Lent is before Easter and has always been, in Roman cuisine, featuring traditional dishes, old and simple recipes, reminiscent of the old strict rules laid down by the papal authorities for that period; rules that provided for the exclusive use of only a few ingredients sometimes granted with written permission.

Given the season and the tradition, what better way then to speak of a true and traditional recipe of traditional Roman cuisine featuring by popular products, modest and economical: Pasta with Broccoli in skate broth with broccoli. Broccolo Romanesco, that with a the shape of a cone for instance, is a vegetable cultivated in the Roman countryside that should be enjoyed in winter. The saying quotyes “broccoli, hooves and preachers after Easter are not more good.” Several documents bear witness to its history and its presence on the tables and in the markets of the capital. The Roman poet Gioacchino Belli, in his sonnet of 1834 “Er testamento di Pasqualino,” describes the gardener as “Torzetto” referring to the torso of broccolo which he cultivated and sold. Same historical importance in Roman tables is due to skate or ray. Fished for centuries on our coasts of Lazio it is a small and cheap fish but with an intense flavor and firm flesh. It is possible fishing it all year but is very easy to find it in fish shop particularly more frequently in winter and spring: so this is the right time to buy it. Warning: you only eat what are called “wings” of the skate, in reality the body, because the skate is a flat  fish. So what are you waiting to put you in the kitchen?

The recipe: Pasta and broccoli in skate broth
Ingredients for 4 persons
– ½  kg clean skate (dotted ray)
– 1 kg e ½  od Roman broccoli
– 250 g of spaghetti (broken or maltagliati)
– 200 g of pealed tomatoes
– 2 anchovy fillets in salt
– extra-virgin olive oil
– 1 golden onion
– 1 stalk of celery
– Pecorino romano Dop
– Enough salt and chilli
– 2 cloves of garlic
– 1 glass of dry white wine

Preparation: Bake the fish in a pot of salted water and flavored with celery and onion obtaining a delicate broth. In a saucepan saute the oil, chopped garlic and desalted anchovy fillets. Add the broccoli washed and cut into florets. Season with a little salt and chilli, add the wine and deglaze, add the tomatoes into small pieces. After a while add the fish broth carefully filtered. When the broccoli are almost cooked, add the pasta and cook al dente. Let the soup rest for a few minutes, then serve sprinkled with grated pecorino romano cheese.