Outside the Vatican…

by Friar Tuck

ILLUSTRATION: STEFANO NAVARRINI

Back in November 2003, more than eight years ago now, we reviewed the Barone restaurant, whose friendly owner and manager, Bruno, sadly died a few months ago, and so the Barone closed. Now, on the same premises, a new hosteria has opened up, called Vongole e Farine, meaning “clams and flour.” Recently I went to check it out, and I saw that they had kept the three dining areas, namely an inside part which has been brightened up with yellow paint, a gazebo area under glass, and for the summer, pavement dining. I dined with Canon George Woodall, a British professor of moral theology at the Regina Apostolorum University, and author of a very helpful freshly-published Canon Law compendium, entitled A Passion for Justice, available from Gracewing publishing (http://www.gracewing.co.uk).

Our dinner started with puntarelle salad with focaccia. Puntarelle or chicory salad, is a classic Roman dish; the word puntarelle is Roman argot, and until fairly recently there was a certain amount of discussion outside of Rome as to what puntarelle are. In fact they’re chicory shoots of a variety known as Catalogna (a type of Cichorium intybus), picked while still young and tender. Chicory is also the common name in the United States for curly endive (Cichorium endivia); these two closely-related species are often confused. Focaccia is a flat seasoned pizza bread.

After this excellent starter we both had roast lamb accompanied by roast potatoes, a very tasty dish for a cold evening.
Last but not least, the desserts came in the form of panna cotta for the good Canon and tiramisù for myself, both served in a delicate chocolate casing.

Our delicious dinner was accompanied by a half liter of excellent opened red wine and a liter of Ferrarelle semi-sparking mineral water. Our dinner came to 35 Euro ($45) each, which might seem a bit more pricey that what we usually do, but bear in mind that we had roast lamb as our main course!

And now here is a recipe for making that puntarelle salad:

Ingredients:
8 oz. young puntarelle or dandelion greens,  trimmed and thinly sliced
4 anchovy filets
1 clove garlic, minced
6 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
3 tbsp. red or white wine vinegar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Method:
Put the puntarelle into a bowl of ice water; let sit for 1 hour. Meanwhile, finely chop and mash the anchovies and garlic to make a paste; whisk in oil and vinegar to make a smooth dressing. Season with salt and pepper. Drain puntarelle and pat dry; toss with the dressing. Serves four.

The new St. Peter’s Vacancy Bed and Breakfast is very near the restaurant which we have just visited, just further up the road. It is located in the heart of the Vatican side of Rome, less than 500 meters away from St. Peter’s Basilica, under the residential Monte del Gallo area. The apartment is large (about 200 square meters surface area), panoramic, furnished with good taste and provided with all modern conveniences. Looking out the windows, one can enjoy the sight of this typical Roman area, as well as a view of Villa Pamphili, the biggest public landscaped park of Rome. Quiet, bright, air-conditioned, this Bed & Breakfast has a large living room, where you can relax. The rooms, arranged in a way that ensures the privacy of each guest, are homely, comfortable, roomy and tastefully furnished. The three bathrooms are newly renovated and provided with shower and all the necessary fittings; sheets and towels are changed every three days. A rich and tasty breakfast, in keeping with the best Italian tradition of good cooking, is served every morning from 7:30-9:00. Several household appliances are available including a fridge, a juicer, a microwave cooker and a hot drinks dispenser. The Bed & Breakfast offers two ample terraces where the guests can rest under the sun or enjoy eating their breakfast. Children under three year’s old stay free of charge. A private car-parking space is at the guest’s disposal. Credit Cards accepted are Visa/Mastercard/American Express. No pets are allowed.

Essential information:

Hosteria Vongole e Farina
Via della Cava Aurelia 21/25;
00165 Roma
Tel: +39 06 39 63 72 40
Lunch and dinner every day except Monday.

St. Peter’s Vacancy
Via della Cava Aurelia, 183
00165 Roma
Tel: +39 06 39 37 82 74; Cellphone:
+39 340 67 68 327

Email: [email protected]
Website: http://www.stpetersvacancy.com

Prices: for further details contact the Bed & Breakfast:

  • Single Room (with double bed): Euro 45-70 ($60-93)
  • Double Room: Euro 60-120 ($80-160)
  • Triple Room: Euro 70-130 ($93-173)
  • Quadruple Room: Euro 90-150 ($120-200)

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