Easter is an ideal time for exploring the culinary traditions of Rome and trying out genuine folk recipes using simple, readily available ingredients.
Lent, a time of fasting and moderation, is followed by a time, instead, for traditional confectionery or sweets, eggs (hardboiled or chocolate), and lamb (all elements which religiously symbolise rebirth).
Spring, in other words, is on its way. The table shall be adorned with the colours of the season, accompanied by the flavours of the seasonal produce of Rome’s countryside – artichokes, aubergines (or eggplants), carrots, and from early April on, peas, asparagus, French (or string) beans, celery and strawberries.
Tradition is appropriate at this time of the year. So, we chose for you the recipe for a dish which you are unlikely to find in the restaurants. It’s also an excellent starter for the kind of Easter lunch which Romans enjoyed in the nineteenth century. It’s called Brodetto Pasquale (Easter broth).
This is the classic recipe. It requires a fair amount of work and patience, but it’s well worth the effort! As the poet once declaimed, “il brodetto pasquale, è un brodo un po’ santo, è un brodo speciale de Pasqua sortanto: per questo è pasquale, infatti er sapore, dà pace e conforto e solo l’odore risuscita un morto” (Easter broth is a broth which is a little bit holy, it’s a special broth only for Easter. So, the flavour provides peace and comfort, and the fragrance on its own will revive the dead).
Ingredients (for 4):
500 grammes of beef
500 grammes of lamb’s breast or shoulder
6 egg yolks
Lemon juice (to taste)
Fresh marjoram (to taste)
Extra virgin olive oil
Pecorino sheep’s milk cheese (dop, or pdo, protected designated of origin, certified)
Salt (to taste)
Prepare a broth with 500 g beef. After about half an hour add 500 g of lamb (breast or shoulder). When the broth is ready, whisk at least six yolks in a bowl. Add lemon juice while whisking. Pour the whisked yolks into a large casserole dish.
Slowly pour on the warm broth while stirring with a wooden spoon. Pour a sufficient quantity of broth into the casserole dish. Place the vessel to the side on the cooker (while stirring in the meantime so that the broth thickens slightly). The flame should not be too high and the liquid must never boil.
Lastly, add a pinch of fresh marjoram and of white pepper. Toast a few thin slices of bread; place 3 or 4 in a bowl and pour on the broth, then sprinkle on pecorino sheep’s milk cheese (dop, or pdo, protected designated of origin, certified).