Tyrrhenian Sea. Home to various complementary features, unblemished sceneries and spectacular horizons among the towns. Discovering Lazio is like searching through a history book, each page is connected to another by a series of events, each leaving their mark. The region was the heart of the Roman Empire full of incredible landscapes and antiquities.
The history of the cuisine includes stories of wealth and power, especially when it comes to the Eternal City, which has influenced the use of strong and intense flavours. In contrast are the simple dishes which are quick and easy to cook. Feasting in Lazio often begins with a lavish antipasti which feature fresh seafood, preserved meats, ripe produce, artisanal baked foods and the most fragrant olives and olive oils. Everything is based on fresh ingredients that is accessible to everyone. With a strong use of extra virgin olive oil from Canino and Sabina are used in many of the traditional recipes.
Sauces are an important element in Lazio and vary from very simple like cacio e pape, or salty Roman pecorino and pepper, too much more elaborate recipes that may include butter, egg or pancetta. The traditional pasta sauce is called Amatriciana which is made by sautéing onions in pork fat then adding tomatoes and spices. Typically served with long pasta noodles like spaghetti and fettuccine. In Lazio, rice is used to make Suppli al telefono which is hand held balls of rice stuffed with mozzarella cheese and sometimes flavoured with liver, veal or anchovies – similar to the southern dish arancini.
Seafood is eaten often in Lazio with its two ports providing ample quantities affordable shellfish and fish. A favourite dish is the salt cured cod which is also a staple food in the region. Salt cod, pignolas and raisins are cooked in olive oil and onions to make baccala in guazzetto. Most seafood is often served grilled with a simple seasoning of olive oil and lemon juice.
Making up the delight of Lazio are Roman artichokes; porchetta (yummy roasted pork); the black olives of Gaeta; the olive-oil of Sabina and the chestnuts of the Cimini Mountains.
The meat dishes in this area tend to be heavy and over flavoured, a throwback to the days of poverty when outside the cities the peasants had to eat what was left over when the rich had finished. Lamb is used in Lazio cooking all year long which are used for dishes like spring lamb with vegetables Beef and veal are also used, commonly sautéed with prosciutto in a sage flavoured butter and white wine sauce to make a saltimbocca alla romana, or braised into a tomato and garlic sauces for involtini alla romana.
The conclude a meal, Lazio is not only famous for its sheep milk pecorinos and buffalo milk mozzarella Lazio is known for the Roman ricotta which is used in many desserts and fillings. Some desserts include the favourite ricotta tarts and cream-filled pastry.