Poultry, meat & the fifth quarter

Poultry, meat & the fifth quarter

By
Katie & Giancarlo Caldesi
Contains
13 recipes
Published by
Hardie Grant Books
ISBN
9781784880040
Photographer
Helen Cathcart

The old meat market in Testaccio in Rome ran from 1890 until 1975 and employed up to 5,000 people. Complaints about the smells and the traffic it generated got it moved to a brand new site. Gleaming white metal and glass stalls means it lacks the atmosphere of its predecessor but the traders, many in their third generation of the same family, enjoy hot running water and electricity. It is held over an old Roman road and you can see below the furrows from cart wheels that are over 2,000 years old. Then, the food was brought here from the port in amphorae, the two handled ceramic jars. The pots were broken up and discarded, which over time built the hill called Monte dei cocci. It is estimated there are 53 million of them on the mound.

In this area you can see best how Romans take pleasure in eating the whole of an animal. In the local restaurants expect to see dishes such as oxtail, tripe cooked with tomato and mint, stuffed lamb’s hearts, fried sweetbreads and brains. If you are lucky (depending on how you view offal) you might find rigatoni con la pajata, the delicacy that is milk-fed lamb’s intestines with pasta.

If you are here to buy meat from the traders they will advise you how to cook foods and offer you herbs to go with it. The market is not limited to meat and is well worth a tour to taste cakes and biscuits, and admire the variety of local vegetables. Look out for red and yellow peppers displayed together, it means the greengrocer supports Roma, one of the two Roman football teams (the other being Lazio).

Recipes in this Chapter

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