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Sarah Cicolini: an Abruzzese in Rome – Italian Cuisine

Sarah Cicolini: an Abruzzese in Rome

Rome, San Giovanni: the culinary tradition of Abruzzo mixes with that of the capital in the Santo Palato restaurant by Sarah Cicolini

Who would have thought? There priestess of the fifth quarter in the San Giovanni neighborhood in Rome has long been a vegetarian. But yet, Sarah Cicolini, 30 years old, Abruzzese toaster of Guardiagrele, a town rich in history on the slopes of Majella, a mother from D'Annunzio, has meat in her DNA. Perhaps because it has grown in the countryside, with rhythms marked by archaic rituals and rituals such as the art of killing pigs (the thought goes to Ermanno Olmi's film, The hoof tree, winner of a Golden Palm at the Cannes Film Festival), an area where it is natural to see hams, salami, lonze hanging in the shops. Today, gastronomic souvenirs of tourists who choose "La Guardia" (this is how the inhabitants call their country) as a destination for starry food. And not only.

«My roots have profoundly marked the passion for food: I spent a lot of time with my maternal grandparents, waking up to the song of the rooster, immersed in the scents of cypresses, lindens, peach trees in bloom. Breakfast was obligatorily based on homemade donuts and beaten eggs, but we also ate a lot of seasonal vegetables, seasoned with our leccino oil ", says Sarah who, having moved to Rome to study medicine, threw down her coat after four years white for wearing the senàl ’, the chef's apron. First experiences behind the counters of various places in the capital, then the lucky landing in the kitchen of Roy Caceres (Michelin star of the restaurant Metamorfosi, in Parioli) where he learned the job of brigade and met his current sous chef, Mattia Bazzurri, from Rome and a great leavening expert.

With Mattia and a handful of awake boys, Sarah Cicolini carries on Holy Palate (piazza Tarquinia 4 / a, tel. 06 77207354), an adventure that began in 2017, and was immediately reviewed in the "New York Times" which wove the praises of its Roman-style tripe.
«My dishes start from the search for an ethical consumption of meat. I think it is wrong to eat only the noble cuts. With the help of my trusted supplier, Roberto Liberati (also from Abruzzo, ed), I choose and work the forequarters that represent the beating heart of Roman cuisine, "says the chef, sitting at a table in this colorful trattoria at the avant-garde reminiscent of the Futurist movement on the one hand and the rebirth of Rome in the second post-war period on the other.
"The future? It is in working the whole beasts "", she says with conviction. Remembering, not without tenderness, the recipe of grandma Maria that is most important to her: omelette with chicken giblets. A «scarlet frittata, as you define it. «First I start to stew the heart and the gizzards with water, wine and oil, which we call gricil ', then I add the liver, one egg per person, salt, pepper and fresh parsley . To the delight of a clientele composed of Romans mostly young people and tourists.

As a good "Abruzzese de Roma", Sarah Cicolini could not forget porchetta, a specialty that unites the two regions. With some substantial differences: "That of Lazio must be cut thin and consumed cold. And it is flavored with wild fennel. In Abruzzo we serve it hot, accompanied with deadly potatoes: cut into large segments, with the peel, cooked in the oven with garlic and rosemary .

Having just returned from a work tour that stopped off in the US and Australia, she recounts the recipes with which her overseas diners delighted. «For the four-handed dinner with Bobby Flay during the South Beach Wine & Food Festival in Miami I prepared the vaccinara-style meatballs, the carbonara stuffed with liquid filling and the porchetta with potatoes. In Sidney, hosted by Marta Osteria, I focused on carbonara (with the dips of Pasta Mancini, ed), tripe and husband in my own way: a tribute to Rome, made with white flour, burnt wheat flour, vanilla and stuffed green pepper with yellow cream and cream .

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