Rachel Roddy’s recipes for festive pasta | A kitchen in Rome


Pork and parmesan tortellini in a rich broth and a rich, celebratory pasta and mushroom bake

The flat, on the third floor of a 1900s block just off Viale Angelico (it means Angelic Avenue) was warm and smelled of wax, clementines, simmering broth and fabric softener. Everyone arrived at noon and put their coats on the spare bed. Conversation and laughter filled the room as family members and two friends (some of whom hadn’t seen each other since the previous Christmas) swapped stories about their journey and the pleasure of parking when half of Rome is somewhere else. Presents were put under the tree, tinfoil-covered contributions in the kitchen and bottles on the sideboard next to the figs. Children were kissed and teenagers praised for getting taller.

At just after 12.30pm, a glass trolley with gold handles was wheeled in and parked near the sideboard. On it were crisps, pretzels, enormous olives (each impaled with a toothpick) and triangles of white bread – half topped with salmon, the other with what tasted like olive paste. A brief discussion took place about what to drink, because two bottles were not deemed cold enough yet. Bottles were squashed into the freezer for speed chilling, while other corks were popped and glasses filled.

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