copyright 2011 art of living,PrimaMedia,Inc/Maria Liberati
The 15th of March was made famous by an event in Ancient Rome, back in 44 AC when Rome lost it’s mighty Emperor that day at the hands of Brutus. But this wasn’t immortalized worldwide till 1589, until Shakespeare penned the play about Julius Caesar and the now infamous line “Beware the Ides of March”. Under Caeasar’s rule, although Emperor and a Dictator, there was a type of grandeur that was never recaptured again in Ancient Rome. Romans of today still remember him by bringing flowers to the Foro Romano.
The Ides of March was based on the Roman Calendar. It was said that on the 15th day of the months of March, May, July, October and on the 13th of every other month, there was a full moon and legend has it still today that strange things happen when there is a full moon. Things that stretch our imagination, sometimes good, sometimes bad..the philosophy of the Romans.
In honor of Ancient Rome, although most of these ingredients were not around at that time, this is a typical Roman dish using Ricotta Romana. If you have never tried it you are in for a treat. It is made from the whey of sheep’s milk and is sold in a conical form, the surface has a criss cross , with the lines left from the basket the cheese is put to drain in. It is famous for its’ sweet taste and is often used for traditional pies made for various Holidays.
A delicious meal for lunch or dinner..fit for a Roman Emperor. A dish of Maccheroni Romana for lunch or dinner with a glass of a dry red wine from Castelli Romana (is deliciously out of the ordinary enough to be served on the Ides of any month) and you will appreciate another famous line in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar
“Enjoy the honey heavy dew of slumber”
1 (500 g) lb maccheroni
1/2 lb (250 g) Ricotta Romana
1 lb (500 gr) plum tomatoes (fresh or canned)
a small handful fresh basil leaves (no stems)
1 garlic clove
1/3 cup (80 grams) freshly grated parmigiana reggiano cheese
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
3 tblsps extra virgin olive oil
Wash,pat dry and chop cut basil into thin strips. Cut tomatoes into quarters, place in bowl and squash or mash down with fork.
Place olive oil in saucepan with garlic, saute over medium heat. When garlic is just about golden, place in tomatoes. Cook over low heat for 20 minutes, or until thick, place in basil and salt to taste, remove from heat and cover.
In rapidly boiling ,salted water , place in maccheroni. Cook till al dente, drain. Place ricotta in bowl, remove 2 (30 gr) tablespoons of cooking water from pasta and place into ricotta, with fork, soften ricotta with water, set aside.
Drain pasta, place into tomato sauce and toss. Serve, top with ricotta, freshly grated parmigiana reggiano and freshly grated black pepper.
For more great recipes, get your copy of the Award Winning Book The Basic Art of Italian Cooking: Holidays & Special Occasions-2nd edition