When former food writer Jarrett Wrisley and chef Paolo Vitaletti decided to open an Italian restaurant, they didn’t just take a trip to Rome. They spent years crisscrossing the surrounding countryside, eating, drinking, and traveling down whatever road they felt like taking. Only after they opened Appia, an authentic Roman trattoria in Bangkok of all places, did they realize that their epic journey had all the makings of a book. So they went back. And this time, they took a photographer.
Roman cuisine doesn’t come from Rome, exactly, but from the roads to Rome—the trade routes that brought foods from all over Italy to the capital. In The Roads to Rome, Jarrett and Paolo weave their way between Roman kitchens and through the countryside of Lazio, Umbria, and Emilia-Romagna, meeting farmers and artisans and learning about the origins of the ingredients that gave rise to such iconic dishes as pasta Cacio e Pepe and Spaghetti all’Amatriciana. They go straight to source of the beloved dishes of the countryside, highlighting recipes for everything from Vignarola bursting with sautéed artichokes, fava beans, and spring peas with guanciale to Porchetta made with crisp-roasted pork belly and loin.
Five years in the making, part-cookbook and part-travelogue, The Roads to Rome is an ode to the butchers, fishermen, and other artisans who feed the city, and how their history and culture come to the plate.