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Tramezzini & My Days as a ‘Gastronaut’

Posted in aperitifs, Caro Diario.(dear diary..), Country House Living, cucina, cucina povere, entertaining, La Dolce Vita, recipes, Rome, slow food, the Mediterranean diet, Travel & customs, Upcoming Appearances, and upcoming books

I always think of myself as a ‘gastronaut’- ( gastronomy + astronaut=gastronaut) someone that travels and explores through food..and I think there are many of you out there! 

Sundays in the center of Rome are my favorite way to spend a lazy summer afternoon,  exploring as a gastronaut..while many flock to nearby beaches I prefer to ‘sweat it out’ walking through the cobblestoned streets and admiring  the view and  some of the simple foods special to this city..gelato, pizza,cornetti, tramezzini..

You can find these in other places in Italy..but you will find the best of them here,in Rome.  And on Sundays if  lunch isn’t eaten at home in grand fashion,it is a casual lunch while making my way through this living art museum they call Rome. A tramezzini is my usual choice for lunch..I call it the elegant sandwich (If you have a favorite food from your trips to Rome, let us know!)

Tramezzini are beautifully decorated sandwiches usually placed in front in the glass cases at the coffee bars at lunchtime,sometimes even for breakfast and during happy hour eaten with aperitifs. When I’m not in Rome but longing for my days there, I make a tramezzini on a lazy Sunday afternoon-wherever I am and reminisce…

Tramezzini are great to bring to the beach or a picnic or even to the office. Who thought Italians use sliced bread? crusts are removed to make this an elegant sandwich


serves 1

3 slices of thinly sliced white or whole wheat bread (crusts removed)

1- 3ounce can of tuna packed in water

*1 chopped celery stalk

*1 small tomato sliced

*1 tsp chopped red onion

*1/4 cup shredded romaine lettuce

*4 large green or black olives hulled and chopped

*2 tsps extra virgin olive oil

Drain and flake tuna, place in bowl. Add in chopped red onion, chopped celery,olives. Drizzle one tsp olive oil on top and mix.

Cut bread slices in quarters- triangle shapes. Brush both slices with olive oil, place in oven under broil for a minute to toast. Remove from oven. Make small sandwiches by placing tuna mixture on top of one slice then place a triangle on top, then place a slice of tomato, drizzle with olive oil, cover with another triangle. Now stick a toothpick through to hold it together. Place a grape tomato or olive on top of toothpick. Make 4 of these. You can use the same fillings for your sandwiches that you use for almost any sandwiches-cheeses, meats, roasted veggies

Garnish with parsley leaves,serve. No passport needed!

Any foods that take you back to a special place? Share your summer food memories here..or foods that bring you back to a special place…we would love to hear about them!

More on tramezzini

For more recipes get your copy of the award winning book The Basic Art of Italian Cooking: Holiidays & Special Occasions-2nd edition –selected as the Best Italian Cuisine Book in the USA

Sept 9-12-Hudson Valley Wine Festival- Maria Liberati and The Basic Art of Italian Cooking take center stage for cooking demos and book signings. Held at the Dutchess County Fairgrounds in Rhinebeck, NY. For more  info to attend or to sponsor the cooking demos, email us at :

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