What a fitting place for a Roman banquet, at the top of the Spanish Steps in the heart of Rome, the same site where the ‘art of the banquet ‘was practically invented by one Roman General/Politician from an aristocratic family-Lucio Lucini Lucullo….a mere (approximately) 2,000 years ago. Lucullo was very well known for his lavish banquets, filled with many elegant courses, he was quite an epicurean for his time. But he loved to dine lavishly whether dining alone or dining with friends.
He was also famously known to order his servants to prepare a sumptuous feast for himself only… when asked by the servants who was coming to this banquet that night, he replied “tonight Lucullo is dining with Lucullo”
Il Palazetto in Rome is a luxurious boutique hotel, restaurant and wine bar at the very site of Lucullo’s famous banquets..I will be experiencing a Roman feast there shortly..you can explore more on Il Palazetto online..
Here is a traditional recipe for a dish you will also find at Il Palazetto, it is a simple dish, only a few ingredients..people from the region of Abruzzo will tell you it was invented there, but the Romans claim it to be a Roman dish…the dish is a delicious one no matter who invented it.
Cacio & Pepe
*1 lb of spaghetti (made from durum wheat)
*1/2 cup pecorino romana cheese freshly grated
*dash of freshly ground black pepper
*Extra Virgin Oilve Oil
Cook the pasta in lightly salted water. The cheese you will be using is salty so in this case you only want to lightly salt the water and don’t want to give the pasta an overly salty taste. It will disrupt the balance of the taste combination of the pecorino and spaghetti. Cook spaghetti for time indicated.
Drain pasta, but reserve a few tablespoons of the cooking water. In a bowl add some of the reserved cooking water (a little at a time ) to the grated pecorino cheese. Stir till you get a smooth sauce and cheese is melted. Toss in the pasta. Top with a dash of freshly ground black pepper and a drizzle of olive oil and your dish is ready. Please serve hot!
For more recipes and tips get your copy of the best selling book at The Basic Art of Italian Cooking: Holidays & Special Occasions-2nd edition