Pomodoro e Riso – a Roman summer classic

With almost 30c degrees daily – we refuse to give up on summer cooking – new rule in the house – if you’re still in your shorts – well then you cook from the summer recipes. And the produce is just so perfect right now – ripe, sun kissed and full of flavour.

One of our favorite summer dishes to cook with our guests is the classic Roman Pomodoro e Riso. Traditionally a main course served with potatoes – we will like to enjoy the tomatoes on their own as an antipasto or as part of a little spread of delicious dishes to place in the middle of the table, and then everyone helps themselves to delicious food.

These tomatoes are always served luke warm – never straight out of the oven – the flavours gets so much better, when you leave them to rest a little. Feel free to add your favorite herb to the rice – we like a mix of parsley, basil, mint and marjoram – but one type would do just fine.

So all you need is:

6 medium tomatoes

150 g risotto rice

40 g butter, diced and at room temperature

50 g parmesan, grated

freshly grated nutmeg

handful of herbs, chopped

sea salt and black pepper

4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil


Preheat your oven to 180c degrees.

Cut a lid of each tomato, where the stem has been attached. Save the lids. Use a melon baller or a small spoon to scoop out the seeds and the inside of each tomato. Save it all. Season the hollow tomatoes with a little salt and leave upside down on a plate for 15 minutes to draw out some of the juices.

Place all the scooped out tomato in a food processor and give it a good whizz. Pour into a strainer and save the juice. Discard the seeds.

Place rice in a small pan and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil and precook the rice for 10 minutes, then drain. Place in a bowl and add the butter. Stir to melt the butter, then add the tomato juice, parmesan, nutmeg and herbs. Mix and season with salt and pepper.

Spoon the rice mix into the tomatoes and place in a small oven tray. Place the lid back on and drizzle with the olive oil.

Cook in preheated oven for around 40-45 minutes until tender and lightly charred. The rice will have finished cooking and the lids will have risen a little.

Leave to rest for half an hour or more.

Focaccia with mortadella and figs

A well baked focaccia is always a winner – we always make sure to bake extra as these tend to disappear quite quickly. A focaccia is a very versatile bread, that you can vary with different toppings or stuff it with your favorite salumi, cheese, herbs and fruits.

A favorite these days is mortadella, basil and fresh figs from the tree at the back of the house.

We do love to bake with sourdough – BUT – for us a focaccia is all about crisp exterior and a soft and light crumb. This you get with traditional yeast – we like to use dry yeast. It’s easier to store, keeps longer – but also – it’s less aggressive – so it works more slow and therefore develops a better flavor in the bread.

We like to bake our focaccia in one of those pizza al taglio pans, that you find here in Italy – heavy iron, that keeps for years. We have had ours for more than 10 years and to be honest rarely washes them.

So for one focaccia you need:

370 g water

1 sachet of dry yeast – 7g

500 g all purpose flour, tipo 0

2 tsp fine sea salt

olive oil to grease the pan and drizzle on top

herbs, spices or flaky sea salt for topping

So pour in the water in the bowl of you stand mixer. Sprinkle in the yeast and leave for 10 minutes to activate. Stir to make sure it’s all dissolved.

Add flour and place in the mixer. Mix for 10 minutes on medium speed. Make sure to scrape down the sides. Add the salt and mix for another 2 minutes on high speed.

Grease you pan with oil and pour in the dough. Drizzle a little more olive oil on top of the dough and with your finger tips start to punch holes, stretch and spread out the dough. You want to create a lot of holes, so the olive oil can seep into the dough.

Leave to rise for 3-4 hours until well risen.

Preheat your oven to 240c degrees.

Punch some holes into the focaccia, sprinkle over your chosen topping and drizzle with a little olive oil. Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack.

Our favorite summer snack is to open the focaccia and stuff it with very thinly sliced mortadella, basil and slices of fresh figs….Pure summer heaven on a plate and the perfect snack for your aperitivo.

Ricotta pound cake

The must be the silkiest cake ever, so rich and still so light. Pound cake is one of our favorite sweets for breakfast here in Todi, and this is even more delicious when adding silky ricotta to the mix.  Heaven in a slice. Great for breakfast, but also for a dinner sweet with some ice cream and crushed berries.

1 loaf

225 g flour

2 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp fine sea salt

1/2 vanilla bean

340 g sugar

165 g soft butter

380 g ricotta

3 eggs


Preheat your oven to 180c degrees.

Grease and flour your loaf pan and shake our excess.

In a bowl sift together flour, baking powder and salt.

Scrape out vanilla seeds, add a little sugar to the seeds and mix them together on a board with the tip of a knife. Add to another bowl together with the rest of the sugar, butter and ricotta. Whisk together using a handheld mixer for 3 minutes.

Add the eggs one at the time making sure they are well incorporated before adding the next.

On low speed add flour. When everything is incorporated whisk for another minute on medium speed.

Pour into prepared pan and bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes. Lower the temperature to 170c degrees and bake for a further 25 minutes or until risen and golden. Remove from oven and turn onto a wire rack to cool.

Our 15 minute summer pasta with zucchini and anchovies


These days the temperature is constantly hitting 35c degrees or more – and sorry – but then most days we reduce standing in front of a stove to the minimum. Then this super easy and delicious pasta comes in handy. Plus it’s a very tasty way to eat our way through the many zucchini from the orto.
A note on zucchini – always try and get smaller zucchini. These have much more flavor, they are sweeter, more dense in texture and less seeds. If you can – look for the Romaneschi – these light green zucchini with ridges are totally superior in taste – but any will do for this delicious summer dish.

So lets get cooking. This is for 2 persons.

Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. Cook 250g pasta – we like to use either a good dried tagliatelle or if a short shape – then rigatoni is great. You don’t want to make this dish with fresh pasta – you want the bite from the dried pasta.
Quarter 4 small zucchini on the long side, remove the seeds and cut into large dice.
Pour olive into a large pan, enough to cover the base. Add 2 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced, 6 salted anchovy filets and fresh red chili to taste. Place pan on low heat and let the anchovies melt into the oil.
When there are 8 minutes left on the pasta, add zucchini to the pan with the pasta and cook together with the pasta.
Season the anchovy oil with salt, pepper and lemon juice. Drain pasta and zucchini and transfer to the anchovies. Save some of the cooking water. Now stir and toss like a crazy to emulsify the oil and create a creamy sauce. Add some lemon zest and lots of chopped mint.
Enjoy right away.