Maybe it was the fact that I had walked 9 miles that day in 90 degree heat, maybe it was the fact that I was deliriously happy to be spending the weekend with one of my best friends who I hadn’t seen in over a year, maybe it was the fact that I was in Rome, but the matriciana and dessert and wine and everything that I ate at enOsteria, a little farm-to-table place near the Spanish Steps, was the best meal I’ve ever had. Even as I was eating it, I was already trying to figure out how I’d make it in my own kitchen. Luckily, we had one of the best waiters of all time and he told us that the secret to the sauce was the orange zest. Genius! To my continual gratitude, he also steered me toward a dessert of strawberries covered in white chocolate mouse with a drizzle of olive oil. It was like a fluffy, sweet and salty cloud of deliciousness. That may need to be my next project.
enOsteria’s version of The. Best. Past. Ever.
Half-eaten crem0so all’olio d’oliva e erbe Mediterranee. Don’t worry, I finished it. And licked the plate.
Here’s my take on a summer matriciana:
2 medium sweet potatoes
2 tbs butter
2 tbs olive oil
4 pieces of bacon or pancetta (or as much as you want)
1 yellow onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
As much crushed red pepper as you want
1 14-ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 orange; half for zest, half for juice
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
As much Pecorino Romano as you want
Peel the sweet potato. Once the skin is off, continue using the peeler to make noodles. Melt 2 tbs of butter in a pan over medium heat and then add the noodles. Cook until tender.
Cook the bacon/pancetta in a pan over medium heat. Remove the bacon and then add 2tbs olive oil and the onion. Once the onion is fragrant, add the garlic and red pepper flakes. Stir until fragrant, then add the tomatoes, salt, pepper and pancetta. Simmer for about 15 minutes, then add the orange zest and squeeze in as much orange juice as desired (I gave a medium squeeze to half the orange). Pour the sauce on top of the noodles. Stir. Sprinkle some cheese on top. Enjoy!